Dapoxetine and sleep problems

This medication helps men to delay their ejaculation, but there are known side effects. Understand the link between dapoxetine and sleep problems.

Dapoxetine is a medication developed for guys who struggle with premature ejaculation. It’s also produced under the brand name Priligy.

A visitor to this site asked me to mention dapoxetine and sleep problems. This certainly seems to be a common issue.

A quick caveat: I am not a doctor or a pharmacist. If you are considering using dapoxetine or you’re experiencing any side effects, you should speak to your doctor or whoever you are sourcing the prescription from.

Working as a psychotherapist, I have conversations about SSRI medications and dapoxetine is an SSRI pill. Working with guys who struggle with sexual confidence and premature ejaculation, we discuss available treatment options including the medication route.

Starting with a bit of background, SSRI medications have been around for a while, primarily as a treatment for depression. A common side effect is reduced libido and taking longer to reach orgasm.

For a lot of people, this is problematic. But for guys who struggle to make sex last, this was a positive discovery.

Superman using priligy

Working from that finding, dapoxetine came along specifically as a remedy for PE. It’s a clever innovation: an SSRI pill that is absorbed faster in the body and has a much shorter half-life. So it can be taken on demand, on the day that you have sex, a little bit like Viagra.

This sounds convenient, doesn’t it? Is dapoxetine to premature ejaculation what viagra is to erectile dysfunction? Well, kind of.

Dapoxetine only makes a difference on the day that you take it. And just like any of these kinds of medications, there are known side effects.

One of the most commonly reported side effects is sleep disruption. Quite often, I hear guys mention that they experience some nausea within the first couple of hours of taking the pill but it does generally subside.

On the sleeping front, it’s interesting because SSRIs were originally developed to help with depression. People with depression tend to struggle with sleep, experiencing difficulty getting to sleep, early waking or oversleeping and still feeling exhausted.

So one of the objectives of medication is to help stabilise sleep. SSRIs generally have this effect when they’re taken as a daily dose.

It’s noted on the NHS website that when embarking on an SSRI, one of the initial side effects can be sleep disruption. But you’d normally expect that to subside within a week or two.

Remember that in basic terms, SSRI pills raise serotonin levels in the brain. We know that serotonin plays a role in sleep regulation, wakefulness and the shifts between sleep states. It plays a role in the balance of deep sleep and REM-state dreaming sleep.

Man yawning with tiredness.
Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

So any medication that changes up serotonin levels has the potential to significantly impact sleep. Some people experience restless leg syndrome or bruxism, a grinding of the teeth that can result in an achy jaw. People might dream more or experience nightmares. Or just plain old sleeplessness, lying awake feeling wired and frustrated.

Remember, these are initial side effects that tend to subside when the body adjusts to your regular SSRI pill. But of course, dapoxetine is taken on demand. You’re not supposed to take it every day.

So it could be that the body never really gets the chance to adjust. Dapoxetine is easy to stop taking because there’s no adjustment or reliance on it. But it also means that we might experience what should be initial side effects every single time we take it.

I’m not aware of any specific research into this, but that would seem like a logical explanation.

I’ve spoken with guys who are using dapoxetine and it is helping them last longer. But they’d like to start developing a more organic approach. They are ready to learn skills and techniques to relax into sex, slow things down and feel a bit more in control.

Sometimes this is because they’ve had enough of the side effects, or purely down to the cost of the prescription. It’s not a cheap medication after all. Sometimes they just want to invest in themselves and I think this makes complete sense.

One of the factors here is privacy, because a lot of guys are using dapoxetine or viagra (or both) and their partner doesn’t necessarily know. A partner doesn’t really need to know. The sexual routine can happen just as it always did, for a bit longer.

But learning new skills may mean changing the way that you go about sex. Trying different positions, movements, angles and speeds. A partner will notice, so it really helps if they are on board.

Guys are concerned that if they stop taking the pill and try to do things differently, they will be rumbled. They’re going to have to have that awkward or embarrassing conversation about premature ejaculation.

Our egos are understandably sensitive in this area, I know. But it may be an opportunity to actually build on communication and connection.

Of course, there is the option of working on these skills and techniques while still taking dapoxetine. I think that sounds like a good way to go.

There might well come a point where you’re feeling more relaxed and in control, but you don’t really know how much of that is the pill and how much of that is you.

But you may well notice that you are lasting longer. Don’t forget that for a lot of guys, dapoxetine only buys them a couple more minutes. By changing the way that you go about sex, you would expect to see more of an increase in duration.

But working together on longer-lasting intercourse is my recommendation. With increased sexual openness, both partners create the potential to enjoy less tension, more fun and deeper experiences.

I’d advocate that ultimately, this beats the convenience of a pill. And no more restless legs in the small hours – what’s not to like?

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