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Can antidepressants cause erectile dysfunction?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Antidepressants can get between you and your lover in several ways. The most common type, called SSRIs (Prozac and its cousins), can lower your sexual desire and reduce the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a quick-acting chemical your body produces that helps increase blood flow throughout your body, including your penis when you’re aroused. Of course, depression isn’t so good for your love life either. The good news is that you have antidepressant choices, and all antidepressants do NOT act the same way in the bedroom. Talk to your doctor. He may also recommend other approaches, such as a weekend “vacation” from your antidepressant, so that it doesn’t interfere with your love life. But don’t experiment on your own. Find a good doc who you can talk to about your depression and erectile dysfunction (ED).
Some medications that treat depression can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). Antidepressants can block nerve impulses to the penis to cause problems getting or maintaining an erection. These medications can also lower your sex drive, making it difficult to reach orgasm.

If you think your antidepressant is causing ED, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication to discuss a different dose or switching to another drug. The doctor may also prescribe a medication to improve your sex drive and sexual function, or may talk to you about ways to change your sexual routine to increase satisfaction.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
While antidepressants may help you get your life back on track when you're experiencing depression, an unfortunate side effect is that they can sometimes send your sex life off course. If you are taking antidepressants and having erection problems, this is one of the first places you and your doctor should look. When you have depression, you have many choices for antidepressants. Work with your doctor to find an antidepressant that helps you feel better but doesn't impair your sex life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.