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Drugs that may cause impotence


Many medicines and recreational drugs can affect a man's sexual arousal and sexual performance. What causes impotence in one man may not affect another man.

Talk to your health care provider if you think that a drug is having a negative effect on your sexual performance. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor. Some medicines may lead to life-threatening reactions if you do not take care when stopping or changing them.

The following is a list of some medicines and drugs you can buy without a prescription that may cause impotence in men.

Antidepressants and other psychiatric medicines:

Antihistamine medicines (certain classes of antihistamines are also used to treat heartburn):

High blood pressure medicines and diuretics ("water pills"):

Thiazides are the most common cause of impotence among the high blood pressure medicines. The next most common cause is beta blockers. Alpha blockers tend to be less likely to cause this problem.

Parkinson's disease medicines:

Chemotherapy and hormonal medicines:

Other medicines:

Opiate analgesics (painkillers):

Recreational drugs:


McVary KT. Clinical practice: Erectile dysfunction. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:2472-2481.

Waller DG, Sampson AP, Renwick AG, Hiller K. Erectile dysfunction. In: Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 16.

Review Date: 1/21/2015
Reviewed By: Scott Miller, MD, urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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