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Lasting Sexual Problems Ruined a Marriage

Some people report lasting sexual problems even after they discontinue their SSRI antidepressant.

How long do side effects persist? Usually, we expect all the activity from a medicine, both good and bad, to disappear within a short time after we stop taking it. But that is not always the case. Sometimes people report lasting sexual problems for months or even years after stopping certain antidepressants.

Does Fluoxetine Trigger Lasting Sexual Problems?

Q. I’m 50 and male. I was on fluoxetine for a year and have had lingering side effects in terms of low to no sexual interest and difficulty reaching orgasm.

It’s been almost two years since I went off the drug and I’m worried these effects are going to be permanent. I’m working on trying to figure out how a relationship will be possible in light of these lasting sexual problems. In the meantime, I lost my marriage.

Persistent Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction:

A. Sexual difficulties are common side effects of SSRI antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac) (Higgins, Nash & Lynch, Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety, Sep. 9, 2010).  Occasionally effects such as genital numbing, loss of libido and trouble achieving orgasm last for months or years after a person stops taking the medication (Bala, Tue Nguyen & Hellstrom, Sexual Medicine Reviews, online Aug. 1, 2017).

We are very sorry to learn that your marriage suffered as a consequence of these lasting sexual problems. Unfortunately, there is no definitive antidote for post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (Reisman, Sexual Medicine Reviews, Oct. 2017).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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