Medicines Committee Fails To Warn Patients Sexual Dysfunction Can Be Irreversible

Published: Fri 31 May 2024 03:54 PM
This week Gwynneth Rees described in The Herald how antidepressants stopped her from reaching orgasm. For her, fortunately, it was reversible. But for many people sexual dysfunction persists even after antidepressant treatment is stopped.
In 2019, New Zealand’s own Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee concluded there was evidence of “persistent sexual dysfunction” after treatment with antidepressants -- but didn’t make companies say that clearly in patient medicine information.
Even before that, in 2015 Pharmac warned prescribers that “sexual dysfunction is a common, often unrecognised side effect of treatment with antidepressants”. But again, regulators didn’t make companies say that clearly in patient medicine information.
Excellence in Mind spokesperson, Giselle Bahr says “Patients need clear information about the risks associated with antidepressants. The Health and Disability Code explicitly requires that patients have a full explanation about the unwanted effects of medicines they’re taking. The European Medicines Authority has asked pharmaceutical companies to ‘warn that sexual dysfunction can endure after antidepressant treatment stops’. New Zealand patients need that protection too.”
Excellence in Mind is calling on Medsafe to require that patient information about antidepressants clearly warns about possible sexual dysfunction, and warns that this may not resolve after discontinuation of the medication.
Excellence in Mind is a coalition of mental health professionals advocating for meaningful choice for people in distress.

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