Although most people are unaware, many medicines and recreational drugs can affect a man’s arousal and sexual performance. Indeed, even medication prescribed to you by doctors may have an effect on impotence. This may sound alarming at first but this is because the causes of impotence in one man may not be the real reason in another. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man can no longer get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Many factors play into erectile dysfunction, which is why the effects of medication are usually overlooked. To help you get to the root of your impotence, here’s a crash course on how drugs cause erectile dysfunction.

Types of Erectile Dysfunction

Although used as a general term, there are three types of erectile dysfunction: psychological, priapism and Peyronie’s Disease. Psychological ED accounts for about 10-20% of all erectile dysfunction cases. It occurs when factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression and low-self esteem inhibit a man’s ability to attain or maintain an erection. Priapism is a persistent and often painful erection that lasts more than four hours without sexual stimulation. This type of erectile dysfunction occurs when blood becomes trapped in the penis and is unable to drain. The last type of ED, Peyronie’s Disease, is caused by the buildup of scar tissue and plaque that forms along the length of the penis. This plaque is not visible, but depending on the severity of the condition, can cause the penis to bend.

Erectile Dysfunction and Medication 

As a common side effect of prescription drugs, erectile dysfunction occurs for many reasons. Taking these medications may treat the problem at hand, but in doing so, can affect a man’s hormones, blood circulation and nerve endings. The results of taking these drugs too often lead to a higher risk of suffering from ED. Some common medications that list ED as a potential side effect include diuretics, antihistamines, antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormones, chemotherapy and anti-seizure medications.

For men suffering from erectile dysfunction, prescription medications are available. Medicines that are often prescribed include testosterone, oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, intracavernosal injections and intraurethral suppositories.

Medications Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

Having established that certain medications are more prone to result in impotence, here is a general rundown of how the major classes of drugs interfere with erectile dysfunction.


By blocking the action of three brain chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells, antidepressants tend to create problems in all areas of sexual function. Prescribed for anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, smoking cessation and some hormone-mediated disorders, antidepressants can be found in many medicine cabinets across the United States.


Antipsychotic drugs block dopamine, the chemical in your brain that helps regulate emotional responses and control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Antipsychotics additionally increase levels of the hormone prolactin, which can lead to reduced libido, erectile dysfunction and difficulties achieving orgasm.


More commonly known as tranquilizers, benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation and muscle spasms. The sedative and muscle-relaxant properties of benzodiazepines are thought to lessen sexual interest, excitement and sensation. Benzodiazepines are also believed to interfere with the production of testosterone. Sexual problems most frequently associated with benzodiazepines include painful intercourse, ED, ejaculation problems and diminished orgasms.

Blood Pressure Medication

While high blood pressure itself can lead to sexual dysfunction, studies show that many of the drugs used to treat this condition can also cause sexual difficulties. Decreased blood flow can result in reduced desire and interfere with maintaining erections and ejaculation. Diuretic blood pressure medications not only interfere with blood flow to the penis but increase the body’s excretion of zinc, which is necessary to produce testosterone.

Statins and Fibrates 

Used to treat high cholesterol, statins and fibrates limit the amount of cholesterol available in your body. As a building block of hormones, lower levels of cholesterol can affect the production of sex-related hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. While some people cannot forego cholesterol-lowering medications, natural ways to lower cholesterol such as a low-fat, high-fiber diet and increasing weekly exercise are substitutes to discuss with your doctor.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment in New Jersey 

Natural changes in our hormones can affect the way we perform sexually. Being aware that certain prescription medications increase your risk of experiencing these negative side effects can help you start determining the root of your sexual dissatisfaction. Let Ron S Israeli MD, PC  help you get to the bottom of what is causing your erectile dysfunction and get you back to your unhindered sexual life. With years of experience and expertise, Dr. Ron is conveniently located in Livingston, New Jersey to assist with any of your questions and concerns. Contact us today to schedule your next consultation.