Learn The Top 10 Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

One cause of erectile dysfunction that can sometimes be overlooked is medication. Find out the top 10 drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction.

The Promescent Team
Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 12/22/2023

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drugs that cause ed

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common yet complex issue. It's important to understand all its potential causes and implications.

One cause that can sometimes be overlooked is medication-induced ED. There are a variety of drugs that can potentially make it more difficult to get an erection.

Quick FAQs

Different drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction include SSRIs, beta blockers, and diuretics.

Talk to your doctor if you suspect your medication may be causing ED. They may adjust the dosage or suggest an alternative.

Lifestyle factors that can cause ED include having a poor diet and living a sedentary lifestyle.

We’ll go over some of the most common ones that can affect sexual function. We’ll also discuss other causes of ED that need to be kept in mind.

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition that affects millions of men worldwide. It is characterized by the inability to get or keep an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. 

Factors influencing this condition can range from physiological to psychological and, as we will discuss further, certain medications.

Medications and Erectile Dysfunction

A vast array of prescription drugs are known to have side effects, and unfortunately, some of these side effects may include ED. It's estimated that approximately 25% of all ED cases are actually a result of medication.

There are several types of medications that could potentially cause ED. Here is a list of some of the most common ones:

Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

These medications, like fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, can sometimes lead to sexual side effects including ED. They may impact the neurotransmitters in the brain involved in sexual arousal and erections.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Similar to SSRIs, SNRIs such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) can also cause sexual side effects by altering neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Drugs like amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor) can cause ED because they interfere with the action of chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve signals for sexual arousal.

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers, including propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin), are commonly used for hypertension and heart conditions. 

They can cause ED by reducing nerve signals necessary for an erection and decreasing heart rate, which can limit blood flow to the penis.


Diuretics, also known as "water pills" and often used to control high blood pressure, drugs like hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide) can lead to ED by decreasing blood flow to the penis and decreasing the force of blood flow necessary to achieve and maintain an erection.

Pro Tip: VitaFLUX Nitric Oxide Booster helps to relax blood vessels and allow more blood flow through increased nitric oxide production.

H2 Antagonists

Medications like ranitidine (Zantac) and cimetidine (Tagamet), used for peptic ulcer disease and gastric reflux, can cause ED by inhibiting the action of testosterone, a hormone essential for sexual desire and erections.

5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors

These medications, such as finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), used for benign prostatic hyperplasia and hair loss, can lead to ED by decreasing the levels of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone crucial for male sexual function.


Antipsychotic drugs like risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa), used for treating conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can cause ED by blocking dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in sexual desire.


Medications such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), used for anxiety disorders and insomnia, can lead to ED by suppressing the central nervous system, which can affect nerve signals needed for sexual arousal and erections.

Opioid Analgesics

Long-term use of painkillers like morphine and oxycodone can lead to hormonal changes, such as decreased testosterone levels, which can cause ED.

Managing Medication-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

If you suspect your medication is causing ED, it's crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider. Do not discontinue or change your medication without professional advice.

Recognizing medication-induced ED can be challenging, as ED can occur due to various other reasons. However, if ED symptoms appear soon after starting a new medication, it could indicate a potential link.

Management strategies can range from dose adjustment to switching to a different drug. In some cases, your healthcare provider might suggest lifestyle changes or recommend treatments specifically for ED.

Lifestyle Factors

While medications may be a significant contributor to ED, it's essential not to overlook the role of lifestyle factors. Certain habits can increase the risk of ED or worsen the condition.

Conversely, healthy changes can alleviate ED symptoms and improve sexual health. Here are a few lifestyle factors to consider as possible causes of ED:

  • Poor Dietary Habits: A diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, and low in fruits and vegetables can contribute to ED.
  • Physical Inactivity: Lack of regular physical activity can lead to ED, mainly due to its impact on blood circulation and heart health.
  • Smoking and Alcohol: Both these habits have been associated with ED. Excessive alcohol can cause temporary ED, while smoking can lead to long-term problems.

The silver lining is that making positive changes to your lifestyle can help manage ED effectively. 

Incorporating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can improve cardiovascular health, thus aiding in better erectile function.

Regular physical activity promotes healthy blood circulation, vital for good erectile health.

Cutting down on alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of ED.


Erectile Dysfunction can be a challenging condition to deal with. But knowing what’s causing it will help with determining a proper treatment plan.

Medications that are helping you with one condition can sometimes cause erectile dysfunction. Consider whether the condition starts occurring before or after the medication was started.

It’s important to remember that not everyone taking the medications listed will experience ED. Be sure not to adjust or discontinue your dosage using them without discussing with a healthcare professional.

Adjusting your medication along with adopting healthy lifestyle choices will give you a good chance of treating ED.

The Promescent Team

The Promescent Team

Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.


Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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