Health Team

Viagra may help sexual side effects in women

Posted July 22, 2008

Some women who take certain types of antidepressants experience sexual side effects, but a recent study shows Viagra may help relieve those problems.

“The newer forms of antidepressants have had a problem with (women) reaching orgasm. There’s a delay in reaching orgasm,” Psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Keith said.

Viagra is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating erectile dysfunction in men.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine studied 100 women who were in remission from their depression and were taking an antidepressant with a selective serotonin inhibitor – or SSRI.

“We were assessing specifically whether there was an improvement in libido, the arousal phase of sexual function, orgasm and overall satisfaction,” said Dr. George Nurnberg, of the University of New Mexico.

Half of the women received Viagra to treat sexual side effects. Those women showed improved sexual function.

“The more specific finding was that orgasm delay, which was a symptom of SSRI sexual dysfunction, improved significantly,” Nurnberg said.

Keith said the finding will help women stay on antidepressant medication that they need.

“We don't need to change medications because they're all basically similar and you can stay with the medication that worked but now you have a treatment for the side effect,” Keith said.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some patients in the study complained of headaches while taking Viagra but no serious adverse effects were reported. Viagra is a prescription drug that could cause serious problems for some people, so experts recommend consulting a doctor before using it.


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  • Sarge Jul 24, 2008

    start with nutrition and exercise you would be amazed at the results.

  • zProt Jul 24, 2008

    Lack of vitamin D (i.e., sunshine) is one of the main culprits for depression. And it's no wonder - the very same people who want to put us on antidepressants tell us to stay out of the sun.

    Didn't we evolve being out in the sun? Why else would we depend on it for vitamin D? Sure, if you get burned that's bad. But if you slowly build up a tolerance, which is the natural way, your defenses will correspond.

    And yes, I have experience with antidepressants, and I think they are a good stop-gap measure for self harm tendencies. But do NOTHING to help the underlying problem, which is usually physical (and not because of a death or breakup as others have suggested).

  • davidgnews Jul 23, 2008

    purplerado - yes, on the right track.

    Suntheanine is a good start as a supplemental amino acid. I also agree that exercise is another important part of the equation.

  • purplerado Jul 23, 2008

    Another thing most people aren't aware of is that depression could be a product of what is going into their bodies. For example, it's not publicized that these artificial sweeteners can cause depression among other side effects (and I bet it is depressing to switch to artificial sweeteners and then realize it is NOT helping you lose weight!). Try eliminating unnatural food additives and reducing sugar for a while and see if your depression clears up.

  • purplerado Jul 23, 2008

    anti-depressants might be a good idea for a short term crisis, like when a close loved one dies, but they are not the answer in most cases. If you are depressed your brain isn't getting the proper nutrients. Boost your intake of amino acids, minerals (especially magnesium) and other nutrients (which people don't get enough from a regular diet) and the brain chemistry will be restored. Regular exercise like going for a walk each day has also been proven as effective as medication in many cases. People have been sold on the idea of taking a pill for this, and a pill for that and it is NOT the answer.

  • davidgnews Jul 23, 2008

    davido - of course it isn't. We're past the days of penicillin and other beneficial drugs, as it's all 'designer' and 'me, too' drugs from the pharmcos anywmore.

    "Building shareholder value." Don't forget about the kickback system, either.

  • davido Jul 23, 2008

    My personal experience with SSRIs -- hated it. The treating of side-effects with yet another prescription is typical, I'm sad to say. It's not uncommon for people to be carting around 10 different prescriptions. How did it come to this? Is this good medicine?

  • davidgnews Jul 23, 2008

    jkca - I know more about it than you'd want to hear.

    Have you? If not, I have some very non-printable advice for you.

    Otherwise, dig in and start learning more about this kind of thing before trying to make targets out of others.

  • jkca Jul 23, 2008

    So davidgnews, do you suffer from depression or have you ever in the past? If so, then you have reason to feel the use of anti-depressants is more of a benefit for the pharmaceutical companies than it is for patients. If you haven't experienced clinical depression, you shouldn't undermine the use of anti-depressants.

  • davidgnews Jul 22, 2008

    No mention of Viagra's competition. Sounds like a racket to me.

    Gotta love it - use one drug to treat another drug's symptoms, and a SSRI-based one at that. SSRI's are some of the worst drugs ever foisted on the human race. Anyone being 'helped' by this stuff is more susceptible to 'belief' and could take a placebo and not know the difference. Furthermore, they've already been shown to aggravate suicidal tendencies in a lot of people.

    The pharmcos have invested heavily in these types of drugs and squandered test results for years. These drugs have more to do with 'building shareholder value' than ever helping a patient. Katie bar the door !!!

    Someone needs to do more work, get closer to the cause of depression, go with talk therapy, and get back to more classic remedies. Oh, that's right - it's the patent medicines that get the most 'rewards' for the physicians. You can be sure that pharmacies are selling back lists to the pharmcos on 'who' prescribes 'what.'