If you have been struggling with erectile dysfunction, there is a chance the problem may not lie with your health but with the medications you may be taking.
There are many common prescription medications with side effects that may affect your ability to get and maintain an erection.
These medications may not explicitly state this side effect because they are affecting either your nervous system, hormones or blood flow.
If you have tried everything from Viagra to changing your diet and sexual counseling and still have not seen results, then this may point to the culprit being in the medicine cabinet.
Some of the most common types of medications that cause ED include:
These commonly prescribed medications often affect sexual function in several different ways depending on the specific action of the drug in question.
Dopamine and serotonin are critical in the healthy erectile response, so any impact on the metabolism of these essential processes of chemicals can increase the risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction. Antidepressants directly affect the receptors of both of these chemicals and can make it harder to experience the sensations and associated erectile response that happens during sex.
It is not clear why these blood-pressure-lowering medications can cause ED, but research has consistently shown that patients who experience ED after beginning beta blockers experience relief once they quit taking the drug.
Unfortunately, however, patients typically can’t get off of these due to how critical they are for those who need them, but if the medication can be switched for another blood pressure drug, angiotensin receptor blockers or ACE inhibitors are options that do not result in ED as often.
Often prescribed to treat prostate cancer, these medications can cause ED and decreased libido along with many other side effects. They do this by blocking the action of hormones, or androgens, such as testosterone and others that initially help to stimulate the erectile response. It typically takes months to see the full impact of these medications, and often they cannot be interrupted once the treatment regimen has begun.
Androgen blockers can sometimes be prescribed for recurrent long-lasting erections — a condition called priapism — which shows how they can kill an erection.
This medication is sold under the brand names Propecia and Proscar and is used to treat male hair loss.
It works by diminishing dihydrotestosterone levels which then suppresses libido and the ability to become aroused during sensual moments. Dihydrotestosterone, as the name implies, is part of the testosterone family.
When it is overly activated to help stimulate hair regeneration, the metabolism of testosterone can be adversely affected and less able to help contribute to the erectile response.
Sedatives and Anxiolytics
These types of medications are in a class called “downers.”
They help to lower the activity of most bodily processes, including the ability to become adequately aroused.
Anything that depresses nerves such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, alcohol, Neurontin, or any of the sleep aids often impact erectile function because blood flow will not reach the groin in sufficient amounts. The effect is reversible and is most likely caused by direct suppression of nerve signals and the suppression of hormonal signaling. The use of narcotics can also trigger testosterone suppression, which can alter blood flow to the penis.
If you are taking any of these medications and are struggling with ED, contact your doctor to see your options. The professionals here at HealthGAINS are here to help you reach sexual wellness, and in combination with our revolutionary pulsed wave treatments, you can reverse the damage your medications may have caused and get back to living your best life.