Pharmacotherapy of paraphilias in the next millennium

Ariel Rösler, Eliezer Witztum

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    94 Scopus citations


    Paraphilias are psychiatric disorders of abnormal sexual behavior whose prevalence has markedly increased during the last decade. Treatment modalities currently used fall into three categories: surgical castration, psychotherapy, and pharmacotherapy. The pharmacological interventions consist of antiandrogens that either completely reduce testosterone secretion and/or antagonize the action of testosterone at the level of the receptor, and psychotropic drugs, namely antidepressants. Cyproterone and medroxyprogesterone acetates are the two antiandrogens more commonly used. They are only effective in relatively high doses, but have a substantial number of severe side effects which has considerably limited their use. Psychotropic drugs may be effective solely in men with a definite obsessive-compulsive disorder component. Because of the erratic results and lack of permanent eradication of the paraphilic manifestations their use in paraphilias is highly controversial. Long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist analogues are the most potent antiandrogens, and selectively abolish testosterone secretion in a totally reversible fashion. They are administered parenterally once every 1 to 3 months, and have the fewest side effects. Long-acting GnRH analogues, together with psychotherapy, are highly effective in controlling selected paraphilias (pedophilia, exhibitionism, and voyeurism), and are the most promising mode of therapy in the next millennium. There is an urgent need for good methodological research; carefully designed double-blind controlled studies with a large number of subjects in order to validate or not the use of the various pharmacotherapies. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-56
    Number of pages14
    JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Law


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