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Researchers: Viagra May Help Sexual Dysfunction in Women on Antidepressants

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 10:10 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Erectile Dysfunction Drugs, Viagra, Antidepressants, Sildenafil


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IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Viagra pack / author: SElefant

A new study suggests Viagra - an erectile-dysfunction drug - can help to reduce adverse sexual effects in women caused by antidepressant use.

The study found women on antidepressants who took Viagra (known generically as sildenafil), experienced less sexual side effects than those given a placebo.

Sexual dysfunction, the inability to achieve an orgasm, is commonly associated with many antidepressants - both nonselective and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - such as Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor.

SSRI medications account for nearly 90 percent of the 180 million antidepressant prescriptions that are filled each year in the United States.

While these types of drugs are effective at treating depression, sexual side effects are the prime reason patients stop antidepressant treatment.

By treating bothersome adverse effects associated with treatment, "patients can remain antidepressant-adherent, while reducing the high rates of premature medication discontinuation, and improve depression disease management outcomes," said Dr. H. George Nurnberg of the University of New Mexico.

A previous study by Nunberg, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that Viagra was helpful for erectile dysfunction associated with antidepressant use in men. But, this was the first scientific study to show the benefits Viagra could have for women.

Researchers studied 98 women who suffer from sexual dysfunction - including lack of arousal, and delayed orgasm.

During the eight-week study the women were directed to take a dose of Viagra (or placebo) one-two hours before participating in anticipated sexual activity. 73 percent of the women taking the placebo reported no sexual improvement, while only 28 percent of those women taking Viagra reported no benefit.

43 percent of women taking Viagra reported headaches, compared to 27 percent of women on placebo. 37 percent of the women taking Viagra reported nasal congestion, compared to 6 percent on placebo.

Anxiousness and nausea were most commonly reported among those taking placebo.

The research was funded by Pfizer Inc, maker of Viagra. The study is published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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