Drug induced sexual dysfunction

Recreational drugs and prescription medication are notorious for causing sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Sexual dysfunction has a significant impact on the quality of life of an individual and needs proper management by an expert like Sexologist.

Read on to know more about drug-induced sexual dysfunction:

What are the symptoms of sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction in men presents with decreased libido or loss of interest in sexual activities, inability to get or maintain erection, anorgasmia, or painfully long-lasting erection.

In women, sexual dysfunction presents with decreased libido, painful sex or dyspareunia, and difficulty in orgasm or lack of orgasm (anorgasmia).

What are the drugs that cause sexual dysfunction?

Medication-related sexual dysfunction is not long-lasting, and in most cases, this effect of the drug is reversible. Common drugs that cause sexual dysfunction include:

Antidepressants and antipsychotics: these drugs affect the brain chemicals or the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating bodily functions—including sex. As a result, there is a sexual dysfunction in most cases of starting these drugs. The common classes of antidepressants causing sexual dysfunction include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The most common antipsychotic drugs causing sexual dysfunction include aripiprazole, haloperidol, and risperidone.

Drugs that block testosterone: certain drugs work by reducing the normal testosterone in the body. In both men and women, testosterone is responsible for regulating the libido, and decreased amounts affect the interest in sex. Older antihistamines, corticosteroids, antiandrogens, and certain diuretics for heart diseases like spironolactone lower testosterone in the body.

Antihypertensive drugs: medication to lower blood pressure affect the smooth muscles in the penis, disallowing their relaxation thereby making an erection difficult. Without the relaxation of this muscle, the penis cannot initiate and maintain an erection. Antihypertensive notorious for this effect include beta-blockers like metoprolol and atenolol and diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide.

Drugs for chemotherapy: anti-cancer drugs are strong agents that can affect the peripheral nerves, including those responsible for erection. This peripheral neuropathy is reversible if diagnosed timely. Drugs responsible for this effect include cisplatin, bortezomib, and vincristine.

Recreational drugs: these are illegal drugs that are misused and can cause long-term adverse effects with serious damage to the body. Examples of drugs of abuse contributing to sexual dysfunction include barbiturates, nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. These drugs lower the blood reaching the penis due to widespread vasoconstriction, as well as lowered libido and decreased serum testosterone levels.

Over-the-counter drugs: many antihistamines, and drugs for managing acid peptic disease erectile dysfunction. The latter includes drugs like cimetidine, which at high doses can also lower the testosterone in the body and impact libido as well. These over-the-counter drugs should not be used for a prolonged period of time due to these effects. In case of more adverse effects, the help of a healthcare provider specializing in sexual dysfunction should be sought.

How to deal with sexual dysfunction caused by medication?

If sexual dysfunction occurs, it should be discussed with the healthcare provider. In any case, the medication should not be stopped by the patient as it can have severe side effects.

To prevent sexual dysfunction from occurring in the first place, one can take the following measures:

  • exercise daily
  • lose weight
  • drink less alcohol
  • stop using recreational drugs
  • use breathing exercises to deal with anxiety or stress.

Other measures that can help deal with sexual dysfunction include:

  • lowering the dose of the medication
  • switching to a medication with fewer sexual side effects after discussing with the healthcare provider
  • dealing with sexual side effects by another medication
  • or giving the body sufficient time to adjust to the medication

More information about sexual dysfunction can be found at oladoc.com.

Karan Vasita

Amazon Erc Number

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