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Psychopharmacol Bull. 2001 Summer;35(3):89-108.

Sexual side effects associated with conventional and atypical antipsychotics.

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  • 1Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory-West Campus, 1256 Briarcliff Road, Suite 165, Atlanta, GA 30306, USA.


The sexual side effects of psychotropic medications are becoming increasingly recognized in clinical psychiatry. The magnitude of the problem of sexual side effects associated with antipsychotic medications has yet to be fully elucidated, but a multitude of references in the literature demonstrate the importance of these side effects in both men and women. All currently used antipsychotic medications are associated with sexual side effects of various types. Although each antipsychotic medication may have a specific side effect profile determined by its various receptor affinities and by the degree to which it elevates serum prolactin, there is currently no evidence that specific side effects can be predicted. Sexual side effects can be categorized according to the phase of the sexual response cycle with which they interfere. Suggestions for clinical evaluation and treatment options are provided, including risk factor modification, dose reduction, switching agents, and addition of other agents. Sexual side effects associated with conventional and atypical antipsychotic medications represent an underestimated and understudied set of side effects that may diminish a patient's quality of life and lead to treatment noncompliance. Clinicians prescribing antipsychotic medications should be familiar with the classification, evaluation, and treatment of these side effects.

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