Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Ginkgo Supplements Useful for SSRI-Related Sexual Dysfunction. (Three Small Studies)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Ginkgo Supplements Useful for SSRI-Related Sexual Dysfunction. (Three Small Studies)

Article excerpt

SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA -- The ancient Chinese herb Ginkgo biloba may provide a solution to the thoroughly modern problem of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.

The herb alone, or particularly in certain combination products, helps many patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or venlafaxine who experience side effects such as decreased libido, delayed orgasm, anorgasmia, or genital sensory impairment, Dr. Andrew L. Stoll said at a seminar on treating mood and anxiety disorders.

Ginkgo has multiple systemic effects. It acts as a free-radical scavenger, inhibits platelet aggregation, causes vasodilation, and allows more efficient cellular uptake of oxygen and glucose. The effects of ginkgo on sexual arousal are thought to result from increased blood circulation to the genital area.

The proprietary multi-ingredient ginkgo preparation ArginMax (Daily Wellness Co.) is "one of the best things I've ever seen for SSRI sexual dysfunction," said Dr. Stoll, director of the psychopharmacology research laboratory at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

This supplement, which is sold over the counter, also contains L-arginine, an amino acid precursor to nitric oxide, which plays a central role in sexual arousal in part through increasing smooth muscle relaxation. ArginMax "has actions similar to Viagra," Dr. Stoll said at the meeting, which was sponsored by Harvard Medical School. It also contains Korean ginseng, vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals in different formulations for men and women. …

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