Background: Sexual dysfunction is common in psychotic disorder but it is not clear whether it is intrinsic to the development of the illness or secondary to other factors. Aims: To compare sexual function in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of a psychotic disorder, patients with first-episode psychosis predominantly taking antipsychotic drugs and healthy volunteers. Method: Sexual function was assessed in a UHR group (n = 31), a group with first-episode psychosis (n = 37) and a matched control group of healthy volunteers (n = 56) using the Sexual Function Questionnaire. Results: There was a significant effect of group on sexual function (P<0.001). Sexual dysfunction was evident in 50% of the UHR group, 65% of first-episode patients and 21% of controls. Within the UHR group, sexual dysfunction was more marked in those who subsequently developed psychosis than in those who did not. Across all groups the severity of sexual dysfunction was correlated with the severity of psychotic symptoms (P<0.001). Within the first-episode group there was no significant difference in sexual dysfunction between patients taking prolactin-raising v. prolactin-sparing antipsychotics. Conclusions: Sexual dysfunction is present prior to onset of psychosis, suggesting it is intrinsic to the development of illness unlikely to be related to the prolactin-raising properties of antipsychotic medication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalBritish journal of psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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