Sexual dysfunction affects an estimated 43% of women and 31% of men, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While a common assumption is that these conditions are exclusively caused by an imbalance of hormones like testosterone and estrogen, sexual dysfunction can also be the result of a wide range of physical and medical conditions. These include diabetes, heart disease, various neurological disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse or misuse. Sexual dysfunction can also be the result of medication, stress, anxiety, relationship problems, past trauma, and concerns over body image or sexual performance.



Sexual dysfunction in women can be influenced by a variety of factors, including certain medications. It’s important to approach this topic with an understanding that each individual’s experience with medication can vary. Here’s a general overview of some medication categories known to potentially cause sexual dysfunction in women:

  • Antidepressants: Particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These can affect sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm. Examples include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
  • Antihypertensive medications: Blood pressure medications, especially beta-blockers (like atenolol and propranolol) and diuretics, can decrease libido and arousal by lowering blood flow or affecting hormonal balance.
  •  Oral contraceptives: Birth control pills can impact sexual function by altering hormone levels, potentially affecting libido and vaginal lubrication.
  • Antipsychotics: Used to treat conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, some antipsychotic drugs can affect sexual desire and performance due to their impact on dopamine, a neurotransmitter related to pleasure and reward.
  • Benzodiazepines: Medications used for anxiety, such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), can decrease sexual desire and arousal.
  • Anticonvulsants: Some medications used to treat epilepsy and other conditions, like carbamazepine (Tegretol) and phenobarbital, can have side effects that include sexual dysfunction.
  • Opioids: Long-term use of opioid pain relievers can lead to decreased libido, difficulty with arousal, and other forms of sexual dysfunction.
  • Hormonal treatments: Medications that affect hormone levels, such as tamoxifen (used in breast cancer treatment) and aromatase inhibitors, can impact sexual function.

It’s crucial for anyone experiencing sexual dysfunction to consult with their healthcare provider. Adjusting the medication dose, switching to a different medication, or incorporating strategies to manage side effects can help mitigate these issues. Always approach medication changes under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure safety and effectiveness.


Remember, sexual health is an important aspect of overall well-being, and there are many approaches to managing and treating sexual dysfunction, including lifestyle changes, counseling, and medical interventions. If you’re experiencing these side effects, don’t hesitate to seek support and explore your options.

Dr. Mia Chorney

Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer TPT Inc.