Skip to content

Health & Sex

Font Size
A
A
A

When Good Drugs Lead to Bad Sex

Lost That Lovin' Feeling? It Could Be Your Medicine.

WebMD Feature

April 16, 2001 -- One in four American adults has high blood pressure, putting them at risk for heart attack and stroke. Nearly one in 10 suffers from a depressive illness. Luckily, an expanding array of prescription drugs is available to help treat and control both conditions.

Â

Recommended Related to Sex & Relationships

Marriage Makeover: "2 Jobs, 2 Kids — Where Does Our Marriage Fit In?"

With two fast-paced careers, a toddler, and another baby on the way, Meghan and Jeremy Wilker have let their marriage drop to the bottom of their to-do list. Can REDBOOK Love Network expert Jane Greer, Ph.D., help them finally make time for each other? Meghan and Jeremy Wilker are both at the top of their career game. Meghan, 32, runs a company that constructs Websites, and Jeremy, 38, recently launched two companies: one sells fine-art photo prints online; the other is a digital photo...

Read the Marriage Makeover: "2 Jobs, 2 Kids — Where Does Our Marriage Fit In?" article > >

The bad news? As these drugs lower blood pressure and lift mood, they can also mess up normal sexual functioning. So while a given medicine might restore physical and mental health, it can also spark erectile dysfunction, lack of interest in sex, and the potential destruction of a relationship.

Â

The key, say doctors who have studied drugs for hypertension and depression, is to seek help from a physician who is up to date on what treatments are out there and who is willing to work to find the best ones for you . Together, you can choose one that will keep you as healthy as possible while doing the least damage -- or perhaps none at all -- to your sex life.

Lowering pressure

The search for what doctors call "high-yield, low-risk" treatment of high blood pressure has been going on for decades, writes Peter Rudd, MD, a professor of medicine and chief of the division of general internal medicine at Stanford (California) University Medical Center, in an editorial published in the April 1, 2000, issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Â

In recent years, the old standbys -- thiazide diuretics (such as HCTZ, Maxide) and the beta-blocker drugs (such as Lopressor) have been joined by a tongue-twisting litany of other drug classes. You will likely hear your doctor refer to other types of blood pressure-lowering drugs known as alpha-blockers (Regitine, Dibenzyline), calcium antagonists (Cardizem, Plendil), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (Lotensin), angiotensin II receptor antagonists (Cozaar), and direct vasodilators (Minoxidil, Apresoline). Each works differently to lower pressure.

Â

And despite that smorgasbord of drugs, Rudd tells WebMD, the truth is there is much yet to be learned about the effects of blood pressure-lowering drugs on sexual functioning.

Â

And in women, that goes double, as the "data about female dysfunction is scant," he says.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
 
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
 
Life Cycle of a Penis
Article
HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
 
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Quiz
Couple in bed
Video
 
6 Tips For Teens
Article
Close-up of young man
Article
 
screening tests for men
Slideshow
HPV Vaccine Future
Article