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Antidepressants and Sex Drive: Sexual Side Effects of SSRIs

Antidepressants and Sex Drive Sexual Side Effects of SSRIs

Has your interest in sex gone down the drain the moment you’ve treated your depression?

You’re not alone. Millions of people are struggling with the same problem. And for these folks, there’s one underlying source of the issue—SSRI medication.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications. This drug’s primary function is to alter the levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain, which can impact a person’s mood and behavior.

While SSRIs are most commonly used to treat major depressive disorder, they can also be prescribed for other conditions such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It’s normal to feel like your sex life is in danger of slipping away when you’re taking antidepressants. In fact, aresearch study has found that about 30% to 40% of men on antidepressant medication may develop sexual side effects not long after being on the pill.

If you’re worried about the long-term effects of this condition, don’t fret. There are ways to overcome this side effect.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes of sexual side effects from SSRIs, as well as some tips on how to get your sex life back on track.

Which Antidepressants Lead to Sexual Side Effects?

It’s not uncommon for people who take SSRI medication to experience side effects that impact their sex lives.

Some forms of antidepressant medication that may cause symptoms include:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Vortioxetine (Trintellix)

Taking any of the above medications (or a combination of both) can give rise to sexual side effects in both men and women. One research review stated that among all the antidepressants on the list, paroxetine posed the highest risk of inducing sexual side effects. This is followed by fluvoxamine, sertraline, and fluoxetine.

To alleviate this, a doctor may suggest lowering the dosage, switching to another drug, or reducing the frequency of drug intake.

Before making any significant modifications to your prescription regimen, you should ensure that you’re under the care and supervision of a licensed professional. For professional medical advice, contact a doctor for a treatment plan that works for you.

Sexual Side Effects of SSRIs

Listed below are some of the symptoms that may arise following SSRI treatment.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a sexual side effect that may occur in men who take SSRI pills. Also known as impotence, ED is the inability to maintain an erection that’s fit for sexual intercourse.

In most cases, erectile dysfunction caused by SSRI treatment is reversible. It usually fades away a few days after altering your treatment plan.

However, there are some cases where ED may persist for months or years, developing into the more serious post-SSRI sexual dysfunction syndrome (PSSD). Speaking with an erectile dysfunction specialist may be useful in situations like these.

Numbing

Reduced sensitivity or numbing is another common side effect for men taking antidepressant medication. Sometimes referred to as genital anesthesia, this condition is categorized by the diminution or loss of pressure, pain, and touch sensations felt in the glans of the penis.

This condition can reduce the sense of pleasure one may feel during sexual activity. This disease is among the rarest side effects of SSRIs and usually arises in patients who have taken either sertraline or fluoxetine.

Delayed Ejaculation

One of the most common sexual side effects associated with SSRIs is delayed ejaculation (or anorgasmia). This condition refers to a man’s inability to ejaculate and reach an orgasm for an extended period, if at all, despite sexual stimulation.

Delayed ejaculation is not timebound; rather, it’s pronounced when the patient feels a great degree of distress andsexual frustration. Lexapro and Zoloft are some SSRIs that are known to cause this condition.

Fortunately, most cases of delayed ejaculation induced by SSRI treatment are temporary and can be mitigated by adjusting the dosage.

Low Libido

Low sexual desire is another common condition that may affect patients taking SSRI pills. It may affect people even after they’ve adjusted treatment, effectively turning into post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) syndrome.

Some SSRIs that can cause lower a man’s libido include:

  • phenelzine
  • fluoxetine
  • paroxetine

Treatment Plans for Low Sex Drive

You can treat both depression and erectile problems without them going at odds against each other.

Here are ways you can improve your sexual arousal and sexual functioning.

Take Alternative Medication

Men suffering from antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction symptoms following SSRI treatment may be asked to take a different medication. This can include the following:

  1. Bupropion
  2. Mirtazapine
  3. Vortioxetine
  4. Vilazodone
  5. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

In circumstances when the patient only responds to SSRIs to treat their psychological disorder, doctors may recommend bupropion in conjunction with SSRIs. Always consult with your doctor before altering any aspects of prescribed medications.

Schedule Sex

Treatment Plans for Low Sex Drive alternative medication schedule sex

Another way to mitigate antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction is by prolonging the gap between engaging in sexual intercourse and taking anti-depressants. People who experience genital side effects from SSRIs report feeling symptoms 30 minutes after taking the drug.

By switching up your schedule, it’s possible to experience minimal side effects while still maintaining an active sex life.

Reduce Dosage

With a doctor’s supervision, it’s also possible to taper off SSRIs by reducing your dosage over time. This may help minimize drug-induced sexual dysfunction symptoms.

For instance, if you typically take 50 milligrams (mg) of sertraline per day, your doctor may have you take 50 mg every other day for a week and review your progress.

Introduce ED Drugs

Doctors may also prescribe erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs to improve sexual function and counter sexual problems. These drugs include:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

While this is a common treatment option, these drugs do not always work and there are severe risks associated with many ED pills. ED treatments targeting the root causes of sexual dysfunction are an option for a more sustainable route to recovery.

Contact Atlanta’s Top Men’s Clinic for a Consultation to Improve Low Sex Drive

Contact Atlanta’s Top Men’s Clinic for a Consultation to Improve Low Sex Drive

It can be distressing and frustrating living with sexual dysfunction, especially when it’s interfering with present health ailments.

Fortunately, managing sexual dysfunction-induced symptoms is possible with the right approach. With adequate effort, you can live an active sex life once again.

If you’re in need of a sustainable fix, we can help. Contact a doctor at Priority Men’s Medical Center in Atlanta to get your sex life back on track. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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