Sexual dysfunction is a common adverse effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and there is a concern that the sexual harms might persist after discontinuation of therapy.
To assess whether the use of SSRIs in animals can lead to persistent sexual dysfunction.
Systematic review of animal studies measuring sexual behaviour after end of treatment with SSRIs or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
We searched PubMed and EMBASE.
included 14 studies. The general quality of the studies was poor. Only
four studies reported use of randomisation and none mentioned allocation
concealment. All studies used placebo and were therefore blinded. For
rats exposed to SSRIs compared with those exposed to placebo, we found a
higher risk of no mounting behaviour (RR = 0.73; 95% CI = 0.62-0.86),
no intromission behaviour (RR = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.60-0.92) and no
ejaculation behaviour (RR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.24-1.00).
Our results showed substantial and lasting effects on sexual behaviour in rats after exposure to an SSRI early in life on important sexual outcomes.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); animal studies; long lasting harm; permanent sexual dysfunction; systematic review