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Effect of Antihypertensives on Sexual Function and Quality of Life: The TAIM Study

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD; M. Donald Blaufox, MD, PhD; Albert Oberman, MD; Barry R. Davis, MD, PhD; Charles Swencionis, PhD; Maura O'Connell Knerr, MS; C. Morton Hawkins, ScD; and Herbert G. Langford, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant Support: In part by grants #HL 30171, HL 24369, HL 30163, and HL 40072 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Requests for Reprints: Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Wassertheil-Smoller and Swencionis: Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461.

Dr. Blaufox: Department of Nuclear Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461.

Dr. Oberman: Division of General and Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294.

Dr. Hawkins and Ms. Knerr: The Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX 77030.

Dr. Langford is deceased.


for the TAIM Research Group


©1991 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(8):613-620. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-114-8-613
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Objective: To evaluate treatment of mild hypertension using combinations of diet and low-dose pharmacologic therapies.

Design: Multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Setting: Three university-based tertiary care centers.

Patients: Patients (697) 21 to 65 years of age with diastolic blood pressure between 90 and 100 mm Hg as well as weight between 110% and 160% of ideal weight.

Intervention: Patients were stratified by clinical center and race and were randomly assigned to one of three diets (usual, low-sodium and high-potassium, weight loss) and one of three agents (placebo, chlorthalidone, and atenolol).

Measurements: Changes in measures of sexual problems, distress, and well-being after 6 months of therapy were analyzed.

Main Results: Low-dose chlorthalidone and atenolol produced few side effects, except in men. Erection-related problems worsened in 28% (95% CI, 15% to 41%) of men receiving chlorthalidone and usual diet compared with 3% (CI, 0% to 9%) of those receiving placebo and usual diet (P = 0.009) and 11% (CI, 2% to 20%) of those receiving atenolol and usual diet (P > 0.05). The weight loss diet ameliorated this effect. The low-sodium diet with placebo was associated with greater fatigue (34%; CI, 23% to 45%) than was either usual diet (18%; CI, 10% to 27%; P = 0.04) or weight reduction (15%; CI, 7% to 23%; P = 0.009). The low-sodium diet with chlorthalidone increased problems with sleep (32%; CI, 22% to 42%) compared with chlorthalidone and usual diet (16%; CI, 8% to 24%; P = 0.04). The weight loss diet benefited quality of life most, reducing total physical complaints (P < 0.001) and increasing satisfaction with health (P < 0.001). Total physical complaints decreased in 57% to 76% of patients depending on drug and diet group, and were markedly decreased by weight loss.

Conclusion: In general, low-dose antihypertensive drug therapy (with chlorthalidone or atenolol) improves rather than impairs the quality of life; however, chlorthalidone with usual diet increases sexual problems in men.

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