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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2016 May;21(3):233-44. doi: 10.1177/1074248415598321. Epub 2015 Oct 7.

Antihypertensive Drugs and Male Sexual Dysfunction: A Review of Adult Hypertension Guideline Recommendations.

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Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, College of Medicine & Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, College of Medicine & Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar.
Primary Care, Ministry of Health, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.



Published clinical practice guidelines have addressed antihypertensive therapy and sexual dysfunction (SD) in many different ways.


In this systematic review, we evaluated guidelines that address antihypertensive drug-associated SD, guideline recommendations, and recent guideline trends.


Thirty sets of guidelines for hypertension management in adults that had been published in the English language since 2000 were reviewed. The primary outcome measure was antihypertensive-associated SD potential, which was independently evaluated using specific questions by 2 authors in a nonblinded standardized manner.


Sexual dysfunctions associated with thiazide-class diuretics, β-blockers, and centrally acting sympathoplegics were addressed by half of the guidelines reviewed. There is no clarity on β-blockers and thiazide-class diuretics because one-third of the guidelines are vague about individual β-blockers and diuretics, and there is no statement on third-generation β-blockers and thiazide-like diuretics that can improve erectile function. The revised guidelines never use terms such as loss of libido, ejaculatory dysfunction, lack of orgasm, and priapism. Summary versions of guidelines are inadequate to reflect the key interpretation of the primary guidelines on SD associated with antihypertensives, even in the major guidelines that were updated recently. Therapeutic issues such as exploring SD in clinical history, assessing SD prior to and during treatment with antihypertensives, substituting the offending agents with alternatives that possess a better safety profile, intervening with phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, and avoiding the concomitant use of nitrovasodilators are superficially addressed by most guidelines, with the exception of 2013 European Society of Hypertension/European Society of Cardiology and Seventh Joint National Committee recommendations.


Future guideline revisions, including both full and summary reports, should provide a balanced perspective on antihypertensive-related SD issues to improve the impact of hypertension treatment guidelines on patient care and quality of life.


adult male; antihypertensive drugs; guidelines; hypertension; revisions; sexual dysfunctions; treatment

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