Medications Causing ED: 14 Medicines That May Lead To ED

medications that cause ED

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) may occur because of certain medications. Every medicine has its pros and cons. While medicine may improve your health, it may have a few side effects. Some medications might cause ED. In the following post, we will talk about these medicines. We will also throw light on diagnostic tests for ED.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

In men, erectile dysfunction happens when they are unable to maintain or get a satisfactory erection. Facing a loss of erection once in a while is common in males. However, if the experience repeats itself often, then it may indicate a health issue.

To get an erection, the following activities are necessary:

  • Libido or desire for intimacy
  • Nerve sensation
  • Arousal for the physical act
  • Adequate blood circulation to the penile organ

Now, ED may occur because of several reasons. Sometimes health disorders such as diabetes, obesity, neural problems, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc are responsible. At other times, the issue is because of psychological trouble such as depression, stress, performance anxiety, and others.

Weak erection may also result from surgery, penile injury, hormonal issues, behavioural problems, as well as certain prescription medicines. In this post, we will discuss how such medications may have side effects, one of which includes disruption of sexual function.

Medications That May Cause ED

Sometimes certain medications may cause ED. But they are usually not the only cause for this male sexual disorder. If you think a particular medicine is responsible for erection weakness, then consult your doctor about it. He/she may recommend an alteration in the dosage.

Otherwise, the healthcare provider may also entirely stop the medicine. He/she may provide an alternate medication that may not affect the male reproductive organ. But you must not change or alter the medicine at your sole discretion.

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Below-mentioned are the medications that may cause ED:


Male characteristics result from androgen hormones. But anti-androgens work to block a few of these hormonal aspects. Healthcare providers may suggest this medicine for conditions such as prostate cancer and heartburn. Some of these medicines include:

  • Bicalutamide
  • Nilutamide
  • Flutamide
  • Enzalutamide
  • Ketoconazole
  • Anti-hypertensives

Doctors may prescribe antihypertensives to lower blood pressure. However, these may cause erectile dysfunction. But how far they are responsible for ED, is not yet well-established. Some of the examples include:

  • Spironolactone
  • Atenolol and Metoprolol and similar Beta-blockers
  • Some Diuretics such as Furosemide and Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Clonidine


Corticosteroids act as a few different hormones in the body. A doctor may prescribe it to people who need respite from inflammation. So, the medicine functions as an anti-inflammatory agent. But these may also affect the level of testosterone, and reduce it.

In turn, this can cause a reduction in sexual function and desire in men. This may indirectly remain responsible for erectile dysfunction. Some of the corticosteroids are:

  • Hydrocortisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Prednisone
  • Immunosuppressants

A person may have to take Immunosuppressants to dim the immune system’s excess activity. This helps to keep an autoimmune condition in check. After an organ transplant, this medicine may also prevent rejection of the organ. But as much as the medication has benefits, it does have a drawback.

The suppressing of the immune system can also impair sexual performance and function in men. Diet and sensate focus can aid in strengthening libido. Examples of immunosuppressants are:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Everolimus
  • Tacrolimus
  • Sirolimus
  • Anti-epileptics

To prevent epileptic seizures, doctors may prescribe anti-epileptics. Though it may not impact the hard-on in men. But it can dull the man’s orgasming capacity. Some of the anti-epileptics are:

  • Topiramate (Topamax)
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)


A healthcare provider may suggest antidepressants for the treatment of clinical depression. It may also stop the recurrence of depressive symptoms. Antidepressants may also affect a man’s sexual performance. These may also negatively affect his sexual desire.

In some cases, the medication may also suppress or delay ejaculation. Some of the examples of this medicine include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (Pamelor)
  • Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (Zyban, Wellbutrin)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Prozac, Lexapro)

Recreational Products

Recreational medications or products may not have much good effect on your health. Also, it may interfere with a man’s sexual desire, performance, and arousal. Some of the examples are:

  • Stimulants such as methamphetamines and cocaine
  • Heroin and other narcotics
  • Hallucinogens
  • Alcohol
  • Medicines for the treatment of opioid addiction
  • Buprenorphine and Methadone


For the treatment of psychosis, a healthcare provider may prescribe antipsychotics. These may suppress libido, which in turn may affect a man’s sexual performance. Some of the antipsychotics are:

  • Risperidone (Risperdal)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Aripiprazole (Ability)

GnRH Agonists

GnRH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists treat prostate cancer. This class of medications may reduce libido in males. Some of the examples of this medicine are:

  • Goserelin (Zoladex)
  • Leuprolide (Lupron)

Medicines for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease has symptoms such as walking difficulty, shaking, and stiffness. It is a brain disorder. It also causes issues with body balance, posture, and coordination. The signs may grow gradually, and then get worse with time. In the later stage, the person may face difficulty in talking and walking.

