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Drug induced sexual dysfunction

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A large number of drugs, both prescription drugs and illegal drugs have been associated with sexual function disturbances.

Diagnosis

In people with a clear history of satisfactory sexual functioning prior to the use of a drug the diagnosis can be relatively straightforward. The condition usually occuring soon after the drugs are taken, the problems of sexual arousal, erection, ejaculation and orgasm occur with masturbation and partner related sexual activity, and the decrease in sexual libido is noted with decrease in sexual fantasies etc.

However diagnosis can be complicated by a number of factors:

  • Where the drugs used are illegal and not admitted to.
  • Where the disorder being treated by the drugs is itself associated with sexual problems. See Mental disorders and sexual function disturbances and Physical disorders and sexual function disturbances
  • Where sexual functioning was low prior to the development of a disorder. So for example where a person had low sexual functioning prior to depression, which then reduced libido further, which was then further reduced following the taking of SSRIs
  • Where the action of the drug is slow to begin with. So for example Digoxin and carbamazepine may only effect sexual functioning after months of treatment.


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