A new study released in The Journal of Urology suggests that daily usage of NSAIDs, common over the counter pain medications, such as Ibuprofen, is associated with an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED).
Dr. Joseph Gleason and colleagues of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center studied more than 80,000 men who were 45 to 69 years old. Questionnaires were used to determine if these men suffered from erectile dysfunction and how often they took NSAIDs. Doctors also used pharmacy records to determine how often their study volunteers used pain medications. The over the counter drugs evaluated in the study included aspirin (Bayer, Buffrin), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve).
Researchers found that 47% of men in the study were NSAID users and 29% of the 80,000 men suffered from erectile dysfunction. Only 24% of men who did not regularly take NSAIDs also reported experiencing ED. That number is significantly higher for men who regularly took NSAIDS. Thirty-five percent of men who regularly took NSAIDs also suffered from ED. Men who used pain killers 3 times per day for three months or more were 2.4 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction compared to men who did.
Doctors were surprised to find that men who regularly took NSAIDs were more likely to experience ED. Before conducting the study, scientists believed that erectile dysfunction may be caused in part by inflammation and regular use of NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory drugs would reduce the risk of having erectile dysfunction. Gleason and colleagues conducted the study to see if this was true.
Erectile dysfunction is fairly common, with roughly 30 million men in the US experiencing the disease. Physicians are still working to find out what causes ED, ways to prevent it, and the best methods to treat one of the most embarrassing and frustrating health problems a man can experience.
Right now physicians believe damage to nerves, arteries, muscle and tissue surrounding the male genitalia can cause ED. Disease such diabetes, alcoholism, and kidney disease are known to cause such damage and account for approximately 70% of diagnosed ED cases. In fact, 35 to 50 percent of men with diabetes experience ED. Doctors also know that many common drugs including blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, and tranquilizers can have side effects such as ED.