In Part I of the series "What to do about sexual side effects of your high blood pressure medication", we looked at how prescription high blood pressure drugs and medications can cause erectile dysfunction, impotence and loss of libido (not good).In this post we look at the specific BP drugs that can impact your sex life and present other drugs that should not have these side effects
Diuretics and Beta Blockers BP Meds May Cause Erectile Dysfunction
One of the first types of medications that a doctor would prescribe to someone with high blood pressure is diuretics (also known as water pills). These are pills that essentially get rid of excess salt and water within your body, thereby reducing overall blood volume and therefore overall blood pressure. However, because diuretics also reduce fluid levels in the body, they can also result in decreased blood flow to the penis—which is necessary for erection.Beta blockers are also another common medication that doctors prescribe to their patients. These drugs reduce the effects of a body hormone called epinephrine, which helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Unfortunately, beta blockers can also block your erection. Epinephrine plays a part in the nervous system, which is very much needed in the realm of getting stimulated.Here’s a brief list of brand names for diuretics and beta-blockers. See any that are familiar to you?Diuretics: Clorpres, Tenoretic, Lopressor, Lasix, ZaroxolynBeta-blockers: Atenolol, Sectral, Monocor, Coreg, Levatol, Inderal
To cut to the chase, both diuretics and beta blockers are good at lowering high blood pressure, but sometimes they may also come with side effects, which include erectile dysfunction.Make sure the medications you or your partner takes are not the reason why you can’t have fun in bed!
BP Drugs that Should Not Cause Erectile Dysfunction
Many other high blood pressure drugs are just as effective for reducing high blood pressure but don’t carry the risk of causing erectile dysfunction.These include ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers and ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers). These medications target other hormone systems that also contribute to decreasing blood pressure, but don’t necessarily affect sexual function or cause impotence.A brief list of these medications and brand names include:ACE inhibitors: Lotensin, Capoten, Zestril, PrinivilCalcium channel blockers: Diltiazem, Amlodipine, VerapamilAlpha blockers: CarduraARBs: Losartan, Cozaar, DiovanConsider this list to be the start of your research to figure out which medications work best for you.
What to do if you’re already on hypertension medications or considering taking them?
Always consult with your doctor first! Talk to your doctor about the side effects that you’re having. Health care is a conversation, not a prescription. Talk with your doctor about what you’re concerned about and discuss how you want to manage blood pressure.Never stop taking a medication without your doctor’s consent. If you get your doctor’s okay, you might be able to temporarily stop taking blood pressure medication to see if your sex life improves.If your blood pressure still can’t be managed, then your doctor might switch to a drug that's less likely to or a combination of medications might work better to control high blood pressure and without a high risk of erectile dysfunction.Whatever you choose, always make sure that your blood pressure is in line and in a safe range. That means daily tracking and recording. Use a reliable blood pressure cuff and the free personal Hello Heart App (iOS, Android).Only you know your health and life concerns (like sex) the best.The Hello Heart app (iOS, Android) is designed to empower you to be involved in the medical decisions that you, your partner, and your doctor make together.
Hello Heart does not provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor about your individual care.
1. Gazit T, Gutman M, Beatty AL. Assessment of Hypertension Control Among Adults Participating in a Mobile Technology Blood Pressure Self-management Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2127008, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.27008. Accessed October 19, 2022. (Some study authors are employed by Hello Heart. Because of the observational nature of the study, causal conclusions cannot be made. See additional important study limitations in the publication. This study showed that 108 participants with baseline blood pressure over 140/90 who had been enrolled in the program for 3 years and had application activity during weeks 148-163 were able to reduce their blood pressure by 21 mmHg using the Hello Heart program.) (2) Livongo Health, Inc. Form S-1 Registration Statement. https:/www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1639225/000119312519185159/d731249ds1.htm. Published June 28, 2019. Accessed October 19, 2022. (In a pilot study that lasted six weeks, individuals starting with a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg, on average, had a 10 mmHG reduction.) NOTE: This comparison is not based on a head-to-head study, and the difference in results may be due in part to different study protocols.
2. Validation Institute. 2021 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2022). https://validationinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Hello_Heart-Savings-2021- Final.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-fundedemployer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)