Inderal and Impotence
While there is a reported link between Inderal and impotence, it is unknown whether the impotence is caused by the medication, other factors, or a combination of both. For example, studies show that people are more likely to develop impotence if they know that it is a possible side effect. If you're taking Inderal and impotence occurs, your doctor may recommend treatment for impotence or switch you to a different medicine.
Inderal and Impotence: An Overview
Inderal® (propranolol hydrochloride) is a beta blocker that is used to treat several conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Essential tremor
- Hypertrophic subaortic stenosis.
As with all medicines, Inderal has possible side effects. Some of these side effects can affect a person's sexual well-being. In the case of Inderal, sexual side effects that have been reported include impotence.
Impotence is usually defined as a total inability to achieve erection, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only brief erections. Ultimately, impotence is the repeated inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Impotence is also known as erectile dysfunction (or ED for short).
Research Findings on Inderal and ImpotenceImpotence was a documented side effect in clinical studies conducted before Inderal was approved. However, the study did not report how common a side effect impotence was. Erectile dysfunction is also reported occasionally with other beta blockers. However, given how infrequently impotence is reported and how common it is within the general population, it is difficult to tell whether the erectile dysfunction is actually caused by the medication, other factors, or a combination of both.
An interesting study was done on whether being aware that impotence was a possible side effect would actually cause the sexual problem. What the researchers who did the study found is that people who knew that impotence was a side effect of beta blockers (including Inderal) were more likely to develop the problem. Their conclusion was that "the knowledge and prejudice about side effects of beta blockers can produce anxiety that may cause erectile dysfunction." Interestingly, this study also found that a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients) was just as effective as sildenafil (Viagra®) for reversing impotence in these men taking a beta blocker.