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Antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction: A naturalistic study comparing sexual dysfunction among patients taking escitalopram, desvenlafaxine, and mirtazapine

1 Department of Psychiatry, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, AJ Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
J Shivanand Manohar,
Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore - 570 015, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_125_20

Background: Antidepressant drugs are frequently associated with sexual dysfunction. Sexual side effects affect the patients' quality of life and in the long term and can lead to noncompliance and relapse. However, studies covering many antidepressants with different mechanisms of action are scarce. Aims: The aim of this study is to compare the rates of sexual dysfunction among patients taking escitalopram, desvenlafaxine, and mirtazapine. Settings and Design: Cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (21 items), and State and Trait Anxiety Inventory. Statistical Analysis Used: Fisher's exact t-test, Chi-square test, and analysis of variance depending on the type of variable. Results: Eighty-four participants (42 males and 42 females) completed all instruments. Of these, 28 were taking escitalopram (13.93 ± 5.15), 28 were taking desvenlafaxine (76.79 ± 25.39), and 28 were taking mirtazapine (16.88 ± 3.88). A substantial number of patients (40.5%, n = 34) had sexual dysfunction. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction varied across the drugs; escitalopram (60.7%), desvenlafaxine (35.7%), and mirtazapine (25%). Regression analysis revealed that the significant factor for sexual dysfunction was the type of antidepressant used. The mirtazapine group's total ASEX score was significantly lower than the scores for escitalopram and desvenlafaxine (χ2 = 7.807, P = 0.020). Conclusion: The incidence of sexual dysfunction is substantially high during antidepressant treatment. The rates of sexual dysfunction differed among antidepressants having different mechanisms of action. Mirtazapine-induced lesser sexual dysfunction compared to desvenlafaxine and escitalopram.

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