Searching for answers and validation: Australian women's experiences of coping with the adverse sexual effects of antidepressants
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Sexual difficulties relating to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication have an impact on quality of life and are a common cause for non-adherence to medication. While most research has focussed on the prevalence and treatment of sexual difficulties, little is known about how patients cope with the adverse sexual effects of SSRIs. This qualitative study, using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), investigated the experiences of 10 Australian women currently coping with the adverse sexual effects of this antidepressant by conducting semi-structured interviews. This paper presents one major theme from the study and reports the findings related to women's self-reported experiences of interacting with GPs in their search for answers and validation of their concerns. Findings from the study add to the current literature by providing an insight into how interactions with GPs impact on women's abilities to cope with adverse sexual effects. Empathic discussions and shared decision-making between GPs and women can provide the opportunity to improve the management of the adverse sexual effects of SSRIs and may lead to improved outcomes for women.
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