How to Cope When SSRIs Affect Your Sex Life

An estimated 37 million Americans are currently taking some kind of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat depression. SSRIs are among the most effective depression medications on the market with a moderate success rate of around 40 to 60% and remission rates of 30% to 45%.

However, SSRI use is also associated with the occurrence of side effects ranging from mild ones such as nausea, dizziness and headaches to insomnia and a variety of sexual problems. Patients who use SSRIs to alleviate depression symptoms often report sexual side effects, such as difficulty becoming aroused and reaching orgasm. Some individuals struggle to sustain arousal in sexual activity and may fail to orgasm altogether.

These side effects are often associated with common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac).

Given that close to 22 million Americans use Prozac alone, a significant amount of the population is dealing with sexual side effects from SSRIs. Consulting a doctor should be your first move if you experience sexual dysfunction after you begin taking SSRIs.

In some cases, sexual dysfunction can stem from the underlying depression. A physician will determine if the medication is causing or exacerbating already existing sexual side effects. Sexual side effects will abate over time if they are due to the medication, and your doctor will likely advise you to wait and see if they decline, especially if the medication significantly reduces your depression symptoms.

However, if the side effects continue, Harvard Health’s “Understanding Depression report recommends the following:

  • Lower your dose of antidepressant while making sure to remain within therapeutic doses to reduce the degree of sexual symptoms.
  • Discuss the option of switching to a different medication with your physician. Consider antidepressants such as mirtazapine (Remeron) and bupropion (Wellbutrin), which have a lower likelihood of causing side effects.
  • Alternatively, you can add medications such as tadalafil (Cialis) or sildenafil (Viagra) to treat SSRI-related erectile dysfunction.
  • You can also add bupropion to boost sexual arousal, drive, libido and orgasm intensity. Anti-anxiety medication buspirone (BuSpar) has also been found to increase libido in some people.
  • Another option would be to take short “drug holidays,” where you stop taking your medication for a few days to limit the intensity of sexual side effects.

However, make sure you consult your physician and follow their instructions regarding when to stop and start treatment to minimize the risk of relapsing into depression. Also consider talking to a therapist to help root out any psychological issues that may be causing your sexual dysfunction.

With entities such as Jupiter Wellness Inc. (NASDAQ: JUPW) developing products aimed at helping women cope with loss of libido, there is likely to be a wide variety of products targeting different groups of patients suffering from malfunctions in their sex lives.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Jupiter Wellness Inc. (NASDAQ: JUPW) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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