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Does Lisinopril Cause Erectile Dysfunction

does lisinopril cause erectile dysfunction

What is Lisinopril ?

Lisinopril belongs to a group of medicines called ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme). It works by inhibiting a chemical process in your body that increases the amount of salt and water in your body. Having less salt and water in your body decreases your blood volume, which reduces your blood pressure.

ACE inhibitors (Lisinopril in this case) also act on the mechanism that narrows blood vessels. Lisinopril causes your blood vessels to relax, which lowers your blood pressure. This is important because excessive pressure will damage your blood vessels over time and lead to cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attack, kidney failure).

Lisinopril Side Effects

One of the most common side effects of Lisinopril is a dry cough (this affects one in ten patients).

Other side effects of ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril are rather uncommon and are sometimes related to low blood pressure (hypotension), especially at the beginning of the treatment.

Here’s a list of side effects which patients commonly encounter with Lisinopril (about 1-10% of patients):

  • Dizziness when standing or sitting up (try sitting back down, wait a few moments and get up slowly)
  • Diarrhoea and possible stomach ache (usually improves after the first few days of treatment)
  • Headache (some painkillers don’t interact with Lisinopril – ask your doctor or pharmacist)
  • Drowsiness

If your dry cough due to Lisinopril gets severe, you can contact your doctor to ask whether there is an alternative treatment you can take. Often, the cough stops after a while. There are several other medications your doctor can prescribe to treat high blood pressure if Lisinopril is not suitable for you.

How can medicines affect sexual function?

Sexual function involves a complex coordination of hormones, chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin) and the sexual organs. In general:

  • dopamine increases sexual function
  • serotonin inhibits sexual function
  • the hormone testosterone is important, as are the blood vessels involved in producing an erection.

A medicine can therefore affect sexual function in several ways.

How is erectile dysfunction treated?

If erectile dysfunction (impotence) is caused by high blood pressure, then lowering blood pressure through medicines and lifestyle changes should treat the problem effectively.

If the problem is caused by blood pressure medicines, your doctor may be able to change your dose or change you to a different medicine. Do not stop taking your medicines without speaking to your doctor first.

If problems with erectile dysfunction continue, there are treatments available to deal with it directly. Speak to your doctor about what options may be right for you.

Why statins may not be the cause

While researchers have looked into the possibility of statins as a cause for ED, other evidence has suggested otherwise. The same 2014 study found that over time, ED actually improved among men who were taking statins for high cholesterol.

Furthermore, Mayo Clinic states that clogged arteries can cause ED. If your doctor prescribes statins to treat high cholesterol, it may not be the medication causing problems. Instead, the clogged arteries themselves may be the cause.

Blocked blood vessels (atherosclerosis) may also lead to ED. It can be a sign of future heart problems. In fact, a 2011 report found that ED is sometimes a warning sign that a person could have a heart attack or stroke within the next five years.

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