Life after antidepressants: Does persisting sexual dysfunction influence quality of life?
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Selective-Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely prescribed for the pharmacotherapy of mood disorders and gained much attention for their sexual side-effects. Previous research has shown that antidepressant induced sexual dysfunction may persist upon discontinuation of the therapy, which in turn negatively influences Quality of Life (QoL). As no quantitative studies with large samples are available yet, the present study aimed at establishing the prevalence of persisting sexual dysfunction as well as the relationship between sexual functioning and QoL in a sample (N = 76) of healthy adults. Results showed that 52.6% (n = 40) of participants suffered from persisting sexual dysfunction while 26.3% (n = 20) suffered from genital anesthesia and/ or nipple insensitivity. Persisting sexual dysfunction was shown to negatively influence the relationship domain of the QoL measure (p < .001). Participants with vs. without sexual dysfunction significantly differed in their level of relationship QoL (F(1, 74) = 12.18, p = .001, partial 2 = .141). Therefore, clinicians need to be cautious when evaluating sexual dysfunctions and prescribing antidepressants in order to protect patients’ sexual functioning and QoL.