The effects of drugs on erectile dysfunction

Erectile function is influenced by complex processes that include the interaction between hormonal factors, psychological aspects, cardiovascular and nervous systems. The use of different drugs can affect the interaction of these systems and have negative effects on erectile function.

Drugs are increasingly often used for the prevention or treatment of diseases. In the modern world, it is hard to find a man, who had never been sick and did not take any drugs. Therefore, many of them ask the question - Can the use of drugs cause erectile dysfunction and, if so, which ones?

Brief summary

As it is known, there are no drugs in the world that would be intended to impair sexual function in men. Undesirable effects of drugs on erectile function are classified as side effects. It should be noted that when the package inserts contain notes on the fact that the drug causes problems with libido or erectile dysfunction, it does not mean that these side effects will manifest in every man.

Such side effect, as erectile dysfunction is indicated in package inserts of hundreds of drugs. The main groups of such pharmaceutical drugs will be discussed in this brief review. Additional information will help predict, whether a disease treatment can cause erectile dysfunction.

The drugs effectiveness is dependent on the accuracy and duration of their use. If there is a risk of sexual function decline, it is preferable to use drugs:

  • Intended for short-term disease treatment
  • That may have short-term effects on the reproductive system

Erectile dysfunction is a multifactorial disorder with social, biological and psychological consequences. Medical causes of erectile dysfunction are often not the only cause of such violations. Therefore, it is important for men to remember that the treatment or prevention of erectile problems requires a comprehensive approach.

Another important aspect should be also noted. A man should not be afraid to discuss erection problems or other side effects with healthcare professionals. This undesirable effect is not only possible to be predicted, but is also easy to be removed.

Usually, the effects of drugs on erectile function are centralized, causing sedation, hormonal disorders or reduced libido. It should be noted that the effect of sedation sometimes increases libido. Drugs, affecting the internal glands functions, may have a negative impact on ejaculation and orgasm.

Antihypertensive drugs

Beta blockers have been used many years to treat high blood pressure. Usually, the negative effects of antihypertensive drugs and the risks of erectile dysfunction are associated due to the influence on the endocrine glands activity.

The good news is that vasodilators and angiotensin-2 receptor antagonists do not cause such side effect, as erectile dysfunction. Drugs of these pharmaceutical groups extend the walls of blood vessels and increase blood flow (Viagra has similar properties).

Abuse of such drugs, as the ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers or different types of diuretics negatively affect the sexual vigor. If these drugs can not be replaced by the other, t is essential to respect the optimal dosing regimen and not to exceed the recommended duration of use.


Drugs of this type are widely known for their effect on the ability of men to achieve an erection. Antidepressants inhibit noradrenergic and dopaminergic transmission. It is generally known that, for example, the dopamine neurotransmitter (happiness hormone) is produced in large quantities during sexual activity.

Depression itself can lead to sexual problems. So, before you start taking antidepressants, it is useful to know more about the side effects of these drugs. Men with mild erectile dysfunction should be cautious in taking such antidepressants, as:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Antidepressants Venlafaxine, Reboxetine, Mirtazepine, Trazodone and Duloxetine are less likely to cause such side effect, as erectile dysfunction.

Drug addiction and drug dependence negatively affects the operation of all organs and body systems. Many men casually abuse antidepressants and underestimate the complexity of the problem.

Antipsychotics (neuroleptics)

Antipsychotics are used for the treatment of mental illness, including severe ones, like schizophrenia. It often happens that antipsychotics can not be replaced by other drugs and, therefore, their use may be inevitable.

The list of neuroleptic drugs side effects includes erectile dysfunction, but it is not their most severe side effect. Most mental diseases require prompt treatment, irrespective of the side effects risk.

Antipsychotics affect the erectile function through hormonal mechanisms. Aliphatic Phenothiazines, Risperidone, Thioridazine and Sulpiride often cause sexual or reproductive dysfunction. While Quetiapine, Aripiprazole and Olanzapine are considered safer for men.

Drug for the prostate treatment

Men with various prostate diseases often have problems in achieving and maintaining an erection. Therefore, a successful treatment of prostate compensates for such a side-effect of these drugs, as erectile dysfunction.

Drugs (e.g., Alpha blockers), used for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, can cause problems with ejaculation. Drugs, affecting the suppression of sex hormones production (for example, Goserelin and Leuprorelin) worsen the effects of testosterone, thereby causing decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.

Some substances in small doses can lead to an increase in sexual desire, but the intoxication causes erection problems. The list of drugs, variously affecting erectile function, includes anti-parkinsonian, recreational, amphetamine, crystal methamphetamine, and alcohol.