Paper: SSRIs impact teens' sexual function, too
- Many teen patients who take SSRIs—and their physicians—are reluctant to talk about drug-related sexual side effects, they exist.
- This is the takeaway from a paper co-authored by Dr. Amir Levine and Eleanor McGlinchey, which was published in the March 23rd issue of Pediatrics.
- The SSRIs include Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram).
Until now, the risk of SSRI-related suicides in teens, especially during the first three to six weeks of treatment, has overshadowed other aspects of treatment, including the highly prevalent occurrence of sexual side effects.
Some practitioners are hesitant to discuss this issue with teenaged patients, because they fear it will lead to nonadherence—or never starting the medication at all. Another challenging factor is that teens are still learning about their sexuality and may not know what constitutes normal sexual function. The larger concern is that most studies are in adults, and researchers are concerned about the long-term effects on adolescents and teenagers.