There are a number of medications that can lead to ED. If you are having trouble in the bedroom – maybe you need to check your medicine cabinet!
Drugs used to treat heart disease, and in particular, high blood pressure, can interfere with your ability to gain, or maintain an erection.
Good blood flow is essential for normal erectile function. Men with hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, have impaired blood flow. Therefore, many men with high blood pressure also experience erectile dysfunction or ED. But, here is the problem, often the drugs prescribed to treat high blood pressure, may actually cause, or worsen ED.
This may make men stop taking their blood pressure medication. Hypertension is one of those conditions that we call a “silent killer,” because men with high-blood pressure may not experience any symptoms at all. Because of this, it is often very hard to get men to take high-blood pressure medicine, or stay on it, since to them, they never notice a change. When that change is a negative side effect, such as getting ED after taking high-blood pressure medication, especially if they had no erectile problems before, it makes it even more difficult to get these men to keep taking their high-blood pressure drugs.
The good news is, not all high blood pressure medication can lead to ED. The most common drugs prescribed for hypertension, diuretics, or “water pills,” such as hydrochlorothiazide, and beta-blockers, such as Atenolol, are known to cause erection problems. However, these are not the only classes of drugs available to treat hypertension. Other classes of drugs such as alpha blockers, ACE inhibiters (lisonpril), or calcium channel blockers, are less likely to cause ED.
Another problem is, that men with high-blood pressure are usually told to avoid using the most common oral ED medications, and therefore need to seek alternative treatments for ED.
What Drugs Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
There are other drugs besides those prescribed for hypertension that can cause ED. Men with high-blood pressure, often also have high cholesterol.
Statins are a very popular drug used to treat high cholesterol. Many men with high cholesterol also suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). Since the idea behind statins is to fight the plaque caused by cholesterol, and therefore improve blood flow to the heart, you would think they could also improve blood flow overall, and prevent ED.
However, that has not proven to be the case, prompting medical researchers to determine if statin use can lead to ED. Researchers with the University of California in San Diego who looked at ED and statin use in men, found that men on statins were twice as likely to report that their ability to achieve erections had become worse since taking the medications, than were their counterparts taking placebos.
Yet, the link between statins and ED remains controversial, with some other studies suggesting that in otherwise healthy men, statins may actually improve erectile function.
What we do know for sure is that men taking statins usually suffer from other conditions such as clogged arteries and diabetes, which are known to contribute to ED. Furthermore, other known side-effects of statins include weakness and fatigue, which can also lead to trouble in the bedroom.
Other Causes of ED
Medication that you may be taking such as statins, are only one of many possible causes for ED. Other causes can include:
- Stress or other emotional issues
- Tobacco use; See Does Smoking Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
- Alcohol abuse
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Clogged arteries
- Effects of some cancers
As you can see from the list above, since ED can be a symptom of other serious underlying medical conditions such as heart disease or cancer, it is always critical that you see your doctor if you are experiencing frequent ED.
If you are a man over 35, are under medications for high blood pressure, and are experiencing erectile difficulties, contact us. We may be able to adjust your medications, and/or prescribe drug-free ED treatments that are right for you.