Drugs and Erectile Dysfunction

Let me give you yet another reason to stay healthy:  drugs can kill your sex life and lead to erectile dysfunction.  Of course, it's common sense and common knowledge that most illegal drugs can be erection killers. Barbituates, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and almost all drugs can take take your penis right out of action.  The drugs of "polite society", including moderate to heavy drinking and cigarrette smoking, can do the same as well.

What is not as well known is the fact that many commonly prescribed pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs are just as potent, or should I say impotent, to your erectile strength. 

One example important example, which I cover below, are anti-depressants:  researcher now estimate that 10% of the U.S. population is now using antidepressants during any given year. That is almost double the usage of a decade ago. This is a huge swath of the American public and is undoubtedly representative of other countires as well.  And what many users of anti-depressants don't realize is that they can affect erectile function and, therefore, is critical to monitor and work with your doctor regarding.

Again, the effect of drugs on erectile function is another reason to stay healthy:  a lot of these drugs are prescribed because of decades of abuse from metabolic disorder, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and other issues that result from not following the underlying principles on this web site.  In other words, after decades of abuse, one has to go to the doctor out of desperation only to find that the prescribed medications have led them down the path of erectile dysfunction. 

In other words, most drugs today are about as gentle as a Daisy Cutter and, while they do help you survive very serious underlying conditions, they very often take out your sex life as collateral damage.  There's no free lunch in the world of pharma one might say.

Let me give some of the most prominent examples:

1.  Antihypertensives.  If you let your arteries clog and your Nitric Oxide production wane, you'll end up with High Blood Pressure.  Because High Blood Pressure is deadly and is a leading cause of stroke, erectile dysfunction and many other ills, you doctor will almost immediately put you on various medications to lower your blood pressure.  You should be aware that many of these have a history of erectile dysfunction as a side effect.  In other words, the cure may take out your sex life.  Please read my link on Blood Pressure and see what you can right now.

2. Estrogen and Chemotherapy.  It is not too suprising that either one of these would take out your sex life.  Of course, if you have cancer, erectile dysfunction is probably the least of your worries, but just realize that these agents can directly affect the penis.  To protect yourself, please read my link on Prostate Cancer and Broad-Based Cancer Protection.

3. NSAIDsBe very careful with pain-killing drugs such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, etc.  Several studies have linked these with decreased Nitric Oxide output, which is bad news for all males, especially those trying to improve existing erectile dysfunction.   If you're a significant NSAID user, you may be able to improve your erectile dysfunction simply by laying off of this drug class.  For example, one Finnish study found that heavy users of NSAIDs to have a doubled rate of erectile dysfunction compared to nonusers. [2] They are also notorious for causing serious gastrointestinal issues.  Estimates are that between 15-30% of regular users have ulcers and between 3,000 and 25,000 will die from sudden blood loss. They are also extemely hard on the stomach by the way.  Most men that take these regularly do so because of autoimmune issues, i.e. arthritis, and I highly recommend that you read my link on Inflammation and Immunity. Lowering Inflammation and Boosting Immunity will take care or ameliorate most of these auto-immune related diseases. So, again, if you develop an auto-immune or inflammatory condition, your doctor will immediately put you on medications that may drastically effect your sex life.  It is obviously much, much better to avoid that sitution in the first place.  NOTE:  Almost all the opiate and narcotic painkillers can also kill your erections.

4. Antihistamines.  Many antihistamines can have a side effect of erectile dysfunction.  Again, as with many NSAID-related issues, allergic responses can often be dramatically helped through Lowering Inflammation and Boosting Immunity.

5. Heart Medications.  Again, years of tough living can wreak havoc on your heart and the medications that doctors will prescribe can lead to erectile dysfunction.  Lipid-lowering drugs, Norpace (anti-arrythmia), Norflex (discomfort aid) and so on can all aggravate or initiate impotence.

6. Antidepressants.  Antidepressants are a common cause of sexual dysfunction for both males and females. However, there is one potential solution:  Gingko Biloba.  See my link on Gingko Biloba and Antidepressants for more details.

7. CAUTION:  Many more "neutral" types of medications can also have a side effect of impotence including various drugs for nausea and GI problems (Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid, etc.), anti-psychotics, anti-depressants and so on. 

For a more detailed listing of medications that can effect your erections, see this Medline List of Erectile Dysfunction-Related Drugs.


1) Consumer Reports on Health, Oct. 2006

2) Journal of Urology 2006,175:1812-1816