Original Research

The use of cyproterone acetate in a forensic psychiatric cohort of male sex offenders and its associations with sexual activity and sexual functioning

Gian Lippi, Paul J. van Staden
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 23 | a982 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v23i0.982 | © 2017 Gian Lippi, Paul J. van Staden | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 February 2016 | Published: 10 March 2017

About the author(s)

Gian Lippi, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa and Forensic Unit, Weskoppies Hospital, South Africa
Paul J. van Staden, Department of Statistics, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Cyproterone acetate (CPA) is a steroidal anti-androgenic medication used in the field of psychiatry for the treatment of paraphilic disorders, hypersexuality, and inappropriate sexual behaviour which may be present in patients with disorders such as mild and major neurocognitive disorders. In the forensic psychiatric population, it is prescribed for these indications especially for patients with a history of committing a sexual offence or who are at moderate to high risk of recidivism.

Objectives: To investigate the use of CPA in a forensic psychiatric cohort of male sex offenders and its associations with sexual activity and sexual functioning.

Methods: Seventy-six forensic psychiatric patients from Weskoppies Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, participated in the study which measured their sexual functioning. A specifically designed questionnaire was used to capture relevant background information. The use of CPA was studied. The Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire, Male Clinical Version (CSFQ-M-C) was used to measure sexual functioning of participants. The CSFQ-M-C scores, and those of all its subscales, of participants on CPA were compared to those not on the drug. Relevant statistical analyses were performed.

Results: Thirteen out of the 76 participants were being treated with CPA (17.11%). In total, 53.85% of the participants on CPA and 65.08% not on CPA had scores indicating the presence of sexual dysfunction. The total CSFQ-M-C scores for participants on CPA (mean = 40.54; median = 42) were not statistically significantly lower than those not on the drug (mean = 41.22; median = 41). More notable is that the use of CPA in this population was associated with lower levels of desire, frequency of and pleasure from sexual activity. There was an association between having intellectual disability and being treated with CPA.

Conclusion: That all the participants were being treated with psychotropic medication could account for the high percentage of sexual dysfunction in any or all areas of sexual functioning and contribute to the small difference in CSFQ-M-C scores between the two groups. Only a tentative conclusion can be made that CPA may be more effective in decreasing levels of desire, frequency and pleasure related to sexual activity than other areas of sexual functioning. The indication for the use of CPA in this population should be assessed clinically according to patient circumstances and risk assessment.


Cyproterone acetate; sexual activity; sexual functioning


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