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Cent Afr J Med. 1995 Oct;41(10):312-5.

Zinc, hydrochlorothiazide and sexual dysfunction.

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  • 1Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Natal Medical School, Durban, South Africa.

Abstract

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that hydrochlorothiazide a diuretic used to treat hypertension depletes body zinc and thereby cause sexual dysfunction. Serum zinc and sexual dysfunction were measured in 39 middle aged hypertensive men who had been taking hydrochlorothiazide in average daily doses of between 25 and 50 mg daily for at least six months, and a control group of 27 unmedicated middle aged normotensive men. The medicated group had a higher incidence of sexual dysfunction (56 pc) as compared to 11 pc in the control group. The use of hydrochlorothiazide did affect serum zinc levels significantly in 20 patients. Sexual dysfunction occurred more often in older and overweight patients (p < 0.004). Three of the normotensive men experienced sexual dysfunction probably related to old age. Twenty two of the 39 on hydrochlorothiazide and experiencing sexual dysfunction were divided into two groups of 11 patients. Bloods were taken from the 27 normotensive and 22 hypertensive men receiving hydrochlorothiazide for the analyses of zinc. Subsequently one group of the patients were supplemented with zinc 500 mg daily for 30 days while the other group was supplemented with magnesium chloride 1 g daily for 30 days. The normotensive men were not treated. After 30 days, bloods were again taken from the three groups of analyses for zinc and magnesium. Serum zinc was significantly decreased (p < 0.05) by hydrochlorothiazide and a non significant decrease in serum magnesium (p = ns) was observed. After supplementation with zinc, the serum zinc levels returned to normal only in eight patients. There was improvement in the symptoms of sexual dysfunction in five patients. Two patients gained weight. Hydrochlorothiazide decreased serum zinc levels (p < 0.05) and was unchanged with magnesium supplementation but the serum magnesium returned to normal values. Improvement of symptoms of sexual dysfunction was positive in one patient. This study shows that low serum zinc levels may be associated with sexual dysfunction but the definitive role of zinc in the pathogenesis of sexual dysfunction will remain controversial.

PMID:
8556776
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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