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Doctors Fall Short on SSRI Antidepressant Side Effect Follow-Up

Filed April 5th, 2012 Laurie

In a survey of more than 250 healthcare professionals from various specialties, less than one in five of those professionals inquired about their patients’ ability to function sexually while taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Forty-three percent said they “usually” ask. Psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and physicians were the most likely to ask.

The survey, administered by DoctorDirectory, wanted to know not only how many medical professionals inquire about their patients’ sexual functioning, but it also asked them to rank a group of 15 antidepressants with regard to their effect on sexual functioning. The antidepressants came from the major classes – SSRIs, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, trycyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

The drugs were ranked from least effect on sexual functioning to the greatest effect on sexual functioning. Drugs in the top 10 most likely to cause sexual side effects included Prestiq, Cymbalta, Effexor, and Lexapro. Wellbutrin was number one on the list.

Researchers at DoctorDirectory hope the results of their survey will heighten awareness about the importance of sexual functioning for patients taking antidepressants. “It also emphasizes the need for both the patient and the healthcare professional to openly discuss all side effects regardless of their intimate nature,” said Tom St. Peter, VP of Marketing at DoctorDirectory.

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