By Antonio, Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction (PSSD), Italy, January 5, 2021
My name is Antonio and I am a 24 years old Italian boy. I took an antidepressant (fluvoxamine) for a pure OCD of reactive type appeared shortly before, between late May and early June 2019. I was prescribed the medication in early July 2019 and continued on it for 6 months. My life before the medication (and before OCD) was normal, like everyone's, however when this OCD appeared I unfortunately couldn't handle it as it was the first time I was in such a situation and it gave me psychosomatic symptoms (being a sexual OCD it gave me decreased libido, but I could feel the difference between that decreased libido I had yesterday and the one I have today). The medication however wasn't really giving me much benefit, it helped me hide the OCD, but it didn't make me understand the true meaning of it. I think that some illnesses come because life wants to test us, maybe that was my case, but with the drug you don't really learn how to beat it, and anyway you have to face possible side effects and important risks. I had several: drowsiness, urogenital disorders, dizziness, anhedonia and worsening of sexual problems.
When I took the drug off I noticed that I was left with this block to pleasure and the good things in life; At first I didn't pay much attention to it, I thought it was residue of the OCD, but when I noticed the lower ejaculatory pressure, the loss of sensitivity in my genitals, some problems later diagnosed as prostatic enlargement, the libido zeroed more than ever, the watery semen, the anorgasmia, all symptoms that I didn't have before, I realized that it was much more than a simple mental complex and that there had to be another explanation. I found the explanation online. When I went to the doctors I was not believed, especially by the psychiatrist who prescribed the drug, nor by an andrologist. I have to say that I did not insist on providing him with the existing medical documentation so as not to seem paranoid or know-it-all. The only one who partly believed me was my general practitioner, but he had no concrete solution to offer me as this condition is not yet sufficiently known by medicine.
Now I have been living with this condition for more than a year and a half (if we also include the months of intake) and slowly I got up from the initial trauma to give my contribution to make this condition better known. Of course its impact is not harmless on the quality of my life, since until the day before I fell ill I had projects, dreams and ambitions that were incredibly swept away by a drug that was supposed to help me overcome a very simple moment of identity crisis. I've noticed that I've lost interest in movies and going out with friends since I would like to limit the topic of sex as much as possible. I'm not doing well but I always try to fight and get back up. I hope that many doctors take this risk into consideration when prescribing, so that it can be prevented in many cases where other solutions can be tried before these drugs, that this syndrome is recognized as it should be and above all a cure can be found.
I don't understand why the package insert didn't mention such a risk, since I refused a low-dose treatment with antipsychotics precisely because of the fear of side effects these presented. But in that case they were all listed and I was aware that such a drug would create more problems than benefits in my case. I didn't expect this in the case of fluvoxamine since it seemed to me that it had quite small side effects. I find it absurd in 2021, after about 30 years of prescribing SSRIs and SNRIs, that this serious problem is only now emerging, despite all the reports made during the past years.