A survey of sexual side effects among severely mentally ill patients taking psychotropic medications: Impact on compliance
Mentally Ill Persons
Quality of Life
Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological
Few studies have addressed the effects that iatrogenic sexual side effects have on compliance in the severely mentally ill. The objective of this survey was to assess the levels of self-reported iatrogenic sexual dysfunction within a sample of 51 severely mentally ill outpatients taking a variety of psychiatric medications and to assess the impact of sexual side effects on medication compliance. We found that 62.5% of males and 38.5% of females felt that their psychiatric medications were causing sexual side effects. Despite the fact that they were experiencing sexual side effects, 50% of the subjects never or infrequently spoke about sexual functioning with their primary mental health care providers. In particular, women with sexual side effects rarely discussed sex, in fact, 80% of women with sexual side effects failed to discuss sexual dysfunction with their mental health care providers. We found that the presence of sexual side effects affected compliance. We found that 41.7% of men and 15.4% of women admitted that they had stopped their medications at some point during their treatment based on a belief that they were experiencing sexual side effects.