These Popular Rx Meds Are Killing Your Sex Drive

Your Benadryl may be helping your allergies, your Zoloft may do wonders for your depression, and your Xanax is certainly quelling your anxiety. But what are these prescription medications doing for your love life?

The answer is a bit concerning. These libido-killing drugs are decreasing arousal and inhibiting sexual performance in both men and women. If you have any of the following meds in your medicine cabinet, you may want to consider switching if your doctor gives you the go ahead.

Antihistamines

A doctor handing a patient a white bottle of pills.

That drowsy feeling will affect your love life. | iStock.com

No, you don’t want to be sneezing all over your partner in bed. But what good will allergy meds do if they keep you from wanting to jump in the sack in the first place? Antihistamines like Benadryl and Allegra cause fatigue, which can crush your libido.

These drugs dry out your mucus membranes. While this helps your nasal congestion, your vagina is also lined with mucus-producing cells, making it harder for you to get wet while taking antihistamines.

Antidepressants

A person holding two pills in one hand while holding a glass of water in the other.

Tell your doctor about all the symptoms you experience. | Bojan89/iStock/Getty Images

Not all depression meds are created equal, and some may be better than others at helping you stay happy and keeping your sex drive intact. The antidepressant Wellbutrin has been shown to have no sexual side effects and can actually increase one’s sex drive. Always consult your doctor before changing your medication.

Prescription painkillers

A nurse holding three packs of medication pills.

These medications might affect your ability to enjoy sex. | Megaflopp/iStock/Getty Images

Prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Percocet carry a high threat of addiction and overdose. Opioids lower your testosterone levels and therefore your libido. These painkillers can also suppress sexual function in men and lead to difficulty with orgasm in both sexes.

Todd Sitzman, MD, a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, offers suggestions to combat this side effect. Men taking opioids long-term can supplement with testosterone injections. Women who suffer from low libido may want to consult their doctor regarding dosage or alternate medications.

Anxiety medications

A bottle of pills open and a few pills laid out on a brown wooden table.

Taking anxiety medications? Your libido might take a hit. | Juststock/iStock/Getty Images

Xanax may decrease your libido in addition to your anxiety. Sexual performance can also become an issue.

Your anxiety may also affect your libido. According to Anxiety.org, anxiety can cause a poorer sexual response in women. These women experience less sexual desire, poorer arousal, and fewer orgasms as well as occasional pain. There are some anxiety medications that don’t have sexual side effects; consult your doctor before switching or stopping any prescriptions.

Anti-seizure medications

Doctor and patient talking across a table.

Your sex drive might take a toll. | Daizuoxin/iStock/Getty Images

Seizure medications like Dilantin or Tegretol are great treatments for epilepsy. But they also increase levels of a hormone called prolactin, which in turn reduces sex drive. According to Fox News, these anticonvulsants also appear to lower levels of the hormone DHEA, which impacts libido as well.

Epileptics may notice a significant dip in sexual desire as a result of both their condition and the medications used to treat it. Some anti-epileptic drugs reduce hormone levels. Side effects of certain AEDs include reduced sexual interest and issues with arousal. Valproate has one of the lowest risks for sexual side effects, according to a review published in Pharmacy Times.

Blood pressure medications

Blood pressure medication on a black table.

You might experience a lack of sexual desire. | Ronstik/iStock/Getty Images

Many blood pressure medications can cause sexual difficulties. According to the AARP, “the decreased blood flow can reduce desire and interfere with erections [in men]. In women, it can lead to vaginal dryness, a decrease in desire, and difficulties achieving orgasm.”

There are three types of blood pressure medications; diuretics, beta-blockers, and alpha-blockers. All have side effects that influence desire and sexual performance.

Birth control

Birth control pills in colorful containers laid on top of each other.

Pay attention to how your birth control makes you feel in the bedroom. | Areeya_ann/iStock/Getty Images

The research on birth control’s affect on libido offers a mixed bag of results. According to WebMD, studies on the subject reported 15% of women felt less sexual desire, while 63% reported no change at all. Your body’s chemistry and the hormone mixture in the birth control you take will both determine how you react to contraception.

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