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Sexual Dysfunction among Male Patients Receiving Buprenorphine and Naltrexone Maintenance Therapy for Opioid Dependence


Atul Ambekar, MD, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, 4th Floor, Teaching Block, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India. Tel: 91-11-26593236; Fax: 91-11-26588641; E-mail:


Introduction.  Opioid-dependent men suffer from sexual dysfunctions in the short and long term. The medications used for long-term pharmacotherapy of opioid dependence also affect sexual functioning, though this has been a poorly investigated area so far.

Aim.  To study the sexual dysfunction in opioid-dependent men receiving buprenorphine and naltrexone maintenance therapy.

Methods.  A semistructured questionnaire and Brief Male Sexual Functioning Inventory (BMFSI) was administered to a sample of 60 sexually active men, receiving buprenorphine (n = 30) and naltrexone (n = 30) maintenance therapy for opioid dependence.

Main Outcome Measures.  Prevalence of premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, low sexual desire, weakness due to semen loss, and overall satisfaction.

Results.  About 83% of the men on buprenorphine and 90% on naltrexone reported at least one of the sexual dysfunction symptoms. The commonly reported dysfunctions were premature ejaculation (83% in buprenorphine and 87% in naltrexone), erectile dysfunction (43% in buprenorphine and 67% in naltrexone), and loss/reduction in sexual desire (33% in buprenorphine and 47% in naltrexone). On BMSFI however, there were no significant differences among both the groups.

Conclusions.  Opioid dependence as well as its pharmacological treatment is associated with sexual dysfunctions, which has clinical implication. Future research should explore this further using biochemical analyses. Ramdurg S, Ambekar A, and Lal R. Sexual dysfunction among male patients receiving buprenorphine and naltrexone maintenance therapy for opioid dependence. J Sex Med 2012;9:3198–3204.