A review of the positive and negative effects of cardiovascular drugs on sexual function: a proposed table for use in clinical practice

Neth Heart J. 2014 Jan;22(1):11-9. doi: 10.1007/s12471-013-0482-z.


Several antihypertensive drugs, such as diuretics and β-blockers, can negatively affect sexual function, leading to diminished quality of life and often to noncompliance with the therapy. Other drug classes, however, such as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are able to improve patients' sexual function. Sufficient knowledge about the effects of these widely used antihypertensive drugs will make it possible for cardiologists and general practitioners to spare and even improve patients' sexual health by switching to different classes of cardiac medication. Nevertheless, previous data (part I) indicate that most cardiologists lack knowledge about the effects cardiovascular agents can have on sexual function and will thus not be able to provide the necessary holistic patient care with regard to prescribing these drugs. To be able to improve healthcare on this point, we aimed to provide a practical overview, for use by cardiologists as well as other healthcare professionals, dealing with sexual dysfunction in their clinical practices. Therefore, a systematic review of the literature was performed. The eight most widely used classes of antihypertensive drugs have been categorised in a clear table, marking whether they have a positive, negative or no effect on sexual function.