When you go to an expert like Sexologist in Bahadurabad Karachi with the complain of erectile dysfunction, one of the first questions they ask you is what medication are you taking. Many over-the-counter and prescription medication are associated with the adverse effect of erectile dysfunction. Read on to know more about the commonly used medication that cause this sexual dysfunction:
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction refers to the difficulty in achieving or maintaining erection. While all men may periodically experience difficulty in erection, those with frequent such episodes are known to have erectile dysfunction.
Several factors influence erectile dysfunction, including: systemic disorder or a chronic illness, medication, insufficient blood flow to the penis, psychological factors like history of sexual trauma, and trauma impacting the nerves. Drug therapy accounts for about 25 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction, and is the most readily reversible cause.
Erectile dysfunction is treated with drugs that enhance sexual performance, along with lifestyle improvement like daily exercise, smoking cessation, healthy eating ,maintenance of a healthy weight, avoidance of recreational drugs, and seeking help for mental issues like anxiety, stress and depression.
5 common drugs causing erectile dysfunction
Most medication contribute to erectile dysfunction but are not the only cause of it. Thus, anyone suspecting erectile dysfunction due to medication should talk to their healthcare provider and not stop taking their medication on their own. The concerned healthcare professional would change the type of medication or switch the dosage.
The medication contributing to erectile dysfunction include:
- Antidepressants and antipsychotics
Drugs for the treatment of clinical depression may inhibit sexual desire. This in turn affects sexual performance in both men and women, compounds erectile dysfunction, delays ejaculation and causes anorgasmia. These effects are seen in both antidepressants as well as antipsychotics.
Examples of antidepressants that cause erectile dysfunction include: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac or Lexapro, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Examples of antipsychotics associated with erectile dysfunction include: aripiprazole, risperidone and olanzapine.
Antipsychotics and antidepressants should not be stopped without the say-so of the healthcare provider. Suddenly stopping these medications cause many systemic adverse effects like severe nausea and vomiting and hypotension.
Immunosuppressants are drugs used for attenuating the response of the immune system particularly for autoimmune disorders and organ rejection following organ transplant. Immunosuppressant drugs are also given in certain types of cancers. One of the side effects of these drugs is impaired sexual function.
Drugs commonly associated with erectile dysfunction include: tacrolimus, cyclosporine, everolimus and sirolimus.
The exogenous steroids that mimic the hormones inside the body are called corticosteroid drugs. Corticosteroids are used widely in the management of a number of diseases, including immune suppression, allergic reaction, mediating inflammatory response, asthma and more recently, management of covid-19. Because sex hormones are also steroidal hormones, taking exogenous corticosteroids can affect their homeostasis inside the body. Thus, long-term use of corticosteroids can reduce the levels of male sexual hormone—testosterone and thereby compound erectile dysfunction.
Examples of exogenous corticosteroids include: hydrocortisone, prednisolone and prednisone.
- Antihypertensive medication
Many antihypertensives are associated with the adverse effect of sexual dysfunction. These drugs help to lower the blood pressure and contribute to erectile dysfunction. Of the antihypertensive medication, the most commonly implicated drugs include: thiazide diuretics and beta blockers.
Other drugs include: spironolactone, furosemide and clonidine.
- GnRH agonists
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists are drugs like goserelin and leuprolide that are used to reduce the level of sex hormones in the body. Consequently, the sexual health of the patient is impacted due to decrease in testosterone. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists are used to treat diseases like prostate cancer, which increases in size under the influence of sex hormones like testosterone.
As mentioned before, medication induced sexual dysfunction is associated with one-fourth of total cases of erectile dysfunction. These cases are readily reversible if the medication is altered or the dose is adjusted after consultation with a professional like Sexologist in Islamabad. Unsupervised adjustment or cessation of medication can have adverse impact on health and therefore, prescription medication should never be stopped suddenly without the guidance of healthcare professional. Moreover, healthy lifestyle changes should be made for improved health.