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Sexual dysfunction related to antihypertensive agents: results from the animal model


The present investigation elucidates the deleterious effects of three prototypical antihypertensive drugs namely, propranolol, clonidine and captopril on the erectile physiology. In order to delineate the direct drug effects from vascular insufficiency inherent in hypertensive states, the study was conducted on a normotensive animal model. The adverse effects of these drugs were estimated as changes in sexual behaviour and intracavernous pressure response to electrical stimulation in the treated rats compared to normal age-matched controls (n=10, each group). Copulation studies indicated significant impairment of sexual function in the groups on propranolol and clonidine. The cavernous pressure response to nerve stimulation at the end of sixteen weeks further reinforced the gross compromise on sexual function in these two treated groups. In contrast, the captopril administration produced only marginal alterations to the responses recorded. The results from this study clearly indicate that propranolol and clonidine interfere with sexual behaviour and nerve mediated response to erection whereas captopril which is devoid of significant effects on these parameters, may be a better therapeutic option.

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Srilatha, B., Adaikan, P., Arulkumaran, S. et al. Sexual dysfunction related to antihypertensive agents: results from the animal model. Int J Impot Res 11, 107–113 (1999).

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  • antihypertensive drugs
  • erectile dysfunction
  • sexual behaviour
  • cavernous nerve stimulation
  • intracavernous pressure

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