If you experience erectile dysfunction while taking antidepressants, it may be a cause-and-effect issue.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to fight erectile dysfunction without going cold turkey on your meds.
An article published by Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing reports that certain types of antidepressants, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can cause sexual problems, including erectile dysfunction.
But it’s important to note that, according to the article, approximately 35 to 50% of people with untreated major depression experience some type of sexual dysfunction before going on any medication. This means that the erectile dysfunction could also be caused by the depression.
Erectile dysfunction caused by depression and certain antidepressants
Still, SSRIs can also cause erectile dysfunction, so it’s worth trying to address the problem if you take any of the most common SSRI medications, including Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Prozac, among others.
Strategies if your SSRI is causing erectile dysfunction
If you and your doctor think it’s the SSRI causing the erectile dysfunction, consider the following strategies:
- Wait awhile. Sometimes side effects subside with time, so if you just started your SSRI, take a wait-and-see approach.
- Lower the dose. If you can take a lower dose of your SSRI and still reap its benefits, you may be able to solve the erectile dysfunction problem.
- Switch antidepressants. Other antidepressants, including Wellbutrin, work differently than SSRIs, affecting dopamine and norepinephrine instead. Changing to a different type of antidepressant may help your erectile dysfunction.
- Have sex when during non-peak hours of your SSRI’s effectiveness. If you notice that your antidepressant creates worse side effects at different points of the day, such as four hours after you take it, try having sex before you take it.
- Add Viagra. Some men with erectile dysfunction get significant relief from erectile dysfunction by taking Viagra. Viagra is available by prescription, which helps the FDA ensure that what you’re getting is pure, safe and effective.