Use of sildenafil associated with improvement in antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction in women

July 22, 2008,

Women with sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressants experienced a reduction in adverse sexual effects with use of sildenafil, commonly known as the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra, according to a study in the July 23/30 issue of JAMA.

Treatment-related sexual dysfunction is a frequent adverse effect occurring with medication use and is a major influence for early discontinuation of antidepressant treatment, which can lead to treatment failure. Sexual dysfunction is recognized as being associated with selective and nonselective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) antidepressants, which are the most frequently prescribed medications for outpatients age 18 to 65 years and represent 90 percent of the 180 million antidepressant prescriptions filled in the United States, according to background information in the article.

"Antidepressant treatment–associated sexual dysfunction is estimated to occur in 30 percent to 70 percent of men and women treated for major depression with first- or second-generation agents, a principal reason for a 3-fold increased risk of nonadherence that approaches 70 percent in the first months of treatment and leads to increased relapse, recurrence, disability, and resource utilization by affected patients," the authors write. It is believed no randomized controlled trial has demonstrated an effective treatment for women experiencing sexual dysfunction associated with SRIs.

H. George Nurnberg, M.D., of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, N.M., and colleagues compared the efficacy of sildenafil against placebo for treatment of sexual dysfunction (such as orgasm delay or lack of arousal [lubrication]) associated with SRI treatment in 98 women (average age 37) with major depression in remission. The randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted between Sept. 2003 and Jan. 2007 at seven U.S. research centers. Participants were randomly assigned to take sildenafil (n = 49) or placebo (n = 49) at a flexible dose starting at 50 mg., adjustable to 100 mg., approximately one to two hours before anticipated sexual activity, for 8 weeks.

The researchers found that 73 percent of women taking placebo, compared with 28 percent of women taking sildenafil, reported no improvement with treatment. On a clinician-rated severity improvement scale, women in the sildenafil group showed greater improvement in sexual function than women in the placebo group.

Headache, flushing, and indigestion were reported frequently during treatment, but no patients withdrew because of serious adverse effects.

"These findings are important not only because women experience major depressive disorder at nearly double the rate of men and because they experience greater resulting sexual dysfunction than men but also because it establishes that selective phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors [such as sildenafil] are effective in both sexes for this purpose. By treating this bothersome treatment-associated adverse effect in patients who have been effectively treated for depression, but need to continue on their medication to avoid relapse or recurrence, patients can remain antidepressant-adherent, reduce the current high rates of premature medication discontinuation, and improve depression disease management outcomes," the authors write.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Women and men military veterans, childhood adversity and alcohol and drug use

Related Stories

Women and men military veterans, childhood adversity and alcohol and drug use

January 11, 2018
Results of a national study led by public health scientist Elizabeth Evans at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with others at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the University of California, Los Angeles, ...

Young adults report differing sexual effects from alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy

January 10, 2018
Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy each have very different sexual effects, from attraction and desire to sensitivity to sexual dysfunction, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU Meyers ...

After the diagnosis: How cancer affects sexual functioning

December 20, 2017
A cancer diagnosis disrupts a person's life in many ways, including sexually. A study led by the University of Houston found that more than half of young cancer patients reported problems with sexual function, with the probability ...

Kisspeptin boosts male sexual appetite and reduces anxiety

November 5, 2017
Increased activity of the hormone, kisspeptin, enhances sexual attraction and decreases anxiety in male mice, according to new research presented today at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Harrogate. The ...

Why society should talk about forced sex in intimate relationships, too

December 1, 2017
In the wake of the deluge of news about sexual harassment and alleged assaults by several high-profile and powerful men, it is important to look at the causes and consequences of forced sex in the workplace – but also in ...

Two years of extended anastrozole therapy proved as effective as five years in clinical trial

December 7, 2017
Postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor positive (HR-positive) breast cancer who took the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole for two years after an initial five years of adjuvant endocrine therapy received an equal benefit ...

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.