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Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2012 Mar;16(1):41-7. doi: 10.3109/13651501.2011.617457. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Hypoactive sexual desire among depressed female patients treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a comparison between escitalopram and fluoxetine.

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Department of Psychiatry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



To determine the risk of hypoactive sexual desire (HSD) in depressed female patients treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, comparing escitalopram and fluoxetine. The associated factors were also examined.


This cross-sectional study involved 112 female patients (56 in each group) diagnosed to have major depressive disorder who were in remission (as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) in the past 2 months and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score of ≤ 10) from the psychiatric clinic, University Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC). They were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). Hypoactive sexual desire was assessed using the Desire subscale of the Malay Version of the Female Sexual Function Index (MVFSFI).


The risk of hypoactive sexual desire was 50.9% for all patients; 64.3% for the fluoxetine group and 37.5% for the escitalopram group. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed fluoxetine therapy (adjusted OR = 3.08, CI = 1.23, 7.73) and moderate to high dosage of antidepressant (adjusted OR = 4.27, CI = 1.66, 10.95) were significantly associated with hypoactive sexual desire.


Those treated with fluoxetine had significantly higher rates of HSD than those on escitalopram. Moderate to high antidepressant dosage is another significant predictor of HSD in depressed women treated with SSRIs.

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