Despite our advancements in medical science, each year researchers manage to find a new negative effect in largely used drugs that lead to the public questioning the effectiveness of modern medicines. Presently, a majority of the male population is suffering from erectile dysfunction. While there are medicines that treat this condition, there are plenty of drugs that cause impotence as a side effect. Impotence is a condition that not only causes problems during intercourse but also tarnishes one’s confidence.
When the term amphetamine is discussed, a majority of people think of crystal meth, an extremely addictive recreational drug; however, amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant. Germany is credited with the first systemization of this compound in 1887, and it is largely used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Sometimes it is also prescribed to obese patients to lower their body mass index. In the past, it was used as a decongestant and antidepressant as well. Amphetamine works by affecting the receptors in the brain that increase the number of neurotransmitters: dopamine and norepinephrine. Interestingly, amphetamine can cause both erectile dysfunction and frequent erections.
Brand Name: Adderall
It is a type of tricyclic antidepressant that is used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and neuropathic pain. It frequently causes sexual dysfunctions, such as impotence and low libido, and for this reason, it is only used if selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are not compatible with the patient. Amitriptyline works like any other antidepressant, i.e., by boosting the amount of serotonin in the system.
Brand Name: Elavil
Atenolol was first synthesized in 1958 for the management of angina. It is a form of beta-blocker, and presently, it is prescribed to patients that are suffering from high blood pressure and chest pain caused by it. Other uses of atenolol are hyperthyroidism, acute myocardial infarction, and fighting alcohol withdrawals. Since it works by blocking the sympathetic nerve center, subsequently, it relaxes the penile blood vessels, resulting in erectile dysfunction.
Brand Name: Tenormin
First patented in 1982, bicalutamide is an antiandrogen, a class of medicine that blocks testosterone. While it is primarily used in the treatment of prostate cancer, it is also used in the removal of testicles. The adverse effects of this drug depend on the sex of the patients. In females, only constipation and dry skin are observed, whereas, in males, enlargement of breasts, hot flashes, low libido, and erectile dysfunction are common. Although it is rare, patients can develop sensitivity to light as well.
Brand Name: Casodex
In large, this medicine is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders that are caused by certain medications. It was first synthesized in the mid-1900s, and presently, it is considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. It works by stimulating the corpus striatum of the brain, which restores balance. Interestingly, it is no longer available in the United States because it can cause a lack of rapid eye movement sleep, blurred vision, and compromised sexual function, including impotence.
Brand Name: Akineton
Chlordiazepoxide belongs to the benzodiazepine class of medicines, and it is commonly used as a sleeping pill. It is prescribed to people who are suffering from anxiety, insomnia, and withdrawal from alcohol. Surprisingly, it was the first-ever synthesized benzodiazepine in 1957. It attaches to gamma-amino-butyric acid or GABA receptors in the brain. The role of these receptors is to stop the excitement of the neurons, and these also lower the abnormal excitement in the brain. Frequently observed side effects of chlordiazepoxide are confusion, drowsiness, compromised sex drive, and erectile dysfunction.
Brand Name: Librium
Another medicine that is on the list of essential medicines by the World Health Organization, chlorthalidone, is used to relieve high blood pressure. Additionally, it is also used in the management of swelling that is caused by liver and kidney failure. It is a type of water pill, which enhances the flow of urine, resulting in the loss of retained fluids in the body. People have reported long-term problems with erections, along with dizziness, low blood pressure, headaches, and nausea while on chlorthalidone.
Brand Name: Hygroton
Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant, and it is used to treat conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, major depressive disorder, and chronic pain. Curiously, clomipramine is the only tricyclic antidepressant in the US that is not licensed to treat depression. Loss of libido, impotence, tremors, and fatigue are some frequently experienced side effects of clomipramine.
Brand Name: Anafranil
Being an antihypertensive, clonidine works by altering certain nerve impulses in the brain. A wide range of conditions, like high blood pressure, ADHD, menopausal flushing, and diarrhea are treated with clonidine. Although not all patients experience the adverse effects of this medicine, 3 out of 10 people face constipation, sedation, and erectile dysfunction.
Brand Name: Catapres
Diazepam is also a medicine that belongs to the benzodiazepine class. People who take diazepam regularly are twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction compared to people who take non-benzodiazepine drugs. It is primarily used in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks. Interestingly, people often use diazepam recreationally to enhance the effects of other drugs.
Brand Name: Valium
Fentanyl is an opiate, which is used to relieve severe pain and it is also administered along with anesthesia. It attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain, which leads to a lack of pain sensitivity. Unfortunately, it is heavily used as a recreational substance because of its effects that include euphoria, calmness, and hallucinations. As for its side effects, it can cause respiratory depression, hyperventilation, muscle rigidity, and permanent sexual dysfunction.
