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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced sexual dysfunction in adolescents: a review.

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  • 1Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287-3325, USA.



To review the existing literature on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-induced sexual dysfunction in adolescents.


A literature review of SSRI-induced adverse effects in adolescents focusing on sexual dysfunction was done. Nonsexual SSRI-induced adverse effects were compared in adult and pediatric populations. Information regarding SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction was extracted from pediatric SSRI clinical trials, clinical reviews, treatment guidelines, case reports, and MedWatch reports.


Although the incidences of nonsexual SSRI-induced adverse effects seemed to be similar for both adult and pediatric populations, only one male of 1,346 pediatric subjects receiving an SSRI reported sexual dysfunction. Approximately one third of the clinical reviews and treatment guidelines reviewed raised some concern about SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. In 11 years, only eight MedWatch reports regarding SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction in adolescents have been filed. Only one letter to the editor describing impaired sexual functioning in three of five adolescents on SSRIs could be found.


Information on SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction in adolescents is lacking. Researchers and clinicians may be failing to ask adolescents about sex and sexual functioning in the context of SSRI treatment.

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