Erectile dysfunction and adherence to antihypertensive therapy: Focus on β-blockers


      • Poor adherence to antihypertensive therapy is a major problem.
      • Drug-induced erectile dysfunction contributes to poor adherence.
      • Beta blockers are associated with erectile dysfunction.
      • Nebivolol is devoid of the detrimental effects on erectile function.


      The management of arterial hypertension is very challenging in everyday clinical practice. Blood pressure control rates remain disappointingly low, despite intense efforts. Poor adherence to antihypertensive treatment is among the main causes of inadequate blood pressure control. Among the various parameters leading to poor adherence, medication adverse events seem to be the prevailing cause of treatment discontinuation. Β-blockers are a class of drugs commonly used in the management of hypertension. However, β-blockers use has been associated with various adverse events, among which, erectile dysfunction is a prevalent one. Accumulating evidence supports the detrimental role of β-blockers on erectile function. Older studies have shown contradictory findings, which however may be attributed to methodological errors related with the assessment of erectile function. More recent studies, however, unveiled the negative impact of this drug category on erectile function. Nevertheless, β-blockers represent a class of drugs with substantial within class heterogeneity. Nebivolol presents a unique mode of action through enhanced nitric oxide bioavailability that may be associated with benefits on erectile function. Indeed, studies of nebivolol have shown improvement in erectile function, suggesting that nebivolol represents the only exception in this class of drugs in terms of erectile function.


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