Your donations are needed to fund scientific research into post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) and other enduring sexual dysfunctions. The aim is to better understand the biology of these conditions and hopefully find treatments.
£25,072 raised of £50,000 goal
Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) is a condition in which sexual side effects don’t resolve after stopping certain types of antidepressants (inc. SSRIs, SNRIs and some tricyclics). In some cases, the sexual side effects only emerge upon stopping the antidepressant.
The condition affects men and women of all ages and causes genital numbness, pleasureless orgasm, loss of sex drive, impotence and other difficulties. It can start after only a few days of taking an antidepressant and in some cases persists for decades. There is currently no treatment.
It can lead to relationship and family breakup, job loss, and suicide.
There are other related conditions:
- Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) which can be triggered by stopping SSRIs.
- Post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) caused by finasteride, a medication used to reverse hair loss in young men.
- Post-retinoid sexual dysfunction (PRSD) caused by isotretinoin, a medication used in the treatment of acne.
The research fund was launched on 21 June 2022 with the aim of facilitating scientific research into PSSD and other enduring sexual dysfunctions. Donations are made to Centre for Data Based Medicine, a registered charity in England and Wales.
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The research fund is not being left to build up to £50,000 before any research gets funded – the money will go into use immediately. None of the money collected will go into anything other than the research.
Laboratory work by Professor Luisa Guerrini at the University of Milan has identified changes in a set of regulatory proteins and enzymes caused by sertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, clomipramine and isotretinoin. These include changes to p63 which could lead to altered gene expression, and ACE2 which is known to be linked to sexual dysfunction. An initial paper is being written at the moment. Further work is needed to understand the alterations in gene expression pathways.
The team will also investigate whether a protein called prokineticin is affected by these medications. Prokineticin (PROK2) and it’s receptor in the spinal cord (PROKR2) transmit pleasant touch sensations from the skin to the brain.
Berlin / Maastricht
There have been preliminary discussions with a second group that involves Professor Christine Heim and colleagues from Charité Hospital in Berlin. They recently published a study identifying the brain site that corresponds to the clitoris using fMRI scanning and a newly devised stimulation device. This may offer a way to investigate genital numbness.
A colleague with expertise in translational neuroscience from Maastricht University is also linked into this group. There may be an opportunity to include people with backgrounds in sensory perception and the reward system.
- £13,925.15 to Professor Luisa Guerrini on 26 July 2022.
- Transaction fee of £5 on 27 July 2022.