Drug Safety

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 225–234 | Cite as

Sexual Function in Women

Do Antihypertensive Drugs Have an Impact?
  • Laurie Duncan
  • D. Nicholas Bateman
Review Article Drug Experience


Drug-induced sexual dysfunction is well known to occur with antihypertensive drugs in men. There are much less data on the effects of drugs on female sexual function.

The physiology of the female sexual response has similarities to that of the male sexual response and there are therefore good reasons for suspecting that antihypertensive drugs are likely to adversely affect sexual function in women. Present evidence suggests that clonidine, methyldopa, guanethidine and reserpine are associated with adverse effects on sexual function. In healthy volunteers, labetalol appears to reduce vaginal lubrication, but there are no studies in patients receiving the drug therapeutically. Thiazide diuretics may be associated with the worsening of sexual problems, which interestingly appear to be ameliorated by weight reduction. Present evidence on the effects of vasodilators is limited but the evidence suggests that sexual function in women receiving calcium antagonists is not altered by changing to an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.

Although present evidence suggests that effects on female sexual function may not be very great, it should be recognised that there are very few data in this area. Further work is clearly necessary.


Sexual Function Antihypertensive Drug Sexual Dysfunction Labetalol Sexual Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Duncan
    • 1
  • D. Nicholas Bateman
    • 1
  1. 1.Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre, Wolfson UnitClaremont PlaceNewcastle upon TyneEngland

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