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Erectile Dysfunction More Common in Men Who Regularly Take Prescription Painkillers
Date:5/15/2013

one and morphine.

"There is no question that for some patients opioid use is appropriate, but there is also increasing evidence that long-term use can lead to addiction, fatal overdoses, sleep apnea, falls in the elderly, reduced hormone production, and now erectile dysfunction," says Dr. Deyo, who has spent more than 30 years studying treatments for back pain.

For this study, Dr. Deyo and colleagues identified 11,327 men in Oregon and Washington enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente health plan who visited their doctors for back pain during 2004. The researchers examined the men's pharmacy records for six months before and after the back-pain visit to find out if they had filled prescriptions for opioids and for ED medications or testosterone replacement.

Opioid use was categorized as "none" for men who did not receive a prescription for opioids; "acute" for men who took opioids for three months or less; "episodic" for men who took opioids for more than three months, but less than four months and with fewer than 10 refills; and "long-term" for men who took opioids (a) for at least four months or (b) for more than three months with 10 or more refills. Anything more than 120 mg of morphine equivalent was categorized as high-dose use.

More than 19 percent of the men who took high-dose opioids for at least four months also received ED medications or testosterone replacement. More than 12 percent of men who took low-dose opioids (under 120 mg) for at least four months also received ED medications or testosterone replacement. Fewer than 7 percent of men who didn't take opioids received ED medications or testosterone replacement.

Researchers found that age was the factor most significantly associated with receiving ED prescriptions. Men 60 to 69 were 14 times more likely to receive prescriptions for ED medication than men 18 to 29.

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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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