Single article

DOI: 10.47026/2413-4864-2020-4-33-43

Golenkov A.V.

Priapism as a Complication of Psychopharmacotherapy

Keywords: priapism (clitorism), antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, children and adolescents, the elderly, Medline database

Priapism is a serious complication of psychopharmacotherapy, which can result in erectile dysfunction if there is no timely diagnosis and treatment. Purpose: to study cases of priapism in patients taking psychotropic drugs which were described in the literature. Articles were searched in the Medline database (1969-2020) in English by keywords – priapism and psychotropic drugs. 265 articles were found, most of which were devoted to the use of trazodone (81 articles) and resperidone (50) in patients with mental disorders with the development of priapism. There were cases of such complication associated with taking 12 antipsychotics (six – of the first generation and six – of the second; three – drugs of prolonged action) and 12 antidepressants (from the group of tricyclic, tetracyclic, selective serotonin and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake antagonists/inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), as well as four mood stabilizing agents. The prescribed doses of drugs varied widely. Often these medications were used in various combinations. Priapism most often occurred in the first days (month) of treatment with low doses of drugs. Cases of priapism against the background of psychopharmacotherapy are described not only in adults and elderly men, but also in children starting from the age of two, as well as in women who developed clitorism (female version of priapism). Although priapism is caused by many factors, caution should be exercised when adding other psychotropic drugs to treatment, when increasing their single (daily) dose, passing from the tablet to the injectable form, including appointment of depot drugs, and canceling treatment. Special attention should be paid to patients having episodes of prolonged erections and hematological pathology (hemoglobinopathies and thrombophilias) in their medical history. Priapism is a rare but dangerous complication that requires urgent urological care. This condition can develop when taking almost all psychotropic drugs that have serotoninergic, dopaminergic and alpha-adrenergic antagonistic properties.


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About authors

Golenkov Andrey V.
Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, Medical Psychology and Neurology, Chuvash State University, Russia, Cheboksary (; ORCID:

Article link

Golenkov A.V. Priapism as a Complication of Psychopharmacotherapy [Electronic resource] // Acta medica Eurasica. – 2020. – №4. P. 33-43. – URL: DOI: 10.47026/2413-4864-2020-4-33-43.