Potential benefits of the use of sympathomimetics for asthmatic disease, on semen quality in men of subfertile couples

Published:December 21, 2019DOI:


      Research question

      Is there an association between the use of sympathomimetics for asthmatic disease and semen quality in humans?


      Between 2007 and 2012 a prospective cohort study was conducted among couples visiting the preconception counselling clinic at a tertiary hospital in the Netherlands. The study included 882 men of subfertile couples and information on medication use was obtained from self-administered questionnaires. Moreover, data on semen parameters were retrieved from medical records.


      The study population of men revealed a mean (± SD) age of 34 ± 4 years with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 26.1 ± 2.3 kg/m2, and sympathomimetic use was reported by 3.6%. The use of sympathomimetics was positively associated with a 10% higher sperm motility (beta 10.265; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.258–17.272) after adjustment for smoking, alcohol use, age, geographic background, BMI, folic acid supplement use, the four astronomical seasons and asthma/bronchitis. Subgroup analysis between men with total motile sperm count (TMSC) < or ≥10 million showed that this association remained (P ≤ 0.001) after adjustment for these confounders. After adjustment for confounders the sperm concentration was also positively associated with the use of sympathomimetics, but only in men with TMSC ≥10 million (beta 0.300; 95% CI 0.032–0.568).


      These preliminary data show the potential benefits of the use of sympathomimetics to improve sperm motility in men of subfertile couples, which needs further investigation.


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      Eline Oostingh is a MD and PhD candidate of the Periconception Epidemiology Group as part of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She focuses on maternal and paternal periconception research and health intervention.
      Key message
      In this study, the use of sympathomimetics was positively associated with sperm motility in men of subfertile couples. Further investigation is necessary to test whether men of subfertile couples could benefit from this potential second use of sympathomimetics.