Does Paroxetine cause hypersexuality? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss the correlation between Paroxetine and sexuality. We will discover some factors that lead to hypersexuality in patients taking Paroxetine for their antidepressant treatment. We will look at some prevention strategies to avoid hypersexuality induced by Paroxetine.

Does Paroxetine cause hypersexuality?

Yes, Paroxetine can cause hypersexuality in patients. Paroxetine is an SSRI antidepressant that is linked with causing hypersexuality in individuals as a side effect. 

Hypersexuality is an unusual or excessive desire for sexual activity. Hypersexuality may sometimes appear as a medical condition or as a side effect or symptom related to a health condition in some patients (1). 

In some patients taking Paroxetine treatment, hypersexuality may appear as an adverse reaction to this medication however, it may not necessarily affect everyone taking Paroxetine. 

You should consult your healthcare provider if you experience excessive desire for sexual activity while taking Paroxetine. 

What does research suggest?

According to the research studies conducted on the sexual behaviours associated with Paroxetine, hypersexuality has been declared as an adverse effect of some SSRI antidepressants including Paroxetine and Prozac (2). 

Based on the reported cases of some patients with anxiety who were prescribed Paroxetine 20mg/day displayed decreased sexual functions in the initial 2-4 weeks of treatment. They suffered from decreased libido and delayed ejaculation (3).

After almost 10 weeks of treatment with Paroxetine, the patients observed normal sexual behaviours with improved libido and ejaculation. They did not experience any difficulty in performing any sexual activities (3).

Within 12-14 weeks of treatment with paroxetine, the patients displayed new and enhanced sexual behaviours. These patients displayed dyadic characteristics and improved sexual patterns which indicates the contribution of Paroxetine towards hypersexuality (3). 

Which factors contribute to hypersexuality in patients taking Paroxetine?

The following are some factors that may contribute to high sexuality in some patients (1):

  • Imbalance in brain chemicals- An imbalance in the neurotransmitters in the brain may also play a key role in developing sexual behaviours in patients. Alteration in some brain chemicals such as dopamine and noradrenaline may cause hypersexual characteristics in many patients.


  • Psychiatric disorders- Many psychiatric conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and dementia alter the functioning of some brain parts that are associated with causing sexual effects. 


  • Adverse effects of medication- Certain medications that affect the central nervous system cause patients to develop hypersexual behaviours as side effects. Medications that interfere with serotonin mechanisms are associated with causing hypersexuality in patients. 

There may be other biological, social, and environmental factors that may contribute to developing hypersexuality in patients (1). However, you should seek medical help if you observe excessive sexual behaviour.

What are the alternatives to Paroxetine-induced hypersexuality? 

An alternative antidepressant that can be given to replace Paroxetine if it causes hypersexuality in patients is Fluoxetine which belongs to the same drug class. Fluoxetine has been proven to be an effective treatment for hypersexual behaviour in patients dealing with depression (4). 

However, if the SSRI treatment does not help in treating hypersexuality in patients and causes excessive sexual behaviours, then Naltrexone which is an opiate antagonist comes into play. Naltrexone has shown effective results in treating hypersexuality in patients who failed to respond to SSRI medication (4). 

However, the main focus to treat co-morbid hypersexuality should be to target the underlying cause. The patients should be treated with specific medications that target sexual hormone functioning or manage sexual urges (4).  

Clinicians should always monitor and perform screening for other comorbid conditions and medication interactions associated with hypersexuality (4). 

How to manage hypersexuality caused by Paroxetine?

There are several strategies available to control hypersexuality caused by Paroxetine. Some of them are discussed below (5):

  • Seek medical help- Early detection of this condition is extremely crucial. Your healthcare providers should provide an effective treatment plan to avoid hypersexual behaviour. Seeking medical help can help avoid extreme sexual behaviours and attitudes. 


  • Lower medication dose- Your doctor should assess your side effects and should consider tampering with the Paroxetine dose. Sometimes lowering the medication dose may exhibit lowering of the side effects. 


  • Switching medication- Your doctor may prescribe you another medication with fewer chances of causing sexual side effects. Your doctor may change your serotonergic medication because SSRI antidepressants are generally associated with causing sexual adverse effects.


  • Seek psychotherapy- Contact a psychiatrist and seek psychotic help to treat excessive sexual behaviours. A psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational approach to treat hypersexual conditions may prove beneficial. 


In conclusion, I would like to add that Paroxetine is linked with causing hypersexuality however, other factors may also play a key role in developing hypersexual characters in some individuals. 

Therefore, before discontinuing or switching this medication, the accurate cause of this hypersexual behaviour needs to be diagnosed in patients. 

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Asiff Muna, Sidi Hatta, Masiran Ruziana, Kumar Jaya, Das Srijit, Hatta Nurul H, Alfonso Cesar. Hypersexuality As a Neuropsychiatric Disorder: The Neurobiology and Treatment Options. Current Drug Targets, Volume 19, Number 12, 2018, pp. 1391-1401(11).



Yuan S, Deban CE. SSRI-Induced Hypersexuality. Am J Psychiatry Resid J. 2021 Mar;16(3):9-12. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp-rj.2021.160305. Epub 2021 Mar 12. PMID: 33796812; PMCID: PMC8009557.


Gola M, Potenza MN. Paroxetine Treatment of Problematic Pornography Use: A Case Series. J Behav Addict. 2016 Sep;5(3):529-32. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.046. Epub 2016 Jul 21. PMID: 27440474; PMCID: PMC5264421.


Singh G, Singh H, Magny S, Virk I, Gill M. Use of Fluoxetine in Treating Compulsive Sexual Behavior: A Case Report. Cureus. 2022 Sep 16;14(9):e29245. doi: 10.7759/cureus.29245. PMID: 36262958; PMCID: PMC9573801.


Montejo AL, Prieto N, de Alarcón R, Casado-Espada N, de la Iglesia J, Montejo L. Management Strategies for Antidepressant-Related Sexual Dysfunction: A Clinical Approach. J Clin Med. 2019 Oct 7;8(10):1640. doi: 10.3390/jcm8101640. PMID: 31591339; PMCID: PMC6832699.

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