Doctor’s Orders: Medications That Can Wreck a Man’s Sex Life

These common prescriptions can lead to decreased action in the bedroom

Medications might be the culprit for decreased libido. Dustin Scarpitti/Unsplash

If a man is experiencing issues in the bedroom, the problem may be in his medicine cabinet.

Some prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs impact sexual functioning, particularly for men. While some medicines can affect libido, others can affect the ability to become aroused or achieve orgasm. The risks of sexual side effects are increased when an individual is taking several medications.

Here are medications that may affect a man’s sexual performance; they might be the culprit for why action in the bedroom has slowed.

Antidepressants

The common antidepressant medications—Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro—do more than just remove depressive thoughts. They could also be removing romance.

A 2013 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that antidepressants can be associated with the development and worsening of sexual dysfunction. A common complaint among men using antidepressants is delayed ejaculation or difficulty reaching orgasm. This because the SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors used in antidepressants influence the neurotransmitters in the brain, causing a delay in ejaculation. SSRIs can also lower a man’s testosterone levels, making climax even more unlikely.

Safer antidepressant options may resolve these issues, and a frank discussion with a doctor can help guide patients with their decision. The antidepressants Wellbutrin and Zyban have had good success with patients actually reporting an increase in libido and experiencing more intense orgasms.

Painkillers

Painkillers not only dull or eliminate pain; they may kill production of testosterone.

Opioids, the substance painkillers contain that makes them effective, work by acting on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. Opioids don’t only manipulate brain chemicals; they also tell a man’s testicles to reduce testosterone production.

Lower testosterone levels make it very hard for a man to achieve an erection—let alone be in the mood for sex.

Any man who needs to take a painkiller long-term should have his testosterone levels checked first. A man may need to balance out the amount of painkiller with testosterone to reduce pain but still maintain his sex life.

Blood pressure medication

Blood pressure medication can cause erectile dysfunction. Certain blood pressure medications such as beta-blockers and diuretics are known for creating this problem.

Beta-blockers lower blood pressure by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. When you take a beta blocker, the heart beats more slowly and with less force, reducing blood pressure. Diuretics cause the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from the body, relaxing the blood vessel walls. In both cases, blood pressure wins out but the reduced blood flow to the penis makes erection difficult.

There are other medications that can lower blood pressure without causing erectile dysfunction. These include angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers. Discuss with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for you.

Sleeping pills

A sleeping pill that men should probably avoid is Trazodone. Not only is this medication used as both a sedative and an antidepressant, it is also known to cause priapism, which is a very painful erection lasting longer than four hours. It’s considered a medical emergency. When a man has an erection for that length of time or longer, blood is trapped in the penis. Without treatment, tissue damage and permanent erectile dysfunction can ensue.

If a man still wants to use Trazodone for helping with sleep, he needs to follow Trazodone’s dosage instructions to reduce the possibility of priapism.

Marijuana

As more and more states legalize pot for recreational and medicinal use, more men find their sex life is waning.

A 2011 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine warned of the potentially hazardous effects of marijuana on male sexual health. A survey published in this same journal found that men who used marijuana daily were more likely to have both premature ejaculation and delayed ejaculation.

Pot smoking couples run the risk of lowering their chance to conceive. Studies have shown pot’s potential effect in lowering sperm count and reducing the chance for sperm to fertilize an egg.

Many individuals use marijuana to enhance mood and reduce inhibitions. Although some users report increased sexual desire, others find the opposite to be true. When “stoned” or “high,” many men experience a substantially decreased sexual drive.

Marijuana used for medicinal purposes causing this effect should be brought to the attention of a man’s doctor; there are other medications that can be considered in place of marijuana.

Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, SamadiMD.com and Facebook