Medicines for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease may bring changes in the body. It may impact the nervous system, which may give rise to erectile dysfunction. Some of these medications are:

  • Trihexyphenidyl (Artane)
  • Benztropine (Cogentin)
  • Procyclidine (Kemadrin)
  • Carbidopa-Levodopa (Sinemet)
  • Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
  • Opiate Analgesics (Painkillers)

Opioids attach to the brain, gut, and spinal cord receptors. They decrease the sensation and reacting to pain. Also, these painkillers increase pain tolerance. Weak Opioids such as Dihydrocodeine and codeine may not affect the sexual performance of men as such. But the strong ones may hamper this activity.

Strong Opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Tramadol
  • Methadone
  • Diamorphine
  • Morphine
  • Buprenorphine
  • Pethidine
  • Hydromorphone

Acid Reflux Medicines

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) happens with frequent stomach acid. Here, the acid comes into the tube that connects the stomach and mouth. Acid reflux can irritate the oesophagus lining. The acid reflux medications such as H2 blockers can impact histamine.

These medicines may give rise to ED. Some of these medications include:

  • Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Licimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)

Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants ease muscle spasms and pain. It can help you cope with muscle twitching, contracting, cramping, and more. Some of these symptoms may also cause pain. Medications that relax muscle may impact the erection of men. It may disrupt stimulation and desire. Some of these medicines are:

  • Orphenadrine
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix)

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medicine

The cells of your body produce prostaglandins. These are necessary for several bodily functions. They cause inflammation that helps with healing, protecting the stomach lining from acidic effects and blood clotting of platelets. However, they may lead to fever and pain.

NSAIDs block the enzyme cyclooxygenase. It also reduces the prostaglandins in the body. Thus, symptoms such as pain, fever, and inflammation go away. However, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine can affect erectile function in males. Some of these medicines are:

  • Indomethacin (Indocin)
  • Naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox)

Tests to Diagnose Erectile Dysfunction

The doctor will conduct a physical examination to confirm the condition. The healthcare provider will also undertake a few other tests to understand the underlying cause for ED. The tests will also help the doctor know which medicines may increase ED. Here are some of the examinations to consider:

Kidney and Liver Function

This test may confirm if the ED is because of liver or kidney dysfunction. Also, the medicines for the same are reviewable by the doctor. Few of the medicines may interact with PDE5 inhibitors (first line of ED treatment)

Thyroid Activity

One of the thyroid hormones’ functions is to regulate the production of sex hormones, and a deficiency in these hormones may contribute to or cause ED.


Urine analysis contains information about sugar, protein, and testosterone levels. This can tell the factors responsible for erectile dysfunction. It may also signify changes in the medicines you will need to keep up the health.

Complete Blood Count

Anaemia causes fatigue due to the lowering of a red blood cell. It can pave the ground to ED. Complete Blood Count assists in knowing if Anemia is present. It can aid in understanding the supplements and medications you will require for the erectile system.

Blood Hormone

A blood hormone test can detect the prolactin and testosterone levels responsible for ED. It may also tell you which of the sex hormones are adequately present or lacking. So, alternation in hormonal medicines is possible to know through this examination.

To Conclude

Medications that treat health issues may have side effects. A few of these medications may cause ED. Sometimes a perfectly healthy person may see a slight decrease in the erection quality. In some cases, the symptoms are mild. But in others, it can get severe.

So, keep a check with all the medicines you take. Also, maintain records of non-prescription medicines, over-the-counter products, natural supplements, herbal products, and any other thing to intake. Inform your doctor about the list.

If you notice any of the medications causing ED, then speak with your healthcare provider. The doctor can help reduce/change/switch the responsible medications.


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