DOI: 10.1093/jsxmed/qdae001.121 ISSN: 1743-6095

(127) Sexual Health Implications Associated with Psychotropic Medication Use Among Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A Ghomeshi, J White, M Rivero, J Thomas, F Petrella, D Miller, R Ramasamy
  • Urology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health



The use of psychotropic medications has a notable effect on sexual well-being. Prolonged use is closely linked to dyspareunia, reduced sexual desire, hypogonadism, and erectile dysfunction. We hypothesized that there was an increase in the prescription rates of psychotropic medications among adolescent patients during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the unprecedented stress experienced by isolated youth.


We examined the prescription rates of psychotropic medications and the simultaneous usage of PDE5 inhibitors in adolescent patients during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to compare usage of these medications prior to the pandemic.


To conduct our retrospective matched cohort study, we utilized data obtained from the TriNetX Research Network. The study focused on adolescent patients aged 10-19 presenting for outpatient evaluation, and were placed into two cohorts: 1) those evaluated before the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2) those evaluated during the pandemic. Patients with previous psychiatric diagnoses or prior use of psychotropic medications were excluded from the study. Our primary interest was to examine new prescription patterns within 90 days of the outpatient evaluation. To ensure balanced cohorts, propensity score matching was conducted using logistic regression, resulting in cohorts of equal size.


A total of 1,612,283 adolescents pre-COVID-19 and 1,008,161 adolescents presenting during the COVID-19 pandemic for outpatient evaluations were identified. After propensity matching, a total of 1,005,408 adolescents were included in each cohort each with an average age of 14.7 ± 2.84 and 52% female and 48% male. Prescribing of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines were more frequent during the pandemic for adolescents (RR: 1.58, 95% CI 1.01-2.2). However, they were less likely to receive antidepressants (Risk Ratio (RR): 0.6, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.57-0.63), anxiolytics (RR: 0.78, 95% CI 0.75-0.81), stimulants (RR: 0.26, 95% CI 0.25-0.27), as well as mood stabilizers (RR: 0.44, 95% CI 0.39-0.49). Erectile dysfunction requiring oral PDE5i in this cohort was more frequent during the pandemic for adolescents (RR: 1.53, 95% CI 1.05-2.01).


During the global COVID-19 pandemic, there was a notable rise in the prescription rates of antipsychotic and benzodiazepine medications compared to previous years. Interestingly, this increase aligned with a statistically significant rise in the prescription of PDE5 inhibitors (PDE5i) for treating erectile dysfunction. These findings indicate that clinicians need to be aware of the potential increased risk of medication-related sexual dysfunction among adolescents.


Yes, this is sponsored by industry/sponsor: NIH health grant RO1 DK130991 and Clinician Scientist Development Grant from the American Cancer Society.

Clarification: Industry funding only - investigator initiated and executed study.

More from our Archive