Learn About the Medications That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

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NSAIDs, also called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, reduce inflammation. They have use in controlling the symptoms of conditions such as lupus and arthritis. These drugs may also cause ED, but researchers do not know exactly why. In a large study led by Dr. Steven J. Jacobsen, researchers found that those who used NSAIDs regularly had a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction. The risk was greater in older men who used NSAIDs regularly. The researchers defined regularly as more than three times per day or more than 100 consecutive days of use. Common NSAIDs include indomethacin and naproxen.


Some men shy away from using needed antidepressants because they are on the list of medications that cause erectile dysfunction in some people. Some drugs cause ED and other sexual side effects that remain throughout an entire course of treatment. Antidepressants that may cause ED include Prozac, Elavil and Zoloft. Some drugs used to treat anxiety also contribute to the development of ED. Valium, for example, may cause difficulty achieving or maintaining erections. Men who develop ED while using antidepressants should discuss their medication regimens with a health professional. In some cases, a dosage reduction or different medication could improve the ED.

High Blood Pressure Medications

High blood pressure can lead to serious complications, so anyone with hypertension that is not controlled through diet and exercise should receive medical treatment. Unfortunately, some blood pressure medications can cause erectile dysfunction. Some hypertension drugs slow the heart so that it does not have to work so hard to pump blood. This could reduce the blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve an erection. Hypertension medications that cause erectile dysfunction include hydrochlorothiazide, metoprolol, atenolol, labetaolol and spironolactone. It’s important that you do not stop taking your blood pressure medication without medical supervision. Stopping some drugs suddenly could lead to extremely high blood pressure, a medical emergency.


Antihistamines ease the symptoms of allergies by blocking the effects of histamines. Histamines produce allergy symptoms by causing the cells to leak fluid. This results in sneezing, water eyes, itching and runny nose. Some OTC sleep aids also contain antihistamines because one of the side effects of this type of drug is drowsiness. Examples of antihistamines that may cause ED include promethazine, diphenhydramine, meclizine, dimehydrinate and hydroxyzine.

Cancer Drugs

Some drugs used to treat cancer have an effect on the sexual function of men, particularly those used to treat prostate cancer. Because cancer drugs cannot distinguish healthy cells from cancerous cells, they kill both kinds of cells. This damage could interfere with the ability to achieve erection. Eulexin and Lupron have ED as known side effects. Drugs used to treat other types of cancer also lead to ED in some men. Examples include Cytoxan and Myleran.


WebMD: Drugs Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

Renal & Urology News: ED Risk Higher Among Regular NSAID Users

Johns Hopkins Medicine: Combating Sexual Dysfunction Caused By Antidepressants

FamilyDoctor.org: Antihistamines