Higher rates of sexual dysfunction in schizophrenic patients

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Patients with schizophrenia have a higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction, according to a review in the September 13 online issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

Théo Korchia, M.D., of the University of Aix-Marseille, France, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to assess sexual dysfunction and associated factors in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

According to 72 studies (21,076 schizophrenic patients in 33 countries), the global prevalence of sexual dysfunction was 56.4% (55.7% in men and 60.0% in women). The most common sexual dysfunctions in men were erectile dysfunction (44%), decreased libido (41%), and ejaculation dysfunction (39%). In women, the most frequent dysfunctions were orgasm dysfunction (28%) and amenorrhea (25%). Sexual dysfunction was more frequent in schizophrenic patients than in patients with schizoaffective disorder. Erectile dysfunction was less frequent with longer duration of illness. Erectile dysfunction, like ejaculatory dysfunction, was less frequently associated with prescriptions for antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

The findings suggest that the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in schizophrenic patients remains high, with no apparent improvement over time or better tolerability of second-generation antipsychotics,” the authors write. They conclude, “Treatment of depression may be a key factor in reducing sexual dysfunction in schizophrenic patients.

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