Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition where a man cannot achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It is a common condition, especially in men between 40-70 years of age. However, ED can affect men of all ages and varying levels of fitness and health.

Several factors can contribute to or cause ED. One such common example is the medications taken by the man. Drugs that affect blood flow, sex drive, and sexual organ functions may increase the risk of ED. But the good news is that taking an alternative medication to those causing erectile dysfunction may reverse ED. Besides, many medicines improve ED symptoms.

This article details medicines that cause as well as improve ED.

Drugs That May Cause ED

Some medicines may contribute to ED; however, they are not the sole cause of the problem. If you suspect medication to be the cause of ED, consult your doctor. Wherever possible, they may recommend switching the medicine or changing the dosage. But you should never stop taking medications unless your physician advises you to do so.

Some medicines that may contribute to or cause ED are below:

Immunosuppressants

These drugs mitigate the activity of the immune system. A doctor may prescribe this medicine to prevent organ rejection after an organ transplant surgery or control an autoimmune condition.

Impaired sexual function is one of the potential side-effects of immunosuppressants.

Examples include:

  • Sirolimus
  • Tacrolimus
  • Cyclosporine
  • Everolimus

Anti-hypertensives

Anti-hypertensives are prescription medicines to manage high blood pressure. While the exact cause is not known, experts believe that anti-hypertensives may contribute to ED.

Examples include:

  • clonidine
  • spironolactone
  • Beta-blockers, such as Atenolol and Metoprolol
  • Diuretics, such as Furosemide and Hydrochlorothiazide

Antihistamines

These medicines help to relieve allergy and symptoms of allergy. They affect the action of histamine, a chemical that causes allergy but also affects a healthy erection.

Examples include:

  • Dimenhydrinate 
  • Meclizine 
  • Promethazine 
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Cimetidine 
  • Diphenhydramine 
  • Nizatidine 
  • Ranitidine 

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are medications that help to manage or prevent the recurrence of depression. Certain antidepressants may hamper sexual desire, which may influence sexual performance. Others may also delay ejaculation.

Examples include:

  • Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors, such as Zyban and Wellbutrin
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac and Lexapro
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Pamelor, Amoxapine, Clomipramine, and Amitriptyline 
  • Buspirone
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Clorazepate
  • Diazepam
  • Isocarboxazid

Parkinson’s Disease Medicines

While ED is a common association with Parkinson’s disease, some medicines used to treat it may also cause sexual dysfunction.

Examples include:

  • Biperiden
  • Levodopa
  • Trihexyphenidyl
  • Benztropine 
  • Bromocriptine 
  • Procyclidine 

Antiarrhythmics

These medicines help to manage irregular heartbeats. Certain Antiarrhythmics may affect healthy erections.

Examples include:

  • Amiodaron
  • Lidocaine
  • Disopyramide  

Tranquilizers

Tranquilizers belong to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines and help manage anxiety, fear, agitation, and tension.

Some tranquilizers that may cause ED are:

  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Ativan
  • Xanax

Prostate Cancer Medicines

Some medicines used for prostate cancer or problems that may cause ED are:

  • Flutamide 
  • Leuprolide 
  • Flutamide
  • Nilutamide
  • Ketoconazole
  • Bicalutamide
  • Enzalutamide

GnRH agonists

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists belong to the class of medications that also help manage prostate cancer. They may decrease sexual desire in some men.

Examples include:

  • Goserelin
  • Leuprolide

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids mimic the action of certain hormones on the body. The doctor may typically prescribe corticosteroids to help manage inflammation.

However, corticosteroids may reduce testosterone levels, which may decrease sexual function and sexual desire in some men.

Examples include:

  • Prednisolone
  • Prednisone
  • Hydrocortisone

Antipsychotics

This class of medicine is typically used to treat psychosis. Antipsychotics may reduce sexual desire, resulting in ED.

Examples include:

  • Olanzapine 
  • Aripiprazole 
  • Risperidone 

Anti-epileptics

Your doctor may prescribe these medications to help prevent epileptic seizures. Certain anti-epileptics may influence a man’s ability to orgasm.

Examples include:

  • Gabapentin 
  • Topiramate 

Recreational drugs

In addition to the mentioned medicines, certain recreational drugs may also alter sexual arousal and performance. 

Examples include:

  • hallucinogens
  • narcotics, such as heroin
  • alcohol
  • stimulants, such as methamphetamines and cocaine

Besides, medicines used to treat opioid addiction may cause ED. Some examples include buprenorphine and methadone.

Drugs That may improve ED

Some medicines that may help improve ED are:

Lisinopril

This medicine belongs to the group of drugs known as ACE inhibitors, which are used to treat hypertension. It is seen that Lisinopril increases blood flow. This increase in blood flow influences the entire body and improves blood circulation to the penis as well.

While certain ACE inhibitors affect sexual desire, such as Atenolol, the same effect is not seen with Lisinopril. It is thus considered a better medicine for sexual health.

Losartan

It belongs to the group of medicines known as Angiotensin II receptor blocker. Just like Lisinopril, Losartan is also used in the management of blood pressure. It also helps people with kidney disease and diabetes. 

Studies have shown that Losartan improves blood flow and also frequency and satisfaction of sexual activity. All of this may improve ED.

Wellbutrin

According to Psychology Today, bupropion or Wellbutrin is the best antidepressant drug for sex. Besides, the use of this medicine helps in the treatment of stopping the use of smoking.

Depression may affect sexual function, cause inability or hold an erection, loss of sexual desire, and trouble getting an orgasm. Studies have shown that Wellbutrin improves sexual function and, thus, ED.

Adderall

Adderall is an amphetamine that helps to manage narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is seen that individuals with ADHD have a lower sexual desire as compared to the general population.

The research does not have a conclusive finding whether Adderall may help ED or cause ED.

Tramadol

While Tramadol is primarily used in the management of pain, it may also help treat premature ejaculation. Some studies have shown that Tramadol improves sexual satisfaction and function, which may help in treating ED.

Final Thoughts

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition and may affect men of all ages. Certain medicines that affect blood flow, sex drive, or sexual function may contribute to ED. 

If you are concerned that your problem could be due to particular medicine, consult your doctor. Do not stop taking the medication unless advised by your doctor.

Wherever possible, your doctor will reduce the dosage or switch medicines. In other cases, they may advise other treatment options for ED, such as a penile implant, erection devices, or surgery.

Some medicines may improve ED, but all cases of ED are different and need different management. So, consult your doctor before starting the medication.

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