Infertility fear over drugs for depressed

Millions of men who take anti-depressants are risking infertility, researchers warn. They could be damaging the DNA of their sperm by using the common drug, Paroxetine, tests show.

The proportion of sperm damaged more than doubled from 13.8 per cent to 30.3 per cent after four weeks of taking the drug, researchers claimed.

The sperm recovered when Paroxetine use was halted but were damaged again within days of resuming.

Reproduction expert Dr Allan Pacey said: ‘The apparent increase in sperm DNA damage is alarming.’ More than one in ten people in Britain suffer from depression.

Paroxetine and Prozac – both known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors – account for half of the 34 million prescriptions to treat it.

Studies have linked SSRIs to problems such as loss of libido, erection problems and a failure to orgasm.

The latest warning follows tests on 35 healthy men by researchers in New York. The level of DNA damage they found has been linked to fertility and pregnancy problems in the past.

Mental health charity Mind said: ‘We know that SSRIs and other psychiatric medication can have serious sexual side effects. We need to see a greater commitment from drug companies to research both the side- effects of medication, and what can be done to reduce them.’

GlaxoSmithKline, which sells Paroxetine, distanced itself from the research, published in New Scientist, but said it would review the findings.


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