unhappy middle aged couple

I took SSRI antidepressants for 20 years and suffered severe sex problems as a result. I complained to my doctor and to a psychiatrist, asking if I could switch to bupropion (Wellbutrin), which I’d heard causes fewer sexual side effects. They both told me the same thing—it’s not worth it because it would take so long for the bupropion to kick in that I might have another major depressive episode. Finally, I became more assertive with my primary doc and he relented and prescribed bupropion. I experienced a wonderful 180-degree sexual turn-around! Now I’m 70 and feel so bad about my 20 years of lost sex life. My question: My wife is not depressed. Can she take bupropion to see if it would give her libido a boost?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    I’m very sorry you lost 20 years of sex life because your doctors refused to try you on bupropion. Doctors have been maddeningly slow to recognize the despair loss of sexual function can cause, and to try prescribing bupropion to SSRI users who complain of sexual side effects.

    Early studies of bupropion suggested that it MAY boost libido in SOME people who are not depressed. As far as I know, those studies have not been followed up. So, yes, your wife might benefit sexually from the drug. Here’s the rub—how to persuade doctors to prescribe it. They may be reluctant to prescribe a potent antidepressant to a woman who is not depressed. You might try guilt-slinging the doctor(s) who wouldn’t switch you. Alternatively, another brand of bupropion, Zyban, is prescribed to help people quit smoking. Your wife might fib that she’s a smoker and ask for Zyban.

    Good luck!

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