Editorial Note: Following a redesign of the website in 2015, the Sex and Relationships Zone mentioned in this article now works differently. You can search for sex related side effects in the Drugs A-Z section. Side effects can be reported using the main “Report a Side Effect” function.
Toronto, Ontario (December 3, 2012) — RxISK.org, the first free independent website for researching and reporting prescription drug side effects, has added a Sex and Relationships Zone to demonstrate and collect data on the links between prescription drugs and our sex lives.
“Links with antidepressants and one’s sex life are well established,” says Dr. David Healy, a world-renowned psychiatrist who has written extensively about the lack of data in evidence-based medicine, including in his latest book, Pharmageddon.
“In fact, many prescription drugs can affect all aspects of how we function sexually, including our orientation and sexual preferences.”
“When the antidepressants were introduced first, Kuhn (a Swiss Psychiatrist) and Kramer (an American Psychiatrist) celebrated a restoration to ‘normality’ when they claimed that in some cases, homosexuals on antidepressants were changing their sexual orientation to heterosexuality. But if a drug can push us towards heterosexuality, then can it not also push us the other way — that is, towards homosexuality?”
Healy says there is a wide range of potential prescription drug side effects on our sex lives and relationships. “Some of the effects may be as subtle as a drug changing a man’s smell or his lover’s sense of smell so that she no longer finds him desirable.”
The Sex and Relationships Zone allows users to enter the name of a prescription drug and see the side effects relating to sex that have been reported to the FDA’s MedWatch System since 2004, as well as to RxISK, for more than 35,000 drug names from 103 countries. The data is presented in tables, tag clouds, heat maps, and interactive graphs, showing what’s happening with other people taking the same drug around the world and in a user’s community.
Users can then select the effect(s) they are experiencing and click on Report a Drug Side Effect to complete a report. This will add their anonymized experience to the RxISK database so that others can benefit from this information, as well as provide reporters with a personalized RxISK Report linking their symptoms and meds, which they can take to their doctor or pharmacist to facilitate a better treatment conversation.
Dr. Dee Mangin, Data Based Medicine’s Chief Medical Officer and a professor and Director of Research in the Department of Public Health and General Practice at the University of Otago in New Zealand, says we shouldn’t have preconceived ideas about how a drug may affect us. “For example, while we may think antidepressants have effects on sex and relationships because they act on the brain, they primarily act elsewhere in the body. Surprisingly, statins have more effects on the brain.”
Dr. Mangin notes that other drugs — from the antihypertensives through to diabetes drugs — almost certainly affect our sex lives as much as antidepressants do. “Viagra was under study for its effects on pulmonary hypertension when its effects on erections were noted.”
RxISK.org is owned and operated by Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd. (DBM), based in Toronto, Canada. DBM’s founders have international reputations in early drug-side-effect detection and risk mitigation, pharmacovigilance, and patient-centered care. Although drug side effects are known to be a leading cause of death and disability, less than 5% of serious drug side effects are reported. DBM’s mission is to capture this missing data directly from patients through RxISK’s free drug side effect reporting tool and use this data to help make medicines safer for all of us.
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