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BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 29 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1012

Viagra reduces sexual side effects reported by women taking antidepressants

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors work well for many people with depression, but they can adversely affect their sex lives. Failure of arousal and orgasm are particular problems for women taking these drugs, so researchers did a placebo controlled trial to find out if sildenafil (Viagra) would help.

The effects were modest but significant. Women who took sildenafil before sex for eight weeks had lower scores of sexual dysfunction than women who took a placebo—a mean difference of 0.8 (95% CI 0.6 to 1.0) on a scale measuring global impressions from 1 (normal) to 7 (extreme dysfunction). Sildenafil had no effect on desire or arousal, but women taking the drug found it slightly easier to achieve orgasm than controls (a significant difference of 0.5 or 0.6 points on two six point scales). They were also slightly but significantly more likely to enjoy sex. Nasal congestion, headache, and flushing were the most common side effects. The trial was sponsored by Pfizer.

The 98 women in this trial had a mean age of 37 and had been taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors for a mean of 27 months. All were in remission from major depression and had sexual side effects from their treatment. Most had problems with libido (88% (86/98)), arousal (81% (79/98)), and orgasm (98.7% (75/76)).

The benefits of sildenafil for these women are consistent with the results from similar trials in men, say the authors.

High rates of tuberculosis persist in people living in but born outside the US

Between 2001 and 2006, 12 928 people were diagnosed with tuberculosis less than two years after moving to the US, according to an epidemiological study. The authors report that people moving to the US have higher rates of tuberculosis than native born citizens, and although the burden of disease goes down over time, overall rates of tuberculosis remain higher in people born outside the US for decades …

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