Introduction. Sexual dysfunction is common in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Antidepressant medications especially the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may improve depressive symptoms but further decrease sexual function. Gepirone extended release (gepirone-ER) differs from the SSRIs in only affecting the 5-HT1A receptor and has demonstrated efficacy in treatment of depression and sexual dysfunction in depressed women. This report describes the effect of gepirone-ER on sexual function in depressed men.
Aim. The aims of this article were to study the effects of gepirone-ER on sexual function in men with MDD and to determine if positive effects are independent of antidepressant or anxiolytic activity.
Main Outcome Measures. The main outcome measures of this article were Hamilton depression rating scale (HAMD-17), and changes in sexual functioning questionnaire (CSFQ).
Methods. In an 8-week study, gepirone-ER, placebo, or fluoxetine were administered in a double-blind fashion to 181 depressed men. The CSFQ results were used to determine quality of sexual function. To test for an antidepressant or anxiolytic effect, a 50% reduction in HAMD-17 score separated antidepressant responders from nonresponders, and item 12 of the HAMD scale (psychic anxiety) scores of 0 or 1 separated anxiolytic responders from nonresponders.
Results. Gepirone-ER treatment improved total sexual function compared with placebo measured by the CSFQ at weeks 4 (P = 0.012) and 8 (P = 0.046). At 4 weeks, almost every CSFQ domain is improved. The orgasm domain was especially improved, 67% by week 4. Gepirone-ER antidepressant and anxiolytic nonresponders showed significant improvement in sexual function. Fluoxetine treatment did not produce improvement. In fact, fluoxetine-treated subjects had lower scores on the total CSFQ, less than placebo, and significantly less than gepirone-ER.
Conclusion. Gepirone-ER improves sexual dysfunction in depressed men. All domains of sexual function improved. Gepirone-ER has a pro-sexual effect independent of antidepressant or anxiolytic activity. Fabre LF, Clayton AH, Smith LC, Goldstein I, and Derogatis LR. The effect of gepirone-ER in the treatment of sexual dysfunction in depressed men. J Sex Med 2012;9:821–829.