Friday, October 2, 2009

Pharmacologic treatment of sex offenders

Bradley D. Booth, MD, Assistant professor, Department of psychiatry, Director of education, Integrated Forensics Program, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Sex offenders traditionally are managed by the criminal justice system, but psychiatrists are frequently called on to assess and treat these individuals. Part of the reason is the overlap of paraphilias (disorders of sexual preference) and sexual offending. Many sexual offenders do not meet DSM criteria for paraphilias, however, and individuals with paraphilias do not necessarily commit offenses or come into contact with the legal system.

As clinicians, we may need to assess and treat a wide range of sexual issues, from persons with paraphilias who are self-referred and have no legal involvement, to recurrent sexual offenders who are at a high risk of repeat offending. Successfully managing sex offenders includes psychological and pharmacologic interventions and possibly incarceration and post-incarceration surveillance. This article focuses on pharmacologic interventions for male sexual offenders.

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