Ninety-six hours ordeal of priapism induced by paroxetine-A case report and literature review

Ishrat A. Bhat, Kelly D. Shannon, Anjum Ara, Ian Coe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Priapism is a rare but severe medical condition of sustained and painful erection of penis in the absence of any sexual stimulation, in which the penis does not return to a flaccid state. It is considered to be a medical emergency because without treatment it can lead to permanent damage and fibrosis of penis and in the long run to impotency. Albeit that there is no uniform consensus regarding the duration of sustained erection, an erection lasting more than 4 h is generally considered as an emergency which needs immediate medical attention and care. Priapism is commonly associated with iatrogenic, pharmacologic, underlying medical, or traumatic causes. In this report, we present the case of a 42-year-old African American man who developed priapism after three weeks of therapy with paroxetine which lasted for more than 96 h before coming to the attention of his health-care providers. This case is unique in that there are no reports in literature of an erection lasting for such a long duration following therapy with paroxetine. The objective of this report is to highlight the importance of recognizing the possibility of priapism with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in general and paroxetine in particular since this condition is not commonly seen in clinical practice to be associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and may go unrecognized. Also, potential biological mechanisms involved in the development of paroxetine-induced priapism are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Paroxetine
  • Priapism
  • SSRIs
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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