Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is defined as a condition in which a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection at least 25 per cent of the time. While impotence is not usually a desired state, it is possible for it to be induced in a variety of ways. As many as 200 common pharmaceutical drugs are known to cause impotence. Actual castration, which is the surgical removal of the testicles, is not necessary to cause impotence. Chemical castration, which does not involve removal of the testicles, is temporary, but can cause impotence.
Administer antidepressants. Several antidepressant medications have potential impotence or ED amongst their side effects. These drugs include amitriptyline (Elavil), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil). Use of these drugs, however, does not ensure the inducement of impotence, since the majority of users do not experience ED as a side effect.
Use cholesterol or blood pressure medication. Several medications used to treat cardiovascular disease can adversely affect a men's sexual health, particularly beta blockers. Gemfibrozil users, for example, have been shown to be twice as likely to report impotence than others.
Alter hormone balance. The drugs used to induce chemical castration in men are generally female hormones that inhibit the production of testosterone. Though impotence is not always the result, the reduced sexual drive often leads to erectile dysfunction. Common chemical castration drugs are depo-provera, cyproterone and medroxyprogesterone acetate.
Use other prescription medications. In addition to those already listed, several other types of drugs can potentially induce impotence. Sedatives, like diazepam (Valium), baldness medication like finasteride (Propecia), diuretics and psychosis medications like risperidone (Risperdal) and haloperidol (Haldol) can induce impotence.
Abuse recreational drugs. The overuse of recreational drugs can have a seriously negative impact on sexual function, particularly over the long term. Heroin, cocaine, and LSD can lead to reduced sexual drive and eventually impotence if grossly overused. Alcohol, when consumed to excess in a short period, can also induce impotence.
Impotence is never induced by a single shot or pill. To create a state of impotence can take several days or weeks of regular use. In most cases, the condition will reverse within a few weeks of discontinuing the drugs.
Diabetes, which can be induced artificially, can also lead to impotence.