Williams VSL, Fehnel SE, Hollis KA, Hogue SL. Antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction (ADSD) in Europe: a preliminary investigation. Poster presented at the 2004 ISPOR 9th Annual International Meeting; May 16, 2004. Arlington, VA. [abstract] Value Health. 2004 May; 7(4):361-2.

OBJECTIVE: Sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Although widely acknowledged by US patients and physicians, this side effect is not as readily recognized in Europe. The goal of this study was to obtain preliminary estimates regarding the prevalence and impact of ADSD in two European countries.

METHODS: This cross-sectional survey involved a total of 502 adults in France and the UK. All participants were taking an SSRI that had been newly prescribed within the previous three months. Information was gathered about patients’ current depression treatment, other medications and conditions known to impair sexual functioning, recent changes in sexual functioning, and the impact of any such changes. The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form–12 (SF–12) and the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) were also administered to measure health status and current sexual functioning, respectively. From the survey data, a set of four preliminary estimates of ADSD prevalence was developed for each country.

RESULTS: Use of the most liberal estimation algorithm resulted in 32.8% of the French patients and 52% of the UK patients being classified as suffering from ADSD; 20.4% of the French sample and 21.6% of the UK sample were categorized as having ADSD using the most conservative algorithm. The study results also suggested that ADSD negatively impacts patients’ quality of life. For example, when patients were asked about the extent to which any changes in their sexual functioning negatively affected their self-esteem and relationships with sexual partners, significant differences were found between ADSD and non-ADSD subjects using all four prevalence estimate definitions.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that both the prevalence and impact of ADSD in Europe are substantial. A follow-up study with an expanded scope is currently planned to further elucidate these issues.

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