Regular NSAID Use and Erectile Dysfunction

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“If a man is taking this class of drugs and has ED, it's worth a discussion with his doctor."  – Dr. Steven Jacobsen, MD, PhD

Men who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) three times a day for more than three months are 2.4 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction compared to men who do not take those drugs regularly, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published by The Journal of Urology.(1)

(See Wikipedia to view a long list of over-the-counter & prescription NSAIDS, starting with 'common' aspirin & ibuprofen. )

While previous research showed a trend toward this same finding, this observational study used electronic health records, an automated pharmacy database and self-reported questionnaire data to examine NSAID use and ED in an ethnically diverse population of 80,966 men aged 45 to 69 years throughout California.

After controlling for age, race, ethnicity, smoking status, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol and body mass index, the researchers found that ED was 1.4 times more likely – a modest risk – among regular NSAID users compared to men who did not take the drugs regularly.

This association was consistent across all age groups.

"This study is a great example of how we work to understand the safety and effectiveness of what we recommend for our patients,” says senior author Steven J. Jacobsen, MD, PhD.

"We went into this study thinking we would find the opposite effect: that NSAIDs would have a protective effect because they protect against heart disease, which is also linked to ED."

"The next step is to dive a bit deeper to understand the underlying physiology of what might be happening with these drugs," adds Dr. Jacobson, an epidemiologist and director of research for Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem in many middle-aged and elderly men.

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5% of 40-year-old men and between 15% and 25% of 65-year-old men experience ED on a long-term basis.

The researchers caution that men should not stop taking NSAIDs based on this study. "There are many proven benefits of non-steroidals in preventing heart disease and for other conditions,” Dr. Jacobsen says. “People shouldn't stop taking them based on this observational study.”

“However, if a man is taking this class of drugs and has ED, it's worth a discussion with his doctor," he advises.
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1. Abstract: “Regular Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use and Erectile Dysfunction,” The Journal of Urology, online Feb 22, 2011.

Source: Kaiser Permanente news release, Mar 2, 2011

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One thought on “Regular NSAID Use and Erectile Dysfunction”

  1. valentinelynx says:

    I am confused by the quotes and statements in this blurb regarding NSAIDS being “protective” against heart disease. The only “NSAID” found to be protective against ischemic heart disease is aspirin, which is not usually referred to as an NSAID. All of the others have been implicated to some degree in exacerbating ischemic heart disease. Particularly well known for this are the cox-2 inhibitors (Vioxx, etc.). Less well-known is that all of the non-selective NSAIDS (ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and the prescription ones as well) also appear to increase risk of heart disease. So, I don’t know what they are talking about.

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