Aims: Erectile dysfunction is a major problem with an increasing prevalence in cardiovascular high-risk patients due to its association with cardiovascular risk factors. Drugs used for evidence-based treatment of cardiovascular diseases have been reported to decrease erectile function, but possible mechanisms are poorly characterised.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Registry search were performed including manuscripts until January 2010. Searching terms are: 'erectile dysfunction or impotence' in combination with 'ACE-inhibitors', 'angiotensin', 'beta-blockers', 'calcium antagonist' and 'diuretics'. Animal studies, letters, reviews, case-reports and manuscripts other than English language and trials dealing with combination treatment are excluded.
Results: Analysis of literature revealed five epidemiological trials evaluating the effect of different cardiovascular drugs on erectile function. There were eight trials evaluating the effect of beta-blockers, five trials evaluating the effect of ace-inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor-blockers and one trial evaluating the effect of diuretics on erectile function. Results of these trials demonstrate that only thiazide diuretics and beta-blockers except nebivolol may adversely influence erectile function. ACE-inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor-blockers and calcium-channel-blockers are reported to have no relevant or even a positive effect on erectile function.
Conclusion: Inappropriate patients' concerns about adverse effects of cardiovascular drugs on erectile function might limit the use of important medications in cardiovascular high-risk patients. Knowledge about the effects of drug-treatments on erectile function and about the major role of the endothelium in penile function might improve patients' adherence to evidence based treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.