For a study, researchers looked into how adverse drug reactions on sexual functioning (sADRs) may seriously decrease a person’s quality of life. A multitude of diseases and drugs are known risk factors for sexual dysfunction. To inform patients better about these potential effects, more insight is needed on the estimated number of patients at high risk for sADRs and their characteristics.

A cross-sectional study estimated the number of patients in the Netherlands who have dispensed drugs with a potential very high risk (>10%) or high risk (1–10%) for sADRs as registered in the Summary of Product Characteristics, the official drug information text in Europe.


In April 2019, 2.06% of the inhabitants of the Netherlands received drugs with less than 10% risk for sADRs and 7.76% with 1–10% risk. The majority of these patients had at least one additional risk factor for decreased sexual function such as high age or depression. Almost half of the patients were identified with two or more morbidities influencing sexual functioning. Paroxetine, sertraline, and spironolactone were the most dispensed drugs with a potentially more than 10% risk for sADRs. One-third of their first dispenses were not followed by a second dispense, with a higher risk of discontinuation for a decreasing number of morbidities.

About 1 in 11 inhabitants were dispensed a drug with a potentially high risk for sADRs, often with other risk factors for sexual complaints. Further research is needed on whether these users actually experience sADRs, to understand its impact on multimorbid patients, and to provide alternatives if needed.