According to new research, antidepressants currently on the market are making the sexual dysfunction commonly associated with depression even worse, having a devastating effect on the quality of life for those suffering from the condition and driving them into an even deeper depression.
The Sexual Symptoms and Side Effects in Depression (SEXSED) survey was conducted by independent market research consultancy Wakefield Research and provides new data on the experiences of those taking antidepressants and explores the extent to which current antidepressants further exacerbate sexual dysfunction or cause the disorder as a side effect in those not suffering from it before treatment.
The survey found that in the US at least, an overwhelming 88% of Americans being treated for depression have experienced a loss of sexual desire, satisfaction or function. And among those who experience sexual dysfunction, more than half (55%) experience no improvement or feel further deterioration since they started taking their current antidepressant. Furthermore, the survey revealed that 73% of Americans who experience sexual dysfunction agree that this negative impact on sexual health has actually made their depression worse.
Currently, available treatment options for depression, including SSRIs and SNRIs, are not optimal since they often exacerbate sexual dysfunction and further distress patients. These medications also cause the disorder in patients when it didn’t exist pre-treatment. According to new data, 62% of Americans currently being treated for depression who experienced sexual dysfunction as a result of treatment think it is impossible to find an antidepressant without the loss of sexual desire, satisfaction or function as a side effect.
Further SEXSED findings show that 90% of Americans report they would consider an antidepressant treatment that had a neutral or positive effect on their sexual health if one were available.
The survey was commissioned by Fabre-Kramer Pharmaceuticals, the developer of Travivo, a new antidepressant with a mechanism that treats depression while also improving depression-associated sexual dysfunction.
“This survey provides a new window into the lives of those trying to manage and live with major depressive disorder, and paints a comprehensive picture of the consequences of antidepressant treatments that don’t also address sexual dysfunction,” said Dr. Anita H. Clayton, professor and chair of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.