Home > Blog > Mens Health > Understanding Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Understanding Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Are There Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

One reason erectile dysfunction becomes more common with age is that older men are more likely to be prescribed medication. In fact, an estimated 25% of all ED is a side effect of drugs, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Erectile Dysfunction: How medication, lifestyle changes, and other therapies can help you conquer this vexing problem.

Medically Induced ED

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of a number of prescription drugs. Although these medications may treat a disease or condition, they can affect a man’s hormones, nerves or blood circulation, resulting in ED or increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction. 

If you experience erectile dysfunction and think that it may be a result of the medication you are using, do not stop taking the medication, contact your doctor and he or she may be able to prescribe a different medication.

The most common drugs that cause erectile dysfunction


Why Beta Blockers Prescribed?

All blood pressure medications are used to lower the pressure inside blood vessels, so the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout the body if you have heart disease.

High blood pressure, chronic heart disease, and stroke are all treated with beta-blockers just like ACE inhibitors. Migraines are also prevented by both types of drugs. Beta-blockers, unlike ACE inhibitors, can assist treat angina (chest pain).

How Beta Blockers Cause Sexual Dysfunction? 

High blood pressure in itself may lead to sexual dysfunction, studies show that many of the drugs used to treat this condition also can cause sexual dysfunction. In men, it is the common cause of deceased blood flow can reduce desire and interfere with erections and ejaculation.

Three types of blood-pressure medications — diuretics (or “water pills”), beta-blockers and alpha-blockers — have been found to have the highest incidence of sexual side effects. Some diuretics can interfere with blood flow to the sex organs but increase the body’s excretion of zinc, which is needed to produce testosterone. And beta-blockers can disrupt a satisfying sex life,  making you feel sedated and depressed, by interfering with nerve impulses associated with arousal and by reducing testosterone levels.

Statins and fibrates

Why Statins Prescribed? 

Statins and fibrates are used to treat high cholesterol.

How Statins Cause Sexual Dysfunction?

Researchers say that by limiting the availability of cholesterol, a building block of hormones, these drugs likely interfere with the production of testosterone, estrogen and other sex hormones.  

A review of studies of statins and fibrates, published in 2002, concluded that both classes of drugs may cause erectile dysfunction (ED). And a six-month, government-funded study published in 2009 found that men and women taking statins reported increased difficulty achieving orgasm. In the study, people’s levels of sexual pleasure dropped along with their levels of LDL cholesterol.


Why Antihistamines are prescribed?

Antihistamines are prescribed for people who suffer with allergies. Antihistamines like Benadryl, Dramamine, and Phenergan can also cause erectile dysfunction. 

How Does Antihistamines Cause Sexual Dysfunction?

Antihistamines block the action of histamine, a chemical in the body that is involved in allergic reactions, but also, healthy erections.


Why Antidepressants are prescribed?

While antidepressants are typically used to treat depression, they’re also frequently prescribed for anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, chronic pain, smoking cessation and some hormone-mediated disorders, such as severe menstrual cramps.

How Does Antidepressants cause Sexual Dysfunction?

Antidepressants cause problems in all areas of sexual function, probably by blocking the action of three brain chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells: acetylcholine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Histamine H2-Receptor Antagonists

Why are H2 Receptors Prescribed?

H2 Blockers are acid reflux medication and are prescribed to people who experience chronic acid reflux, and treat gastrointestinal disorders, including gastroesophageal  gastric ulcers, peptic ulcers and erosive esophagitis.

How Does H2 Receptors Cause Sexual Dysfunction?

Certain acid reflux drugs known as H2 blockers can also affect histamine and cause erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, reduce sperm count  as well as breast enlargement in men) when taken at high doses for a long period of time.

Opioid Pain Medication

Why are Opioids Prescribed?

Can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions  

How Can Opioids Cause Sexual Dysfunction?

If you use opioids long-term, you can get low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. Examples of opioid medications are hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine.   


Why Benzodiazepines are Prescribed?

Benzodiazepine is a type of drug that is commonly known as tranquilizers, are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures.

Why Benzodiazepines Cause Sexual Dysfunction?

The sedative and muscle-relaxant properties of benzodiazepines may lessen sexual interest, excitement and sensation. Benzodiazepines may also interfere with the production of testosterone.

The sexual problems most frequently associated with benzodiazepines are diminished orgasms, pain during intercourse, ED and ejaculation problems.


Why is Propecia Prescribed? 

Propecia is a type of medicine prescribed to counteract baldness. 

How Does Propecia cause Sexual Dysfunction?

It is reported to cause ED in 1.3% of men who use it. Other medications that may trigger ED are antihistamines, anti-androgens (used to treat prostate cancer), anticholinergics (used to treat an overactive bladder, incontinence, COPD, and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease), and some anticancer drugs.


Why Antipsychotics prescribed?

Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious psychiatric conditions for their medical treatment. Antipsychotics also are often prescribed “off-label” to treat agitation and depression, among other psychological conditions.

How they can cause sexual dysfunction

All antipsychotic drugs block dopamine, a brain chemical that helps regulate emotional responses and control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. They also increase levels of the hormone prolactin, which can lead to ED, reduced libido and difficulties in having sexual arousal as well as achieving orgasm.


Why are Anticonvulsants prescribed?

Anticonvulsant drugs are typically used to control seizures in people who have a diagnosis of epilepsy. They are also used to treat some types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain and migraines, even though they weren’t designed for that purpose. Anticonvulsants are also increasingly being used “off label” in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

How they can cause sexual dysfunction

Studies have shown that these drugs can lower testosterone levels, which can depress desire and interfere with arousal (erection problems for men, lubrication problems for women). They also can impair the ability to have orgasms which can contribute to unsatisfying sexual performance.

Other Drugs that can cause Erectile Dysfunction

Aside from the well-known complications that the use and abuse of these drugs can cause, ED is not often mentioned. However, use of these drugs is a risk factor for ED. These drugs not only affect and often times slow down the central nervous system. 

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana.
  • Nicotine
  • Methadone
  • Opiates
  • Appetite suppressants (weight loss medicine)

In Summary

For example, if you have diabetes, you may need to consult with your doctor first before getting rid of some of your medication. There are many factors to consider so you don’t have to stop taking life-saving medication supplements to treat ED. Talk to your doctor to see if you can alter the medication that’s causing your Erectile Dysfunction. A frank discussion can lead to alternative medications or treatments.

If you have Erectile Dysfunction , call us for a consultation so we can carefully walk you through the treatment options best for you. Please see Our Services or call us at (916) 245-3043 to schedule an appointment!