High Blood Pressure and Erectile Dysfunction
When treating impotence, you need to lower your blood pressure first. Some people are able to do this through a healthy lifestyle. Others also need to take medications to lower blood pressure.
The problem for many men is that some high-pressure drugs can actually cause erectile dysfunction. Thus, a man will not want to continue taking such a drug, especially if before that high blood pressure did not cause him any symptoms. About 70% of men who have experienced side effects of drugs from high blood pressure stop taking them.
Many drugs for hypertension are associated with erectile dysfunction. But some of them do not cause this problem. Moreover, certain high-pressure drugs can even improve erectile function in some men.
It is known that problems with erection can be caused by diuretics (such as hydrochlorothiazide) and beta-blockers (e. g., Atenolol). Usually, it is these drugs that doctor prescribes if you are not able to lower your blood pressure with diet and exercise.
If you are prescribed diuretics, you should take them until blood pressure returns to normal. If impotence does not go away, or your blood pressure rises again, your doctor may prescribe you another drug that is less likely to cause impotence. A combination of drugs can also help reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
If you are taking beta-blockers, you can ask a doctor about risks of erectile dysfunction. You may be better off switching to drugs that are less likely to have such side effects.
Drugs to Lower Blood Pressure That are Less Likely to Cause ED
Some groups of drugs from high blood pressure rarely cause impotence as a side effect. These include:
- ACE inhibitors;
- calcium channel blockers;
- blockers of angiotensin II receptors.
ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme) – such as Lotensin, Capoten, Zestril, Prinivil, etc. – expand blood vessels and improve blood supply. Impotence is rarely a side effect and is observed only in 1% of patients. This group includes several different drugs. Probably, all of them are not inclined to cause erectile dysfunction.
There are also drugs known as calcium channel blockers, such as Diltiazem, Verapamil or Amlodipine. Drugs of this group rarely cause impotence. However, some individual drugs may be more likely to cause erection problems than others. The doctor will tell you these drugs.
In general, alpha blockers rarely cause problems with erection. Moreover, in one study, a small number of men had 100% improvement in erectile function as a result of 2 years using alpha-blocker called Cardura.
Drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers not only do not cause erectile problems but can even improve sexual function in men with high blood pressure.
A 2001 study, published in American Journal of Medical Sciences, studied Cozaar preparation, which relates to angiotensin II receptor blockers. At first, only 7% of men and women reported general improvement in sexual health. But after 12 weeks of using Cozaar, 58% of men and women positively evaluated their sex life. Percentage of men who suffered impotence decreased from 75% to 12%.
Another study compared the drug Diovan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker, with Korege, a beta-blocker. A study published in American Journal of Hypertension in 2001 compared effect of both drugs on blood pressure and frequency of sexual intercourses. The drugs showed equally good results in lowering blood pressure. But people taking angiotensin II receptor blocker were more likely to have sex for 16 weeks of treatment. They reported that a month ago they had sex about 8 times a month, and a month later – about 10 times. People who take beta-blockers are much less likely to have sex: 8 times – a month ago, and 4 times – a month later.
If the Drug Causes ED
Talk with your doctor if you think your drug causes erectile dysfunction. If the cause is only a drug, rather than high blood pressure, switching to another drug can solve the problem. Never stop taking the drug without doctor’s consent.
But high blood pressure in itself can cause impotence. In this case, talk with your doctor about the use of drugs such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra.
However, these drugs should be taken only when your blood pressure returns to normal. They are unsafe for men with uncontrolled hypertension. They are also unsafe for men who take alpha-blockers or nitrates to treat heart diseases.