Andrew John Rynne, MD  
Male, 72
Dublin, Ireland

Specialties: sexual dysfunctions, reverse vasectomy

Interests: sexual medicine, Testosterone Therapy
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The Truth about Antidepressants and Sexual Dysfunctions

May 18, 2014 - 11 comments



SSSRI;s and seuality


sexual dysfunctions


What they Never Tell You about Antidepressants.

Almost every day now, or so it seems to me, I am hearing from young people who are taking antidepressant drugs and who are suffering from a sexual dysfunction as a direct consequence. In men their dysfunction may be erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or sex drive, loss of sensation during ejaculation or loss of ability to climax at all. In women their situation may be similar – loss of interest in matters sexual, an inability to feel orgasm when it eventually arrives, or, worst of all, an inability to reach orgasm at all. These, I think you will have to agree, are pretty devastating side effects for a single drug to have.

When you get your antidepressant dispensed to you by your friendly Community Pharmacist there will be, tucked inside the box, a Patient Information Leaflet. This is an EU or FDA generated document that is supposed to mean something. It is supposed to impart at least some useful information. Let’s look at it for Prozac then, the most popular antidepressant of them all. Under side effects in the category
• Urogenital System and Reproductive Disorders : we have: difficulty in passing urine, passing urine too frequently, poor sexual performance, prolonged erections and the production of breast milk.

Then, under this misinformation there is even more untruths:

              Most of these side-effects are likely to disappear with continued treatment.  

This leaflet was last approved by the FDA and the MHRA (UK) in October 2010. No mention of female inability to orgasm, no mention of male ejaculatory failure, no mention of sexual anhedonia or sexual anesthesia in both men and women and no mention of loss of libido or sex drive in both men and women. All the consumer of modern antidepressants is being told is that there maybe some poor sexual performance. This is meaningless, unfair and disingenuous. But unfortunately, it gets much worse.

Clearly the manufactures of these antidepressants want the consumers to continue consuming in spite of obvious side-effects. To do this they mislead them even further by asserting:

            Most of these side-effects are likely to disappear with continued treatment.  

With respect to the negative sexual effects of the SSRI antidepressants these most certainly do not disappear with continued use. In fact it has been my experience that they get progressively worse with continued use. And not alone that, and this is the really shocking bit, the negative side-effects on human sexuality that modern antidepressants can have, do not disappear even long after the medication has been stopped. Doctors who treat sexual dysfunction on a regular bases as I do, are beginning to now recognise a new post SSRI phenomenon called Persistent Sexual Anesthesia. In my view it is nothing short of criminal that this possibility is not even hinted at on the Patient’s Instruction Leaflet that comes with the drugs.  

If your sex-life has been adversely affected in any way by antidepressants then I would welcome hearing from you. The more people that know about this the better.

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by MissJayJayJay, May 18, 2014
I'm shocked to read about this. I'm on 20 mg of celexa and have lost my sex drive and ability to climax. I'm also on Klonopin and it helps me to get that back. So it's an up and down battle. -jenny

by Andrew John Rynne, MDBlank, May 19, 2014
Jenny. You might like to consider phasing yourself off of these medications. Psychotherapy instead may be a better option.

by Shabisheik, May 19, 2014
Have been on antidepressant/antianxiety meds for 24 years (Zoloft, Effexor; Wellbutrin, Depacote,Topamax, etc.); Cymbalta for 12 of those years.  Cymbalta has been most effective, but side-effects have worsened through the years - inability to achieve orgasm, headaches and ear/eye pressure/pain, water retention, nausea, sleepiness and sleeplessness, nightmares, restless leg syndrome, urinary problems, ringing in the ears and dizziness, kidney pain, etc.  Plus, ongoing bouts of increased anxiety and depression.

Tried SAMe recently, which was awesomely effective in helping me drop Cymbalta and eased withdrawal symptoms, but anxiety ratcheted up within a month and low-level depression continued.  Another benefit of SAMe was wonderful lessening of joint pain!  Then my GI tract could no longer tolerate the 1200-1600 mg dosage (of SAMe) needed to mitigate the side-effects of stopping Cymbalta and to keep depression at  bay.  Now I have developed very painful and  debilitating IBS with extreme abdominal pain and vomiting because of the SAMe.  

I like being free of the side effects of Cymbalta use, but the depression and anxiety have returned, plus I am sick with nausea, diarrhea, and constant bowel pain, I cannot function. Its's true. Doctors just tell you to switch drugs and push through the side-effects of anti-depressants until they disappear or lessen, but my painful experience has proven that that is not true.

I don't know where to go or what to do.  I guess I'll have to try another drug, but I don't have much hope for better long-term results.

by miam16, May 21, 2014
I have a problem  with my 9 yrs  boy ,who seems to show sin  of touch  his penis ,,and  when  i wake  up at 3  he like moving  in bed and his pens his hard as an adult  is this normal,or must  i take  him  to  the doctor ?

by Andrew John Rynne, MDBlank, May 22, 2014
In my experience this is normal. There is no need to take him anywhere.What he is doing is not "wrong" so long as he understands that it is private and must not be done in public.

by maggierae, May 22, 2014
When if ever does this subside?

by maggierae, May 22, 2014
Stupid question, but if a female does not have a partner what should she do, forget it or use a prop.

by livingthisnightmare, Jun 22, 2014
This truly is criminal. I took Citalopram for only a week and now have severe sexual dysfunction and I'm basically emotionless now. I don't know how to go on like this.

by mfoley39, Jul 17, 2014
I took Sertraline (Zoloft) 13 days.  When I realized it had caused frequent urination and a loss of libido, including the inability to achieve a full erection, I stopped taking it.  This was 9 days ago and I still have not gotten my libido or erection back to normal.

How long will it be this way?  Surely 13 days of 50 milligrams per day couldn't have messed me up for life.  I am 55 years old.


by Andrew John Rynne, MDBlank, Jul 18, 2014
This is going to need medical management. If you wish to visit my website I can help you.

Andrew Rynne

by Ducati748, Oct 03, 2014
I am very shocked to read your article. I am a 50 year old guy and in 2013 after a sequence of events I was rendered with health anxiety, which I just couldn't bring myself out of. I was prescribed Citalopram 20mg which I have been taking for over a year. Although not immediate I started to notice a loss off libido, difficulty reaching orgasm and sometimes even ejaculating. Reaching orgasm can take well over an hour and the concentration involved is massive and I may not even ejaculate at all, there's a switch which just goes off in my head to stop me reaching orgasm.
3 months ago I decided it was time to come off Citalopram slowly and I reduced my medication from 20 to10 and now 5mg over this period... next month zero! The problem I am left with now is that I don't seem to have a problem getting an erection, although it does take longer than before Citalopram, but maintaining it for any length of time and therefore not reaching orgasm. I am so annoyed, frustrated, upset and scared that I am going to be like this for the rest of my life and I am so worried about the effect it is having on my relationship with my girlfriend.
I have always had a high sex drive and I've never had any problems getting or maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm. Citalopram is criminal, I wish I'd never gone on this drug knowing what I know now, it has ruined my sex life. Is there anyone else out there in the same situation? Is there help out there? Is there a cure? Will I ever return to normal?

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