Sertraline is a medication that belongs to a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). As well as treating depression, it may help people experiencing premature ejaculation.
Premature ejaculation (PE) is a condition in which a person with a penis ejaculates very quickly when sexually stimulated. Sertraline may help a person last longer before ejaculating.
In this article, we look at both sertraline and PE in more detail. We also discuss the effectiveness of sertraline as a treatment for PE and list some alternative treatment options.
Sertraline works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that transmits messages between neurons.
As well as regulating mood, serotonin also plays a role in memory, eating, and sleep.
PE is a fairly common condition in which a person ejaculates quickly with very little sexual stimulation. It can be frustrating for the individual and can often lead to unfulfilling sexual interactions.
PE can happen as a result of psychological or physical reasons or a combination of both. Some of these may include:
There is some scientific evidence to suggest that SSRIs may be an effective treatment for PE. Although it does not mention sertraline specifically, a 2019 study states that SSRIs are the gold standard of treatment for PE.
A systematic review looking at the efficacy and safety of sertraline for PE suggests that it can help prolong ejaculation and improve sexual satisfaction for people with this condition and their partners.
A 2019 study looked at two groups of people with PE. One group took sertraline twice daily, while the other took it 4 hours before sex. The researchers found that both daily use of the drug and taking it a few hours before sex increased ejaculation time.
People should be aware that sertraline has a few possible side effects, including:
- decreased appetite
- excessive sweating
- failure to ejaculate
- decreased sex drive
Once a person becomes accustomed to the medication, it is likely that the side effects will lessen. If the side effects are persistent or extreme, a person should discuss stopping the medication with their doctor.
However, rather than suddenly stopping the medication, a person should gradually reduce the dose to prevent extra side effects.
A person who wishes to take sertraline for PE will need to get a prescription from their healthcare provider.
Sertraline dosages can vary. In the 2019 study above, the participants in the first group received the drug in a 50-milligram (mg) dose every 12 hours. However, sertraline can come in dosages as low as 25 mg per day and as high as 200 mg per day.
A doctor will be able to advise a person on the appropriate dosage of sertraline to help with PE.
Although sertraline is one possible treatment for PE, there are several alternative treatments that a person may want to try. Some of these may be useful for addressing the underlying cause of PE.
Some examples of alternative treatments for PE include:
If the cause of PE is psychological, it may be useful for a person to attend sex therapy.
A sex therapist can help counsel a person to address any emotional issues or trauma that is causing the condition. They can also suggest behavioral techniques to increase the time that it takes a person to ejaculate.
Behavioral techniques are exercises that a person can practice to help them delay their ejaculation.
A popular behavioral technique for PE is the stop-start technique, which involves a person (or their partner) stimulating the penis until they are near ejaculation. When they notice this sensation, they stop stimulating the penis and let the sensation pass.
The person should repeat this process a few times before ejaculating.
If the cause of PE is a physical condition, such as an issue with the thyroid, a doctor may provide oral medication to address the condition directly.
Desensitizing sprays work by applying a local anesthetic to the head and shaft of the penis. The anesthetic numbs the area slightly, leading to a less intense feeling during sexual activity and intercourse.
An older study highlights that applying a particular PE spray 5 minutes before sex led to study participants having better control over ejaculation and an increase in sexual satisfaction.
Sertraline may be a viable treatment for people experiencing PE. Scientific research suggests that it may help delay ejaculation and increase sexual satisfaction.
A person may wish to try sertraline alongside alternative treatments to address the underlying cause of their PE.