This is the second study by a team of researchers at Cornell Medical Center in New York which points to a possible effect on sperm quality.
SSRIs taken by millions of men to alleviate depression may affect their fertility, say US scientists.
New Scientist magazine reported that a small group of healthy men were given paroxetine an antidepressant for four weeks and had significantly higher levels of sperm DNA damage. These men may not have serious problems becoming a father. (Think of the potential for damage to unborn.-editor’s comment)
Paroxetine, sold as Seroxat or Paxil, is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the UK. They recruited 35 healthy volunteers who provided sperm samples before and during paroxetine treatment.
Under the microscope, there appeared to be not much difference between the “before” and “after” samples, with the shape and movement of sperm apparently normal in both samples.
However, tests on “DNA fragmentation” produced a different result.
Some sperm with DNA problems can be found in every sample, and 13.8% of sperm cells in those produced before treatment were found to be fragmented. This marker elevated four week mark, this had risen to 30.3%.
Studies have found that couples where the man’s sperm has higher levels of DNA damage produce fewer embryos, and their embryos are less likely to implant successfully in the womb.
Antidepressants are powerful drugs, so in a sense it is no surprise that research is discovering more about their impact on the body.
This damage to the DNA may also effect a mother who takes SSRIIs and then no one has studied the effects on the embryonic tissues to my knowledge.-editor’s note
Dr Andrew McCulloch, of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Most medications carry some level of risk, and antidepressants are no different.
“They are powerful drugs, so in a sense it is no surprise that research is discovering more about their impact on the body.
“More investment is needed in other mental health treatments such as talking therapies and exercise therapy.” (Add homeopathy, neuroemotional kinessiology, …-editor’s note)
Antidepressants ‘may harm sperm