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Clouds over sunshine in a bottle

Prozac, the anti-depressive drug often described as "sunshine in a bottle", can take its toll on users' sex lives, research published in the US has claimed. The downside to taking Prozac and other SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) can be a dramatic loss of libido, say the authors of a study published in Primary Psychiatry.

Conventional medical wisdom has long held that users of SSRIs are less prone to side-effects than those who use other forms of anti-depressants. But the US researchers say that between 40 and 50 per cent of those taking Prozac and similar anti-depressants, including Zoloft, Paxil, and Luvox, suffer from some sort of sexual dysfunction. "It is now a truth generally acknowledged that SSRIs cause sexual dysfunction more than any other class of anti-depressants," they write.

SSRIs are used by millions around the world. More than 12 million prescriptions are written for them each year in Britain alone.