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September 18, 1981

Prolactin and Sexual Function

Author Affiliations

Yale University School of Medicine West Haven Veterans Administration Medical Center West Haven, Conn

JAMA. 1981;246(12):1300. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320120012008

To the Editor.—  The letter by Ambrosi et al (1980;244:2608) emphasizes the role of hyperprolactinemia in sexual disturbances in men. We became interested in this association because of the frequent occurrence of impotence in hypertensive patients receiving methyldopa therapy.1 Since methyldopa can raise the serum prolactin level,2 we investigated the possibility that this is the mechanism through which this drug interferes with sexual function.Twelve patients in the hypertension clinic taking only a thiazide diuretic and methyldopa for blood pressure control agreed to participate in a study that included a simple questionnaire regarding the occurrence and degree of potency problems, a personal interview, and the obtaining of a morning serum prolactin sample. Patients with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, long-term alcohol abuse, and previous psychiatric illness were excluded, as were those taking other drugs known to be associated with impotence. Prolactin level was determined by radioimmunoassay, with normal values