Study Finds No Link Between Statins, Hypertension Drugs, and Erectile Dysfunction

New research suggests that men may be able to scratch some cholesterol drugs and blood pressure medications off the list of things that may be causing erectile dysfunction. 

In a study published last month in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, researchers found no link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and hypertension drugs or a class of popular cholesterol drugs known as statins, which includes Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor.

The findings comes amid growing concerns that certain medications, or a combination of those drugs, may be linked to an erectile dysfunction (ED) risk for men. A study by researchers at Kaiser Permamente published in 2011 warned that men taking 10 or more drugs at once were at a higher risk, and that the more medications men took, the higher their chances of sexual performance problems.

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This latest study looked at data from the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation-3 (HOPE-3) randomized control trial. It involved 2,153 men with a mean age of 61.5 years, with a follow-up of about 6 years. All men in the study were at least 55 years old with at least one risk factor for heart problems. Men were given either Crestor, the hypertension drug Atacand HCT, both, or a placebo.

According to the researchers, there appear to be no differences in erectile function regardless of what drugs the clinical trial subjects received.

A study published nearly a year ago linked erectile dysfunction problems to the hair loss drug Propecia, and it’s prostate treatment version, Proscar.

Propecia Risks

Propecia (finasteride) is a prescription medication marketed by Merck to help men restore natural hair loss that occurs with male pattern baldness. The drug was originally developed as an enlarged prostate treatment and marketed as Proscar in 1992. It was later approved to treat male pattern baldness, and was marketed under the name Propecia.

While most men take the medication to help improve their appearance and overall quality of life, the drug maker has faced a number of Propecia lawsuits filed in recent years by men who allege that they have been left with permanent sexual complications, such as erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, genital shrinkage and problems with cognition. Plaintiffs indicate that they never would have agreed to take Propecia if they had been warned about the side effects.

Since April 2012, the federal Propecia litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in the Eastern District of New York, as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), where about 1,000 complaints are currently pending. Similar centralized proceedings have been established in New Jersey state court, where nearly 400 additional cases are pending, as that is where the drug maker’s U.S. headquarters are based.

According to allegations raised in the complaints, Merck has failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the link between Propecia and sexual dysfunction, which may continue long after the medication is no longer used.

Prior warning information provided by the drug maker suggested that sexual dysfunction associated with the medication was rare, and that the problems resolve after use of the medication is discontinued.

Even after many men reported experiencing permanent sexual issues after Propecia use, Merck continued to provide information suggesting that the problems were temporary until the Propecia warning label was updated in April 2012.

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