The role of painkillers in development of erectile dysfunction

The researchers proved that frequent use of painkillers increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. The article with this conclusion appeared in Spine. It was written on the basis of the study. 11 thousand men took part in it. All participants suffered from back pain. The researchers analyzed information trying to determine if men who frequently took opioids for pain relief were more prone to develop erectile dysfunction. 4-month treatment course of high-dose opioids affected negatively 19% of men who faced the problem of erectile dysfunction after treatment. The other group didn't take painkillers. Only 7% of men from the second group encountered the problem of erectile dysfunction.

But this not a full list of unpleasant surprises. Men who took painkillers also acquired testosterone problems.

Male sexual health deteriorates with age. This is a usual thing therefore it does not affect only those who took part in this study. According to calculations men from 60 to 69 had 14 times higher probability to obtain prescriptions for erectile dysfunction in comparison with a young group of men (aged 18-29). The participants were more than 60 years old. There is nothing surprising in the fact that they received ED prescriptions.

Still there are some conditions that increase this probability. There are physical factors that affect men. There are diseases such as depression that kill the desire. When patients take sedative hypnotics medications they are more prone to get ED prescriptions.

But the researchers added that even in the other age group the results would be the same. High doses of opioids raise the likelihood of facing ED problems 50% more often in the group taking opioids than in the other one.

The author of the research, professor Richard A.Deyo made a conclusion that men taking opioid medicines for pain for a long time bring to a bigger risk of ED. Painkillers do not cause ED but professionals and patients should be aware of this link when the decision about use of opioids is taken.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that people use opioids more often now. The sales of these medications have increased 4 times within the last decade.

The journal Pain also published the research results that state that 4.3 million Americans take opioid medications regularly. Here are medications that are frequently taken by patients: morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone.

The leading author of the research Richard A.Deyo said about the negative consequences entailed by durable use of opioids. Patients develop addiction, sleep apnea, overdosage, decreased hormone production and ED.

The CDC report from 2011 says about growing number of USA citizens who died of overdosage when painkillers were taken with heroine or cocaine. The team of researchers studied 11327 men who complained of back pain in 2004. The researchers analyzed medical records of the patients before they visited doctor and after it. 6 months records were studied to find out if men received ED prescriptions, hormone replacement prescriptions or not.

They received 4 categories as a result of these studies:

  • Men who hasn't taken opioids
  • Men who took high-dose opioids up to 3 months
  • Men with episodic intake of opioids for 3-4months (up to 10 refills)
  • Men with durable intake of opioids over 4months (more than 10 refills)

High dose is the medication that includes more than 120 mg of the component that can be a morphine equivalent. Medications under 120mg are called low dose.

In this way we can conclude that there is connection between erectile dysfunction and use of painkilling opioids.