18 January 2008

Sex life unaffected by patch

A study found that short-term treatment with selegiline, administered through a skin patch, does not impair sexual function in patients with major depressive disorder.

Short-term treatment with selegiline, administered through a skin patch or 'transdermal system', does not impair sexual function in patients with major depressive disorder, the results of a clinical review published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggest.

Selegiline, sold in the United States under the trade name Emsam, is a monoamine oxidase type B inhibitor used to treat patients with major depressive disorder.

According to Dr Anita H. Clayton, of the University of Virginia Health System, and colleagues, the product labelling indicates that the rate of reported sexual side effects of antidepressants is relatively low.

However, recent studies "using patient-completed or clinician-administered questionnaires have found rates ranging from 22 percent to 73 percent."

Impact of treatment studied
To further investigate, the researchers examined the impact of transdermal selegiline treatment for six to eight weeks on various aspects sexual function in 789 patients who were randomly assigned to selegiline or placebo.

A standardised patient-rated questionnaire was used to assess sexual interest, arousal, maintenance of interest, orgasm and satisfaction. The patients were an average of 42 years old and 62 percent were female.

Estimates of differences between transdermal selegiline and placebo revealed a trend, which was not statistically significant, toward a positive treatment effect of STS on most areas of sexual function.

A statistically significant positive effect was observed for women in the areas of interest in sex, maintaining interest during sex and satisfaction. No differences between selegiline and placebo were found for men.

Further analysis was conducted to separate the direct effects from indirect effects of selegiline on sexual function via improvements in depressive symptoms.

They found no differences between transdermal selegiline and placebo, which suggests the drug did not worsen any areas of sexual function in men or women after accounting for improvements in depression, Clayton's team reports. – (ReutersHealth)

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Anti-depros and sex


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Michael Simpson has been a senior psychiatric academic, researcher, and Professor in several countries, having worked at London University in the UK; McMaster University in Canada; Temple University in Philadelphia, USA.; and the University of Natal in South Africa.

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