Brand Name: Abstral
Flutamide is prescribed to males and females for different purposes. In males, it is used during the treatment of prostate cancer, while in females, it is used to manage excess hair growth and acne. Flutamide suppresses androgen in the body. Its adverse effects are different in males and females as well. Females react well to this substance, as they only experience dry skin. In men, it can decrease muscle mass, libido, and cause impotence.
Brand Name: Androxin
Goserelin is also used in the treatment of prostate cancer; however, it is also used to treat breast cancer. It works by suppressing the secretion of luteinizing hormone, which stops the production of testosterone and estrogen in males and females, respectively. It can cause a lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, urine retention, and hot flashes.
Brand Name: Zoladex
While this medicine was first approved in 1986 for the treatment of hypertension, it was not until 2010 that guanfacine was approved for ADHD. Guanfacine works by relaxing the blood vessels, which allows for an easier blood flow. Interestingly, it is only prescribed to patients with either disorder if they are allergic to other medicines, yet nearly 4 million Americans have a prescription for guanfacine. Frequently experienced side effects include constipation, dryness, sexual dysfunction, and fatigue.
Brand Name: Intuniv
Hydralazine was listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization in 2019. It is useful in both high blood pressure and heart failure; however, it is seen to work exceptionally well in heart failure. Similar to guanfacine, it works by relaxing the blood vessels. Hydralazine is known to cause swelling in the joints, headaches, and erectile dysfunction.
Brand Name: Aprezine
Leuprorelin is used in the treatment of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and it is also prescribed to children to treat premature puberty. It is also used to castrate violent sex offenders. Similar to other medicines in the same category, it works by hindering the production of testosterone and estrogen. Its side effects include lack of libido, erectile dysfunction, headache, vaginal bleeding, and mood swings.
Brand Name: Eligard
Methadone is considered among the famous opioid medicines. In addition to being used in the treatment of chronic pain, it is also used to fight withdrawal symptoms of opioids like heroin. Methadone is known to provide relief for up to 5 days after administration. Methadone works by binding to µ-opioid receptors as well as NMDA receptors. While erectile dysfunction, lack of sexual desire, and insomnia are common adverse effects of methadone, it has a black box warning label, i.e., it can cause fatal respiratory depression and suicidal thoughts.
Brand Name: Dolophine
While there are other medicines that are frequently used in the treatment of high blood pressure, methyldopa is the preferred choice of physicians for treating the same condition in pregnant women. It works by lowering the activity in the sympathetic nervous system that relaxes the blood vessels. Users commonly experience agitation, depression, mild psychosis, and compromised sexual function on methyldopa.
Brand Name: Aldomet
Metoprolol is a type of β1 receptor blocker medication, it is used in the treatment of high blood pressure, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and heart failure. Interestingly, it is also prescribed to people that experience performance anxiety. An alarming 52% of metoprolol users have reported erectile dysfunction because of it. Additionally, nightmares and insomnia are frequently experienced as well.
Brand Name: Lopressor
Morphine is one of the most frequently used opiates for pain management that is usually administered after a severe accident; however, morphine tablets are also prescribed to patients with chronic pain. Morphine is also one of the oldest opiates, as it was developed in 1803. It alters the body’s response to pain, leading to euphoria. According to The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, nearly 58% of the patients on morphine develop erectile dysfunction.
Brand Name: Morphigesic
Another antiandrogen is used for the treatment of prostate cancer and as a feminizing therapy agent for transgender women. Inability to achieve an erection, enlargement of breasts in men, depression, and fatigue are commonly experienced during the course of nilutamide.
Brand Name: Nilandron
It is an anticholinergic drug that blocks certain neurotransmission, resulting in the desensitization and relaxing of the muscles. Unsurprisingly, it is used to relieve muscle pain, but it is also useful for Parkinson’s disease. Since it works by relaxing the muscles, it can induce dizziness, constipation, and sexual dysfunction.
Brand Name: Norflex
Phenelzine is a type of monoamine oxidase inhibitor, it works by boosting the balancing chemicals in the brain. Interestingly, monoamine oxidase inhibitors are considered the first antidepressants. It is used for the treatment of the major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. Dizziness, blurry vision, sedation, and sexual dysfunction are commonly experienced on phenelzine.
Brand Name: Nardil
Sertraline works by inhibiting the reuptake of released serotonin in the brain, resulting in an excess of serotonin, which helps with conditions like depression, panic disorder, and social anxiety. Since it works by attaching to certain receptors that enhance the mood without doing anything, it lowers the sex drive as well. A short duration of sertraline usage and lack of sex drive can lead to erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation.
Brand Name: Zoloft
Listed as the World Health Organization’s essential medicine, trihexyphenidyl is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Both the muscles and nerve impulses are slowed down upon the administration of this drug. While it provides relief to patients with Parkinson’s disease, it also relaxes pelvic muscles, resulting in erectile dysfunction.
Brand Name: Artane