The selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors fluvoxamine and paroxetine differ in sexual inhibitory effects after chronic treatment

Marcel D. Waldinger, Afke Van de Plas, Tommy Pattij, Ruud Van Oorschot, Lique M. Coolen, Jan G. Veening, Berend Olivier

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Rationale: The selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) delay orgasm and ejaculation in men. In men with rapid ejaculation it was shown that, of the SSRIs, paroxetine exerted the strongest delay in ejaculation and fluvoxamine the weakest. Objectives: In the present study, we compared the acute and chronic effects of fluvoxamine and paroxetine on sexual behavior in the male rat in order to compare their differential inhibitory effects on sexual behavior. Methods: During a 4-week period, 48 male Wistar rats, selected on the basis of their sexual performance, were repeatedly tested for sexual behavior. All male rats received vehicle (saline, n=12), fluvoxamine (30 mg/kg, n=12), or paroxetine (10 mg/kg, n=12) daily for 2 weeks. Sexual behavioral tests were performed on days 1 (acute), 7, and 14. Results: After acute oral administration, fluvoxamine and paroxetine did not inhibit sexual behavior. After 7 days and 14 days treatment, fluvoxamine mildly inhibited certain parameters of sexual behavior but ejaculation was never delayed. In contrast, paroxetine, after 7 days and particularly after 14 days treatment, strongly inhibited sexual behavior, including ejaculation. Conclusions: These results strongly concur with clinical data, suggesting that paroxetine, but not fluvoxamine, delays ejaculation. Because fluvoxamine does not delay ejaculation it may serve as an optimal treatment for depressive illness when sexual side effects, such as a delayed ejaculation, are undesired. The mechanisms whereby paroxetine and fluvoxamine, both being selective serotonin uptake inhibitors, differentially inhibit sexual behavior are unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-289
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Ejaculation
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Male rat
  • Paroxetine
  • Serotonin
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sexual side effect

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