Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

Font Size

Sleep Apnea May Spur Erectile Dysfunction

ED Drug Cialis Helped but Didn't Overcome Problem in Lab Tests on Mice
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 12, 2008 -- Sleep apnea may make erectile dysfunction more likely, and the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis may ease but not erase that problem, new research shows.

Those findings come from lab tests on mice, but the researchers say that erectile dysfunction (ED) is common among men with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops several times per night.

In the new study, male mice showed less sexual activity within a week of being exposed to brief but chronic bouts of oxygen deprivation during sleep. That includes attempts to mate with female mice and spontaneous erections.

The researchers, who included the University of Louisville's Galia Soukhova-O'Hare, ground up Cialis pills and mixed them into peanut butter for the male mice. The mice became more sexually active, but not quite as active as they had been before the study started.

How were sleep apnea and ED linked? Testosterone wasn't the problem; testosterone levels were unaffected by sleep apnea. And there weren't any problems with the mice's anatomy, either.

But the mice did have lower levels of an enzyme needed to make nitric oxide during the experiment, and they may have needed nitric oxide to help with blood flow for erections.

The researchers stop short of recommending ED drugs for men with sleep apnea, and they also note that using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat sleep apnea can help with erectile dysfunction.

The findings appear in the Sept. 15 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Today on WebMD

handsome midadult man
11 tips to protect your erection.
man and woman on beach
How much do you know about ED?
stress in bed
Things that can deflate erections.
senior couple hugging
How medications work.
concerned man
stress in bed
Life Cycle of a Penis
Mens Body Problem
bored man
Lamm Erections Over Life
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
senior couple hugging

WebMD Special Sections