Adverse effect of paroxetine (SSRI) on sperm

Date: 6-10-2009

Fertil Steril. 2009 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]  Tanrikut C, Feldman AS, Altemus M, Paduch DA, Schlegel PN. James Buchanan Brady Foundation, Department of Urology, Cornell Reproductive Medicine Institute, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York; Department of Urology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

CAPSULE: SSRI’s (antianxiety medications) have been shown to significantly increase sperm DNA fragmentation; however, going off the medication for about two months will reverse the damage Paroxetine (SSRI --one of several anti-anxiety medications) was administered to 35 healthy male volunteers, 18-65 years old. RESULT(S): Mean sperm DNA fragmentation was significantly higher for men while on paroxetine (30.3%) versus baseline (13.8%). Before paroxetine, 9.7% of patients had a TUNEL score >/=30% compared with 50% at week 4 of treatment. The odds ratio (OR) of having abnormal DNA fragmentation while taking paroxetine was 9.33 (95% confidence interval, 2.3-37.9].Recovery to near-normal sexual function was noted after stopping treatment. Standard semen parameters were not significantly altered during paroxetine treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: In men with normal semen parameters, paroxetine induced abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation in a significant proportion of subjects, without a measurable effect on semen parameters. The fertility potential of a substantial number of men on paroxetine may be adversely affected by these changes in sperm DNA integrity.

(Important editorial note: (DPE) Consultation with your doctor may allow a man to go off this medication and since it is cleared in about a month, these could co-inside with a fresh sample for ART, or collect and freeze samples for later use while going back on the medication)