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Patients with well-treated major depressive disorder experiencing SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction: effect of Vortioxetine versus Escitalopram on sexual functioning

Sexual dysfunction is common with serotonergic antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ( SSRIs ) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors ( SNRIs ), and does not resolve in most patients.
Vortioxetine ( Brintellix, Trintellix ), an antidepressant with a multimodal mechanism of action, has shown low rates of sexual dysfunction in previous major depressive disorder ( MDD ) trials.

A study has compared the effects of Vortioxetine and Escitalopram on sexual functioning in adults with well-treated major depressive disorder experiencing treatment-emergent sexual dysfunction ( TESD ).

Participants treated with, and responding to, Citalopram, Paroxetine, or Sertraline were randomized to switch to either Vortioxetine ( 10/20 mg; n = 225 ) or Escitalopram ( 10/20 mg; n = 222 ) for 8 weeks.

Sexual function was assessed using the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire Short Form ( CSFQ-14 ), and antidepressant efficacy was assessed using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale ( MADRS ), Clinical Global Impressions ( CGI ) scale, and Profile of Mood States brief form ( POMS-brief ).

The primary endpoint was change from baseline in the CSFQ-14 total score after 8 weeks of treatment.
The MADRS, CGI, and POMS-brief were used to assess antidepressant efficacy.
Safety was assessed via adverse events, vital signs, electrocardiograms, laboratory values, weight, and physical examination findings.

Vortioxetine showed significantly greater improvements in CSFQ-14 total score ( 8.8 ± 0.64, mean ± standard error ) versus Escitalopram ( 6.6 ± 0.64; P = 0.013 ).

Benefits versus Escitalopram were significant on four of five dimensions and all three phases of sexual functioning assessed by the CSFQ-14 ( P less than 0.05 ).

Antidepressant efficacy continued in both groups, with similar, but slight, improvements in MADRS and CGI scores.

Vortioxetine and Escitalopram had similar clinical efficacy profiles in this study, with safety profiles similar to previous trials.

Nausea ( n = 9, 4.0% ) was the most common treatment-emergent adverse event leading to discontinuation of Vortioxetine.

In conclusion, switching antidepressant therapy to Vortioxetine may be beneficial for patients experiencing sexual dysfunction during antidepressant therapy with SSRIs. ( Xagena )

Jacobsen PLJ et ai, Sex Med 2015;12: 2036-2048