Every package of prescription drugs and also of most over-the-counter medications and supplements includes a sheet of information that details the known or potential side-effects of all of the chemicals in the pack. Often, you need a college degree including chemistry or pharmaceuticals in order to fully understand every nuance and meaning of what is written, and to apply it to your own condition.

In this short article, we will try to expand and explain the messages contained in a few of the side-effect warnings that are especially relevant for men who are either experiencing or have been subject to the disorder known as Erectile Dysfunction (ED).

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Once upon a time it was incorrectly termed impotence. Now, erectile dysfunction (or ED) is defined as a persistent type of sexual dysfunction in which the penis fails to become or stay erect sufficiently and long enough during sexual activity for satisfactory sexual performance.

Erectile dysfunction affects around thirty percent of adult males in the US, rising to over fifty percent in men over the age of fifty. ED can have a profound effect on a man’s sense of well being, with its impact of sexual health. As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health “is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality and not merely as the absence of dysfunction.”

Which drugs may produce a side effect of ED?

We wrote recently about some of the known causes of ED, including a short list of drugs that have been highlighted as the “top-five” triggers at the 2022 conference of the American Urological Association. However, there is a much longer list of other drugs and substances that are also known to be causes of ED, and we believe that you can get more insight into your own condition when you have the full picture.

The drugs are prescribed for a number of different disorders, and we are listing here only a few examples of the most widely used versions of the prescribed treatments of each disorder. If you are currently taking any medication for the listed disorder, it’s worthwhile discussing the possible resultant side effect of ED with your doctor or pharmacist.

Category Some common drugs
Blood pressureAmong the high blood pressure medicines, thiazides (Zaroxolyn, Microzide, Thalitone, Mykrox, Lozol, Esidrix, Enduron) are the most common cause of ED, followed by beta blockers (Carvedilol, Atenolol, bisoprolol and metoprolol). Other BP drugs, such as alpha-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and angioten-sin-receptor blockers are not known to be causing ED.
AntidepressantsElavil, Buspar, Valium, Prozac, amitriptyline, Anafranil, Tofranil and Vivactil.
TranquilizersXanax, Ativan, benzodiazepines, Klonopin
Diureticshydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone and certain beta-blockers (like Atenolol)
Pain killersCodeine, Dilaudid, Demerol, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone

As well, recreational drugs (amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, heroin, nicotine) and alcohol all have a direct effect both on the libido and on body chemistry and can cause  ED while they are being taken.

Some of these health issues may mandate the treatment by the prescribed drugs and in such cases there is no option of stopping the drugs simply because the risk to long-term health outweighs the resultant ED. In such cases, it may be possible to add one of the new drugs like Viagra or Levitra to the patient’s drug regime as long as it does not conflict with the other medications.  Another option is to add a testosterone-boosting medication like AndroForte which acts to restore the natural levels of testosterone that may have been affected either by the disease itself or by the applied medications.