Back in 2009, we reported on a study which demonstrated that paroxetine (Paxil) may affect sperm quality in men treated with this antidepressant. A new study reports a similar finding in men treated with sertraline (Zoloft), another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

In this randomized, single-blind study, men with premature ejaculation were treated with either sertraline (Zoloft) or behavioral therapy.They observed that men treated with sertraline had significantly lower sperm concentration and lower percentage of spermatozoa with normal morphology as compared to men treated with behavioral therapy.In the sertraline-treated group, they also observed an increase in the percentage of sperm deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation.

These reports will obviously raise concerns in couples who are attempting to conceive.  While we do not yet fully understand all of the factors involved, in couples who have not been able to conceive, we should certainly inquire about the use of antidepressants in the male partner as part of the standard evaluation of infertility.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Akasheh G, Sirati L, Noshad Kamran AR, Sepehrmanesh Z. Comparison of the Effect of Sertraline With Behavioral Therapy on Semen Parameters in Men With Primary Premature Ejaculation.  Urology. 2014 Feb 11. [Epub ahead of print]