Medications and their Effects on Female Sexual Health

Medications and their Effects on Female Sexual Health

There are more than a few pharmacological medications that can lead to sexual dysfunction disorders in females.  Some of the more common medicines include antiandrogens, antidepressants and antihypertensives.  When a woman is prescribed any type of medication, it is imperative to ask the physician about the possible sexual side effects that may occur.

In addition to medications, substance abuse greatly influences a woman’s ability to become sexually aroused.  While many people report that they enjoy enhanced sexual function while abusing drugs or alcohol, their partners tend to report the opposite.

Medications that commonly decrease a woman’s sexual desire include any of the following:

  • Sertraline
  • Fluoxetine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Imipramine
  • Alprazolam
  • Lithium
  • Fluphenazine
  • Risperidone
  • Methyldopa
  • Clonidine
  • Cimetidine

Drugs which generally lead to a decrease in arousal include:

  • Disulfiram
  • Agonists
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Clonidine
  • Digoxin
  • Beta blockers
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Doxepin
  • Phenelzine
  • Citalopram

The following drugs negatively influence a woman’s ability to have an orgasm:

  • Fluvoxamine
  • Citalopram
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Alprazolam
  • Haloperidol

Women who  have hypertension are much more likely (42%) to suffer from one or more sexual dysfunctions than women who are normotensive (19%).  There have been few studies on the sexual effects that antihypertensives have on women, however, it is believed that the effects are similar to those that men endure.  Out of the studies that have been conducted, 41% of women state they have reduced sexual desire, while 34% report a decrease in sexual pleasure.  In a randomized trial, it was also found that alpha adrenergic drugs — clonidine and prazosin — decrease both arousal and desire in women.

Sildenafil is renowned for improving sexual function in women who are enduring issues due to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  For those who are taking antihypertensives, it is highly suggested to switch to an alternative drug, such as ACE inhibitors.  Some studies have even concluded that angiotensin II receptor antagonists have the ability to enhance sexual function.

For women who have atrophic vaginitis and dyspareunia, oestrogen cream is suggested.  And for those who receive injectable progesterone and have sexual dysfunction, it is wise to switch to an alternative form of contraceptive.

If you’re taking any type of medication, it’s imperative to understand that they may be the culprit of any sexual dysfunction disorders that you’re experiencing.  The medications may need to be altered or replaced, or in some instances, you may find that taking the medications during a different time of the day or night (if okayed by your physician) will fix the sexual issues you are facing.


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