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Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction

Author

Cohen AJ, Bartlik B

Date

4/1998

Journal

J Sex Marital Ther

Abstract

In an open trial ginkgo biloba, an extract derived from the leaf of the Chinese ginkgo tree and noted for its cerebral enhancing effects, was found to be 84% effective in treating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction predominately caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, N = 63). Women (n = 33) were more responsive to the sexually enhancing effects of ginkgo biloba than men (N = 30), with relative success rates of 91% versus 76%. Ginkgo biloba generally had a positive effect on all 4 phases of the sexual response cycle: desire, excitement (erection and lubrication), orgasm, and resolution (afterglow). This study originated from the observation that a geriatric patient on ginkgo biloba for memory enhancement noted improved erections. Patients exhibited sexual dysfunction secondary to a variety of antidepressant medications including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs), serotonin and nonrepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs) monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOIs), and tricyclics. Dosages of ginkgo biloba extract ranged from 60 mg qd to 120 mg bid (average = 209mg/d). The common side effects were gastrointestinal disturbances, headache, and general central nervous system activation. The article includes a discussion of presumed pharmacologic mechanisms, including effects on platelet activating factor, prostaglandins, peripheral vasodilatation, and central serotonin and norepinephrine receptor factor modulation.

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