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Improved sexual functioning with weekend drug holiday for SSRI induced dysfunction

Thirty outpatients with resolved depression who reported orgasm failure or delay during SSRI treatment were instructed to discontinue their SSRIs after the Thursday morning dose and to restart the SSRIs (at their previous dosage) on Sunday at 12:00 noon for four weekends.1

Significant improvement in sexual functioning was reported by 60% of the patients taking sertraline and 50% taking paroxetine but only 10% taking fluoxetine (the improvement was greater in men than women for all three medications). There were no significant increases in depression scores; two patients had modest rises.

Brief drug holidays may allow for significant improvement in sexual functioning without a significant return of depressive symptoms for those on sertraline and paroxetine but not fluoxetine. The limitations of this information are the small study size, lack of randomisation and lack of new studies.

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