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The greater the drop in cholesterol from taking statin drugs, the more sexual pleasure is reduced, suggests a study due Friday at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting in Chicago.
This may be the first research to pit statins against placebos to see how the blockbuster statins affect the ability to have orgasms. Statins generated about $13.1 billion in sales last year, according to IMS Health.
Statins are valuable drugs that save lives, says Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, who was not involved in the study.
“But most doctors who prescribe them don’t even ask about sexual function,” she says, “and patients don’t tend to spontaneously talk about it.
“The findings should spur doctors to ask patients routinely about changes in sexual pleasure, says Mosca, because those with problems may want to try another statin or drop the medications. The six-month, government-funded study involved more than 1,000 adults with high LDL — the bad cholesterol — but no heart disease.
Participants were randomly selected to take either statins or a placebo. In the study, sexual pleasure sank along with LDL levels, says study leader Beatrice Golomb of the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine.Patients who took simvastatin, or Zocor, had the biggest LDL drop, but men rated their sexual pleasure as sinking by nearly half over the study period. Women were