Sex and Medicine

Health Alert 31

You may be taking a medication causing sexual dysfunction. Over 200 prescription drugs are known to cause sexual problems in both men and women. Common over-the-counter medications can also have side effects in the bedroom.

Many categories of prescription drugs can affect both sexual desire and sexual performance including:

  • Many blood pressure drugs
  • Almost all antidepressants
  • Some indigestion drugs
  • Most sedatives

Even ordinary drugstore antihistamines can cause this unwanted side effect.

Most patients I encounter aren’t aware that their medications are responsible for their loss of sexual desire, stamina or performance. They were never informed to look for this side effect and never suspected that their medications were the cause, once the side effect began.

Here is a list of some of the worst offenders.

  • Common Medications
  • That May Cause Impotence
  • Blood Pressure Norvasc
  • Vasotec
  • Lopressor
  • Antidepressant Zoloft
  • Prozac
  • Buspar
  • Antihistamine Dramamine
  • Benadryl
  • Digestion Zantac
  • Muscle Relaxant Norflex

If you are taking one of these drugs, your best bet of maintaining your sexual health is to find alternatives. But if you have to take them, there are natural remedies for the sexual problems they create.

* Herbal Libido Enhancers *

For centuries, people around the world have been improving their sexual health with herbs. Both men and women can use herbs to enhance libido naturally and safely.

If you are a man, the two best herbs to boost your libido and sexual capacity are:

  • Yohimbine
  • Muira Puama

Yohimbine is derived from the bark of an African tree. It has been used for years to restore sexual vigor and desire. Many studies have shown that yohimbine works. A German study examined 83 men with erectile dysfunction. The men took either yohimbine or a placebo for 8 weeks. 71% of the men who took yohimbine had an improvement in sexual function.1

I recommend 250 mg of yohimbine extract daily. It can easily be found in health food or vitamin stores.

Muira Puama is derived from the bark of a bush that grows in Brazil. Brazilian tribes use the extract as a cure for impotence. Researchers have given more attention to muira puama in recent years. One French study looked at muira puama’s effect on impotence. 262 impotent men were given muira puama for 2 weeks. Over half of the men reported an improvement in their erectile dysfunction. 2 I recommend 100 mg of muira puama extract daily. It can also be found in health food or nutrition stores.

If you are a woman, you can improve your sex life with:

  • Damiana
  • Ginkgo

Damiana leaves come from an aromatic shrub native to Mexico. For generations, the leaves have been made into a tea to increase sexual desire. Damiana is traditionally known as an energizer and aphrodisiac. You can now find it in supplement form.

Ginkgo has become popular for memory improvement in recent years. Ginkgo promotes circulation, improving blood flow to the brain. But, the brain is not the only body part that can benefit from an increase in blood flow. Gingkos aphrodisiac qualities may derive from improved blood flow to the genitals.

A recent study examined an herbal supplement containing both Damiana and Ginkgo. Women participants received either the supplement or a placebo. After one month, over 73% of the women receiving the herbal supplement experienced a marked improvement in their sexual satisfaction. 3

I recommend taking 400 mg of Damiana and 250 mg of Ginkgo. If your sex life is suffering from the side effects of drugs, talk to your doctor about stopping the drug. If you can’t, with a little help from Mother Nature, you may not need to suffer.

Al Sears, MD

1 Vogt H. et al., Double-blind placebo controlled safety and efficacy trial with yohimbine hydrocloride in the treatment of nonorganic erectile dysfunction. Int J Imot Rs 1997; 9: 155-161

2 Waynberg J. First International Congress on Ethnopharmacology, Strabourg, France June 5-9, 1990

3 Ito T. A double blind placebo-controlled study of a nutritional supplement for enhancement of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther 2001 Oct-Dec; 27(5): 541-549