Antidepressants cause problems in all areas of sexual function, probably by blocking the action of three brain chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells: The adverse effects of clomipramine Anafranil , for instance, include ejaculation failure reported by more than 40 percent of men taking the drug , impotence reported by at least 15 percent of patients and decreased libido reported by at least 18 percent of patients.
Talk with your doctor or other health care provider about lowering your dose sexual side effects are often dose-related or whether nondrug therapies might work just as well or better for you than a drug. Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious psychiatric conditions. How they can cause sexual dysfunction: They also increase levels of the hormone prolactin, which can lead to ED, reduced libido and difficulties achieving orgasm.
And, like antidepressants, they block the action of acetylcholine, which researchers believe can lead to problems in all areas of sexual function. The sexual side effects of these drugs have been difficult to tease out because many of the psychiatric conditions the drugs are used to treat are themselves associated with sexual problems.
Nonetheless, the incidence of sexual dysfunction associated with antipsychotic drugs ranges in different studies from 45 percent to as high as 90 percent. Talk with your doctor or other health care provider about the possibility of reducing dosage or switching to another antipsychotic drug. Antipsychotics pose heightened death risks for older people with dementia.
Benzodiazepines, commonly known as tranquilizers, are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures. The sedative and muscle-relaxant properties of benzodiazepines are thought to lessen sexual interest, excitement and sensation. Benzodiazepines may also interfere with the production of testosterone, a hormone important for sexual desire in women as well as men. The sexual problems most frequently associated with benzodiazepines are diminished orgasms, pain during intercourse, ED and ejaculation problems.
And for all the conditions listed above, there are alternative drug and nondrug treatments. Melatonin , in doses from 3 milligrams to 10 milligrams before bedtime, for instance, sometimes helps to reestablish healthy sleep patterns. Any advice or information provided should not be followed in lieu of a personal consultation with a trained medical professional. More answers from Ask the Pharmacist 6. H2 blockers, also called H2-receptor antagonists, are used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, including gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD , gastric ulcers, peptic ulcers and erosive esophagitis.
Cimetidine Tagamet is associated with a wider range of sex-related side effects than other H2 blockers, including ranitidine Zantac , famotidine Pepcid and nizatidine Axid.
If you are taking an H2 blocker for GERD or other reflux problems — and H2 blockers, with the exception of cimetidine, are the treatment of choice for older people — changes in your diet and sleep habits may be helpful. Some of my patients have reported success with the home remedy of apple cider vinegar and honey one tablespoon of each in a glass of water , taken throughout the day, along with melatonin at bedtime. Anticonvulsant drugs are typically used to control seizures in people who have epilepsy.
Studies have shown that these drugs can lower testosterone levels, which can depress desire and interfere with arousal erection problems for men, lubrication problems for women. They also can impair the ability to have orgasms. Some newer anticonvulsants like gabapentin Neurontin and topiramate Topamax may have fewer side effects than older drugs like carbamazepine Tegretol and phenytoin Dilantin , so ask your doctor or other health care provider if switching medications makes sense for you — and your sex life.