Medication use and predictors of sexual activity in men and women with CVD

J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2016 Feb;28(2):91-7. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12253. Epub 2015 Apr 4.


Purpose: To examine the influence of cardiac and noncardiac medications on sexual activity by drug classification and generation of the drug, among men and women with cardiovascular disease.

Data sources: This study was a subanalysis (n = 224) of survey data from a cross-sectional sample of 336 cardiac patients. Self-reported medications were categorized by generic drug name, classification, and subclass and/or generation of the drug. Sexual activity was the presence or absence of current sexual activity in the last 2 months.

Conclusions: Patients taking generation one beta blockers, particularly men; diuretics as a class; and loop diuretics, were significantly less likely to be sexually active, with diuretics negatively influencing sexual activity in women, but not men. Certain antidepressant medications positively influenced sexual function, particularly for women. Nearly 20% of the variances in sexual activity were explained by younger age, fewer number of medications, higher education, and having a sexual partner.

Implications for practice: A new finding meriting further study was that loop diuretics negatively impacted sexual activity, particularly for women; and further studies of women overall are clearly needed. Advance practice nurses play an important role in evaluating medications, proactively choosing drugs within a class or subclass less likely to cause sexual problems, and in promoting sexual quality of life of cardiac patients.

Keywords: Sexual intimacy; cardiovascular disease; medications; sexual health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires