Sexual dysfunctions are associated with multiple medical and psychiatric disorders, as well as pharmacotherapies used to treat these disorders. Although sexual dysfunctions negatively affect both quality of life and treatment adherence, patients infrequently volunteer these symptoms and clinicians do not pose directed questions to determine their presence or severity. This issue is especially important in psychiatric patients, for whom most common psychotropics may cause sexual dysfunctions (antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics and mood-stabilising agents). There is limited literature addressing benzodiazepines, and alprazolam in particular.
To report dose-dependent alprazolam anorgasmia.
Case analysis with PubMed literature review.
A 30-year-old male psychiatric patient presented with new-onset anorgasmia in the context of asymptomatic generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder with agoraphobia, obsessive–compulsive disorder, major depression in remission, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder treated with escitalopram 10 mg q.a.m., gabapentin 1000 mg total daily dose, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate 70 mg q.a.m., nortriptyline 60 mg q.h.s. and alprazolam extended-release 2.5 mg total daily dose. All psychotropic doses had been constant for >6 months excluding alprazolam, which was titrated from 1 mg to 2.5 mg total daily dose. The patient denied any sexual dysfunction with alprazolam at 1 mg q.d. and 1 mg b.i.d. Within 1 week of increasing alprazolam to 2.5 mg total daily dose, the patient reported anorgasmia. Anorgasmia was alprazolam dose-dependent, as anorgasmia resolved with reduced weekend dosing (1 mg b.i.d. Saturday/1.5 mg total daily dose Sunday).
Sexual dysfunction is an important adverse effect negatively influencing therapeutic outcome. This case reports alprazolam-induced dose-dependent anorgasmia. Clinicians/patients should be aware of this adverse effect. Routine sexual histories are indicated.
Declaration of interest