Drugs That Induce Erectile Dysfunction
It is a known fact that prescription drugs are associated with an increased risk of developing numerous side effects. Some are common and resolve spontaneously without any treatment such as, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and headache. However, some side effects can be more serious and long term. For instance, erectile or sexual dysfunction.
According to latest estimates, approximately 30 million men suffer from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction (ED) across United States, says Department of Health and Human Services. Although, not every man develops drug induced ED with some drugs, but it is highly recommended to learn about some commonly prescribed drugs that may cause potential side effects such as erectile dysfunction.
Depression is one of the most common predisposing factor that may present with erectile dysfunction. Paradoxically, medicines given to treat depression may also induce ED. Antidepressant is a huge class of drugs that is further divided into various classes, SSRIs is one of them. As per Medscape, historically 60% of all the men who take SSRIs, develops ED. Though exact mechanism behind this side effect is unclear but, researchers suggest that the influence of these drugs on the functioning of neurotransmitters like, serotonin, nor epinephrine, and dopamine could explain the hazardous effects on sexual dysfunction. Drugs that comes under SSRIs are Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc.
Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed drugs for the management of anxiety, insomnia and seizures. This class of drug is also known to induce ED. Xanax, Ativan, Librium and valium are some drugs that are prescribed to reduce anxiety.Unfortunately, they also reduce libido in men.
Benadryl, the go to drug for relief of allergy symptoms can also cause ED. Other antihistamines like Dramamine (
also indicated for the management of allergies) can also induce ED as well. One explanation behind its mechanism can be changing the way how nervous system responds to a stimulus near penis. Fortunately, antihistamine produced temporary ED which subsides upon termination of its use.
H2 blockers aka H2 receptor antagonist consist of popular antacids; such as, Zantac and Pepcid. These drugs may cause ED when given in relatively higher doses. In addition to ED, H2 blockers may also lower the sperm count.
Beta blockers are prescribed for treating high blood pressure. Some of these may cause ED. Such drugs include, Tenormin, Lopressor, Cogard, and Sectral. Like antidepressants, these drugs also interfere with functioning of neurotransmitters, especially epinephrine/adrenaline. They inhibit the stimulatory effects of adrenaline, lowering one’s excitement. On the other hand, some evidences indicate that beta blockers affect areas of nervous system that induce erections in men.
Despite these drugs are not so friendly towards sexual health but, some of them are essential to be prescribed. Considering the risk-benefit ratio, your doctor might continue with these medicines or prescribe an alternative. Sometimes taking supplements or lowering dose may be helpful in regaining sexual health.
- Gareri, P., Castagna, A., Francomano, D., Cerminara, G., & De Fazio, P. (2014). Erectile dysfunction in the elderly: an old widespread issue with novel treatment perspectives. International journal of endocrinology, 2014.
- Conaglen, H. M., & Conaglen, J. V. (2013). Drug-induced sexual dysfunction in men and women. Issues, 1.