Drugs and Erectile Dysfunction (part 1)

Drugs & ED

Erectile Dysfunction is the most common form of sexual dysfunction in men. It is defined as the inability to reach and/or maintain an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Occasional ED is becoming a frequent occurrence, due to increasing stressful environment we live in.

It is a multifactorial condition, which means there may be many reasons causing it.

In this blog we’ll talk about various types of drugs that may affect your sexual function and lead to sexual dysfunction.

There are several recreational and frequently abused prescription drugs that can cause sexual dysfunction mainly in the form of ED – Erectile Dysfunction.

These are a few examples:


Well, alcohol is not a drug, but a very commonly used substance that may lead to abuse/addiction, and in consequence contribute to ED.

Amphetamines are a group of drugs that act on the CNS – Central Nervous System as a stimulant and/or anorectic (appetite suppressant). Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Dexedrine, along with illicit amphetamines like methamphetamine and ecstasy, are highly addictive and disruptive when used as recreational drugs. When used for recreational purposes or abused, they have many severe health consequences, ED being one of them.

Barbiturates are another group of drugs that act on the CNS, effective as anxiolytics(reduce anxiety), hypnotics(induce sleep), and anticonvulsants(treat seizures). They have physical and psychological addiction potential as well as overdose potential among other possible adverse effects. We’ll discuss more about these when presenting prescription drugs and their effect on sexual function.

Opiates include controlled prescription substances that are derived from opium, which is a chemical that naturally occurs in poppy seeds and plants. These drugs, which are clinically used for treating mild to severe pain in patients, are also referred to as “opioid painkillers.” Due to their intensely calming effects, opioid painkillers have tremendously high rates of abuse, which, in many cases, can lead to addiction. It probably is known to you that we are living in an opioid epidemic crisis that caused so much collateral damage nationwide besides health related issues.

Methadone is part of a category of opioids drugs. Initially doctors used it to treat people with extreme pain. Nowadays it is prescribed as part of a treatment program for an addiction to heroin or narcotic painkillers.

Even though it’s safer than some other narcotics, taking it can lead to addiction or abuse.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, cocaine is an illegal drug. It is a strong CNS stimulant. Long-term abuse may lead serious ED problems.

Marijuana, also called weed, herb, pot, grass, bud, ganja, Mary Jane, and a vast number of other slang terms—is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. It is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used primarily for medical or recreational purposes. Despite its growing popularity and use for many medicinal purposes, as well as recreational, it appears that the psychogenic component in it (THC) may have serious negative impact on some individuals’ health, including reproductive system.

Nicotine is a plant alkaloid, found in the tobacco plant. It is addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. As a result, peripheral vasoconstriction, tachycardia, and elevated blood pressure may be observed with nicotine intake. Because of these effects, it may be a big contributing factor to erectile dysfunction.

In our next blog article we’ll briefly discuss some of the most commonly prescribed medications for chronic conditions that affect sexual health. Stay tuned.

In the meantime you can contact one of our licensed practitioners for an online consult at www.myswink.com or call our pharmacy at 1-866-myswink.




  1. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M.


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