More Brits are taking common drug – but doctor says it can kill your sex drive

Dr. Michael L. Krychman said you can still have a healthy sex life
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Lots of things can impact your sex drive - and one of them is medication.

You may not realise it, but some of the pills you take can really cause your libido to dip. Dr. Michael L. Krychman, Chief Medical Consultant at überlube, has been an active clinician for three decades providing clinical care for female patients throughout their lifespan.

Currently, his clinical focus is on the perimenopausal, menopausal and those with chronic medical conditions - including depression and malignancies. He's recently opened up about the common things people don't realise about antidepressants, and the potential side effects of the medication.

Dr. Michael L. Krychman said you can still have a healthy sex life
Dr. Michael L. Krychman said you can still have a healthy sex life -Credit:Dr. Michael L. Krychman

Dr. Krychman said: "Most know that antidepressants work to help ease the symptoms of depression, but many are unaware that the effects may be augmented with counselling and/or therapy.

"In addition, most don’t know that some antidepressant medications can also cause sexual side effects including changes in vaginal lubrication, sexual arousal or orgasmic capacity.

"Most are also unaware there is currently a blood test their health care provider can order which can discern which medication will be most effective, and which one is likely to cause sexual side effects. This data can optimise treatment efficacy while mitigating side effects."

Even though the expert doesn't think more are being prescribed, he does believe more people are now being diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, as there is less stigma associated with the diagnosis. More people are now willing to seek out care, and they are starting to learn that this is a medical condition that has a biological chemical foundation.

Dr. Krychman also noted that, for some individuals, prescriptions may be considered an "easy fix", but may not address the underlying psychological or situational issues that may be causing their symptoms. Prescription may be used to help the chemical imbalance as they await counselling.

Speaking about how the drugs can impact your libido, Dr. Krychman added: "Antidepressants can directly affect the sexual response cycle. Many individuals may experience changes in sexual desire, arousal and changes in orgasmic intensity (orgasm strength).

"They can also cause significant vaginal dryness, which can lead to painful intercourse/penetration. There are some simple solutions to address the changes in vaginal dryness such as the premium silicone lubricant, überlube, which can address the dryness.

"Health care professionals can request a health care professional product box which contains patient samples, bottles and medical literature detailing studies performed with this product."

Dr. Michael L. Krychman said you can still have a healthy sex life
Both men and women can be impacted -Credit:Getty Images

He also noted no difference has been found in many clinical studies on the impact of antidepressant sexual side effects and antidepressant use between men and women. As well as this, he said a combination of things can often lead to a person experiencing low libido.

"Libido changes are a multifaceted phenomenon and often involve the impact of medications, medical illness and psychosocial factors," he said. "Relationship considerations and stress or privacy are also concerns that need to be addressed.

"Individuals who suffer from sexual complaints such as lowered libido, should see their health care professional or a clinician with expertise in sexual medicine for a comprehensive assessment including a review of medications, physical examination and laboratory testing for a better understanding of hormonal levels.

"Then a detailed and multimodal treatment plan can be set in place to help address the underlying lowered sexual interest or loss of desire. There are some simple solutions to address the changes in vaginal dryness such as use of the premium silicone lubricant, überlube.

"Health care professionals can request a health care professional product box which contains patient samples, bottles and medical literature on the studies that were performed with this product."

Despite the side effects, Dr. Krychman said there are ways you can still maintain a really healthy sex life while taking the medication. He explained antidepressant medications can be lifesaving, and individuals should continue taking them to help ease the suffering of major depression.

There are some simple solutions you can put it place to help maintain your medication while enjoying a rich and satisfying sexual life. These include:

  • Timed intercourse - have sex immediately BEFORE you dose your antidepressant. This may be enough systemic escape, or when the medication is at its lowest to have the least impact on the sexual response cycle. For instance, if you take your medication in the morning around 9am, try to have sex BEFORE 9am so the medication level in your system will be at its lowest.

  • Speak to your prescribing health care provider. They may be able to lower, modify or change your existing medication to one that is less offensive to the sexual response cycle. Do not stop or change your medication on your own.

  • See your health care professional or sexual medicine expert clinician for a comprehensive assessment. Then a detailed and multimodal treatment plan can be set in place to help address the underlying lowered sexual interest or loss of desire. There are many medications that treat male (Phosphodiesterase inhibitors, testosterone) or female sexual dysfunction (Flibanserin, bremelanotide hormones including testosterone) and may be used to ease medication induced sexual problems.

  • There are simple OTC antidotes for changes in female sexual arousal - speak with your provider to get some simple solutions that can be rubbed into the clitoral area.

  • To address the changes in vaginal dryness use a premium lubricant such as überlube, which can address the dryness without disrupting your vaginal biome.