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Drugs and Their Effects on Sexual Health

Dr. Prabhu Vyas 89% (121 ratings)
M.S. - Sexology Sexual Counselling , Ph.D. - Sexology - , PGDPC (Post Graduation Diploma In Psychological Counselling) -
Sexologist, Mumbai  •  6 years experience
Drugs and Their Effects on Sexual Health

Popping pills is something we cannot do away with completely. But something that should also be kept in mind is that every drug is used for one of its particular property, which is healing, but on the other hand, it also has, almost always, the not-so-nice effects. These side effects could sometimes be as simple as nausea or itching to something as serious as shooting up blood sugar levels.

Talking of side effects, do you know that Viagra was originally used for pulmonary hypertension and its side effect was improved performance in patients with erectile dysfunction (ED). Viagra thus, became the famous magical blue pill for patients with ED. On the other hand, there are quite a few drugs that can lower your libido levels. 

Listed below are some of the regularly used medicines that can impact your sexual life:

  1. Antihypertensives: Medications that are aimed at reducing blood pressure (diuretics and alpha and beta adrenergic blockers) have a negative effect on the sexual life. Switching drugs after medical consultation is an alternate.
  2. Antidepressants: With depression on the rise, more and more people are prescribed antidepressants, especially the selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs). Both these increase the mood, but lower the libido, in up to 50% of the patients. Added amount of cardio workout could be a workaround for patients on SSRIs. Reducing the dose of TCAs could help improve sexual function.
  3. Proscar: Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is a common condition seen in aging men, and finasteride is used for its treatment. This prevents conversion of testosterone to its active form and thereby, reduces sexual function. Surgical correction of BPH could be an alternative.
  4. Antihistamines: Common cold cures like diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine affect sexual life too. The good news is that these drugs are cleared out of the system within 24 hours and the side effect does not last long either. In patients who might need these chronically, this side effect should be borne in mind.
  5. Anti-seizure drugs: Drug like terbetrol which is used to cure seizure does the same for the sexual act, which is physiologically akin to a seizure -impulse traveling slower along the nerve. If noticed, an alternative medication should be used.
  6. Opioids: For severe chronic pain, Vicodin and Oxycodone are used, but these reduce testosterone levels and thereby, reduce sexual drive too. Use of testosterone creams could be a substitute.

In all these cases, the key is to have a discussion with your doctor as soon as you realize it could be affecting your sex life.

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