The influence of atypical antipsychotic drugs on sexual function
Marek J Just
Department of General and Endocrine Surgery, Piekary Medical Centre, Piekary Slaskie, Poland
Abstract: Human sexuality is contingent upon many biological and psychological factors. Such factors include sexual drive (libido), physiological arousal (lubrication/erection), orgasm, and ejaculation, as well as maintaining normal menstrual cycle. The assessment of sexual dysfunction can be difficult due to the intimate nature of the problem and patients’ unwillingness to discuss it. Also, the problem of dysfunction is often overlooked by doctors. Atypical antipsychotic treatment is a key component of mental disorders’ treatment algorithms recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, the American Psychiatric Association, and the British Society for Psychopharmacology. The relationship between atypical antipsychotic drugs and sexual dysfunction is mediated in part by antipsychotic blockade of pituitary dopamine D2 receptors increasing prolactin secretion, although direct correlations have not been established between raised prolactin levels and clinical symptoms. Variety of mechanisms are likely to contribute to antipsychotic-related sexual dysfunction, including hyperprolactinemia, sedation, and antagonism of a number of neurotransmitter receptors (α-adrenergic, dopaminergic, histaminic, and muscarinic). Maintaining normal sexual function in people treated for mental disorders can affect their quality of life, mood, self-esteem, attitude toward taking medication, and compliance during therapy.
Keywords: schizophrenia, galactorrhea, hyperprolactinemia, mood disorders, anorgasmia
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