Last Updated on September 22, 2019 by Dr. Philip Schein MD

Healthcare experts are adamant high cholesterol levels are harmful for the health. There are many causes of elevation, but anyway patients who have faced such a problem need an appropriate treatment. Mercifully, there are many medications that really work by decreasing chol levels through different mechanism. There is one awkward moment: some of them might cause problems with male potency.

Side Effects of Medicines and Erectile Dysfunction

ED might be induced by organic and psychogenic factors. Some medicines belong to possible organic causes. The list of potential offenders is extensive, so we will name only some groups with examples:

statins side effects
  • diuretics and high arterial pressure medications (Vasotec, Capoten, Tenormin)
  • anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants (Zoloft, Prozac, Serax)
  • antihistamines (Antivert, Vistaril)
  • antiarrythmic drugs (Norpace)
  • medications for Parkinson’s disease treatment (Biperiden)
  • NSAIDs (Naproxen)
  • remedies for treating elevated cholesterol rates (Lipitor)

By the way, ED may be caused by diabetes. Read our comprehensive article:

Diabetes-Induced Erectile Dysfunction: Prevention and Treatment

A Short Overview of High-Chol Medications

Before taking any medication, first and foremost, you need to have a medical consultation and determine rates of cholesterol in the body. Well, how to quantify level of cholesterol in the blood? There are special blood tests, which are available in many clinics. It is recommended to regularly undergo them, because people with high cholesterol levels may have absolutely no symptoms.

high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction

Statins are the most prescribed medications for treating the condition. This subgroup of anti-chol pharmaceuticals includes Lipitor, Fluvastatin, Pravastatin, and Lovastatin. They inhibit cholesterol synthesis by the liver. This leads to a decrease in amount of the so-called “bad cholesterol” in the blood. However, statin drugs cannot destroy already formed plaques in vessels.

There are also other types of high-chol medications, however, we will pay more attention to statins, as they have been associated with unpleasant side effects for men’s health.

Can High Cholesterol Medications (Statins) Lead to ED in Men?

Erectile dysfunction is not a widespread effect, and it is even not indicated in many medical articles describing statins. However, links to ED were found in several scientific studies.

Let’s analyze some of them. Xiang Cai, Ye Tian et al., Chinese researchers, reported in 2014 that treatment with statins might decrease testosterone and aggravate impotence symptoms. Testosterone is an essential hormone for healthy sex drive and its reduction might be fatal for sexual life of males who already suffer from ED.

However, as they say, nothing is bad without being good for something. Other studies show statins might actually treat ED. For example, John B. Kostis and Jeanne M. Dobrzynski at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2019) studied a large array of data and stated: small improvement in erectile function is observed with statins. Impotence may be partially caused by high cholesterol, so statin meds can help to eliminate an underlying cause. Hence, it is not a good idea to abandon the medication intake, check your healthcare provider first.

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I’m an Oncologist and Hematology Specialist primary located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. I have over 55 years of experience in the medical field and more than 20 years of practice. I’m skilled at the treatment & diagnosis of a large array of ailments & diseases in adults.

Board certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine Certification in Internal Medicine
  • American Board of Hematology Certification in Hematology
  • American Board of Medical Oncology Certification in Medical Oncology