Beta Blockers & Other Drugs That May Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Beta Blockers and Other Drugs That May Cause Erectile Dysfunction

1 of
  • What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

    What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to a man’s inability to get or sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. It’s more common among older men, though it’s not a natural part of aging, and can affect men at any age.

    ED is often the sign of a separate medical condition, such as diabetes or depression. While some medications can effectively treat ED, many types of drugs can potentially cause the problem.

  • Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

    Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

    Your doctor should look at the medications you take in order to find possible causes of ED. Medications for lowering blood pressure are among the most common drug-related causes of ED.

    In many cases, drugs to treat ED can be taken along with your other medications. But your doctor must have a complete list of your current medications to know if ED drugs could interact with those medications.

  • Beta Blockers

    Beta Blockers

    Beta blockers are prescribed to help lower blood pressure. They can also treat a rapid heartbeat caused by anxiety. These drugs reduce the effects of the hormone epinephrine. Beta blockers may, however, also interfere with the part of your body’s nervous system responsible for causing an erection.

    Other blood pressure drugs, such as calcium channel blockers or ACE inhibitors, may be as effective as beta blockers are for heart health. These drugs may also be less likely to cause unwanted side effects.

  • Diuretics


    Another common blood pressure-lowering medication is a diuretic. Diuretics help reduce fluid levels in the body to lower blood pressure. But they may result in decreased blood flow to the penis that is necessary for an erection.

    To help minimize the side effects of your blood pressure drugs, be sure to take them exactly as prescribed.

  • Antidepressant Medications

    Antidepressant Medications

    There is a long list of drugs that can treat depression and cause ED. Sometimes a man’s erectile problems go away when he gets used to one of these drugs. But that’s not always the case.

    A type of antidepressant known as an SSRI is among the most likely to cause ED. Common SSRIs include:

    • fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • sertraline (Zoloft)
    • paroxetine (Paxil)

    Antidepressants known as SNRIs can also cause ED. Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is a commonly prescribed SNRI.

  • Other Medications

    Other Medications

    Many drugs for everyday health problems may also contribute to ED. H2 blockers, which fight heartburn, are associated with ED. A common H2 blocker is cimetidine (Tagamet). Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), also carry ED warnings.

    Common painkillers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin, may lead to ED problems. These painkillers are part of a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

    If you notice ED issues when starting a new drug, be sure to tell your doctor.

  • Recreational Drugs

    Recreational Drugs

    Not all drugs that cause ED are prescriptions. Too much alcohol, for instance, can make it difficult for a man to achieve an erection. Marijuana may also cause sexual dysfunction.

    Other drugs, including cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, and barbiturates, can lead to ED. Cigarettes, which contain nicotine, should also be avoided. Smoking can damage the blood vessels, including those needed to achieve an erection.

  • Talk to Your Doctor

    Talk to Your Doctor

    Talk with your doctor about possibly changing a medication or lowering the dosage of medications that could be causing ED or other side effects. This may not always be the solution, but it may be worth trying alternative drugs and treatments if ED emerges as a side effect.

    You should also discuss drug interactions with your doctor, as the time that you take certain medications may affect your sexual response.