Skip to main content

Pimavanserin Improves Sexual Function in Patients With MDD

October 04, 2019

SAN DIEGO—When added to ongoing treatment, pimavanserin significantly improved sexual function in patients with major depressive disorder, according to study results shared during poster sessions at Psych Congress 2019.

“Sexual dysfunction occurs in 40% to 60% of patients with major depressive disorder,” wrote presenter Marlene Freeman, MD, and coauthors, “due to either the illness itself and/or the effects of antidepressant treatment.”

Researchers conducted a post-hoc analysis of the recent phase 2 CLARITY study, which demonstrated the efficacy of adjunctive pimavanserin in patients with major depressive disorder already taking selective serotonin or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs/SSNRIs). The analysis focused specifically on the impact of pimavanserin on sexual function in 51 patients randomized to pimavanserin 34 mg/day, compared with 152 patients randomized to placebo in addition to their current SSRI/SSNRI.

Also from Psych Congress: Treatment Patterns for Depressive Episodes May Signal Poor Care Personalization

Patients who received adjunctive pimavanserin had significantly greater improvement in average scores on the Massachusetts General Hospital–Sexual Functioning Inventory, compared with patients who received adjunctive placebo, the post-hoc analysis found. The following inventory items in particular showed more improvement with adjunctive pimavanserin than adjunctive placebo: interest in sex, ability to get sexually aroused/excited, ability to achieve orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction.

In addition, item 14 scores, which gauge sexual interest, on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were significantly more improved with pimavanserin than with placebo, researchers reported.

“These results underscore the potential of adjunctive pimavanserin for improving sexual function in patients with major depressive disorder and inadequate response to SSRIs/SNRIs,” the poster concluded. “Potential benefits should be confirmed in further studies.”

Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. sponsored the study.

—Jolynn Tumolo


Freeman M, Fava M, Dirks B, et al. Improvement of sexual function observed during treatment of major depressive disorder with adjunctive pimavanserin. Poster presented at Psych Congress 2019; October 3-6, 2019; San Diego, CA. Poster 137.

Back to Top