Estimating the prevalence and impact of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in 2 European countries: a cross-sectional patient survey
OBJECTIVE: Sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of antidepressant treatment, but recognition of the problem is variable. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and impact of sexual dysfunction during antidepressant treatment in 2 European countries. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey of 502 adults in France and the United Kingdom. All participants were diagnosed with depression and taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), starting within the previous 3 months. Information was gathered about other medications and conditions known to impair sexual functioning, recent changes in sexual functioning, and the impact of any changes. The Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey and the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale were administered to measure health status and sexual functioning. Data were collected from June to July of 2002. RESULTS: Applying a prevalence estimate algorithm, 26.6% of the French sample and 39.2% of the U.K. sample were classified as having antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction; 34.2% of men and 32.5% of women were classified with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. There was no clear pattern of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction related to specific antidepressants. Patients with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction reported that changes in sexual functioning negatively affected their self-esteem, mood, and relationships with sexual partners. 23.8% of the French sample and 25.2% of the U.K. sample reported that they perceived that their partner was dissatisfied with their sex life. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in this study is similar to previous estimates reported in the literature. The impact of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction is substantial and negatively affects quality of life, self-esteem, mood, and relationships with sexual partners.