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J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Nov;19(11):862-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0751. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

Efficacy of acupuncture treatment of sexual dysfunction secondary to antidepressants.

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  • 11 START Clinic for Mood and Anxiety Disorders , Toronto, Ontario, Canada .

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Antidepressants including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are known to cause secondary sexual dysfunction with prevalence rates as high as 50%-90%. Emerging research is establishing that acupuncture may be an effective treatment modality for sexual dysfunction including impotence, loss of libido, and an inability to orgasm.

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to examine the potential benefits of acupuncture in the management of sexual dysfunction secondary to SSRIs and SNRIs.

SUBJECTS:

Practitioners at the START Clinic referred participants experiencing adverse sexual events from their antidepressant medication for acupuncture treatment at the Mood and Anxiety Disorders, a tertiary care mood and anxiety disorder clinic in Toronto.

DESIGN:

Participants received a Traditional Chinese Medicine assessment and followed an acupuncture protocol for 12 consecutive weeks. The acupuncture points used were Kidney 3, Governing Vessel 4, Urinary Bladder 23, with Heart 7 and Pericardium 6. Participants also completed a questionnaire package on a weekly basis.

OUTCOMES MEASURED:

The questionnaire package consisted of self-report measures assessing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and various aspects of sexual function.

RESULTS:

Significant improvement among male participants was noted in all areas of sexual functioning, as well as in both anxiety and depressive symptoms. Female participants reported a significant improvement in libido and lubrication and a nonsignificant trend toward improvement in several other areas of function.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study suggests a potential role for acupuncture in the treatment of the sexual side-effects of SSRIs and SNRIs as well for a potential benefit of integrating medical and complementary and alternative practitioners.

PMID:
23790229
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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