Learn about why some SSRI anti-depressant medications cause ED, which ones are the main offenders, and what you can do to help with ED symptoms.
Treating your depression is an important step in keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy. However, for some people, using SSRIs, a popular class of antidepressant medications, can lead to some unwanted sexual side effects.
Sexual dysfunction is already prevalent in those who experience depression, with about 30-50% of people with untreated major depression reporting some form of sexual dysfunction even without medications.
And, SSRI medications may cause sexual dysfunction in 40-65% of people using them.
So, mixing in an SSRI into the mix may make the dysfunction worse in some.
Of course, if your SSRI medication is helping with your mood or depression, do not make any changes to your regimen or stop your medication over sexual side effects before consulting with your doctor. Stopping SSRIs or quickly changing doses can lead to dangerous effects or withdrawal symptoms and should never be attempted without being under the care and guidance of a medical professional.
Talk to your doctor about any sexual issues you are experiencing and they may be able to help you overcome the issue.
Below, we will cover the potential mechanisms behind why SSRIs cause sexual side effects in some users, which SSRIs are more likely to come along with these side effects, and tips to help reduce the sexual dysfunction effects from SSRI usage.
Sexual health side effects can occur in both men and women using SSRIs.
The effects may be more common or prevalent with increasing age, and they may diminish with continued use of the medication.
The sexual side effects that may occur from the use of SSRIs include:
The exact mechanism behind why SSRIs may induce sexual dysfunction is not fully known.
However, it is known that modulating serotonin and using SSRIs can affect other neurotransmitters as well, including Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Acetylcholine, depending on the exact SSRI used.
The sexual response is complicated and involves a delicate interplay of many neurotransmitters and hormones, so changing the balance can lead to the sexual response not functioning as usual.
For some SSRIs, like Paroxetine, it is known to also reduce the levels of nitric oxide in the body. Since nitric oxide plays an important role in dilating the vessels in the penile tissues to create an erection, this can also contribute to sexual dysfunction in the form of erectile dysfunction.
Most antidepressants and SSRIs come along with the risk of sexual dysfunction, but some may be worse than others when it comes to disruptions in your sex life.
According to studies, Paroxetine is the SSRI that appears to come with the greatest risk of sexual side effects including delayed ejaculation, reduced desire, inability to obtain an erection, or inadequate lubrication in women.
After Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine, Sertraline, and Fluoxetine may have the next highest prevalence of sexual side effects.
Other studies show that the higher the SSRI doses, the higher the frequency for sexual side effects, stressing the importance of using the lowest therapeutic dose of SSRIs which still helps control depressive symptoms.
Certain non-SSRI antidepressants may come along with the lowest risk of sexual side effects, and you may be able to talk to your doctor to see if one of these is more appropriate for you:
If you find that your SSRI is causing unwanted sexual side effects, there are a few things you can try to help assuage the issue.
For some, changing to a different antidepressant or adjusting the dose of your current medication may help you manage sexual side effects while still managing your depression.
However, you always need to speak with a doctor before changing anything about your medications to make sure you do not experience relapses, negative side effects, or dangerous withdrawal symptoms from changes.
All doctors should be aware of the high rates of sexual side effects with antidepressants, and should be happy to help you find the best dose and medication to help you manage your symptoms while potentially avoiding sexual issues.
Here at Strut Health we carry sexual health prescriptions to help you live your best life.
If you are a man who struggles with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, using Sildenafil or Tadalafil before sexual activity may help you with erectile dysfunction.
If you are a good candidate for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.