Prolonged use of analgesics and anti-depressant drugs could cause sexual dysfunction and induce low sperm count, a medical practitioner at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, has said.
Arikawe Adeolu, a medical doctor, said on Tuesday that the class of analgesics that could cause these conditions was the narcotic analgesic, like morphine.
The medical expert, who said morphine affects the hormonal balance of the body and causes an increase in production of prolactin, explained that increased prolactin in the body could lead to infertility in both men and women.
Prolactin is a hormone released by the pituitary grand in the brain. Its primary role is to help initiate and maintain breast milk production in pregnant and nursing women.
He said because prolactin could be induced by the use of these drugs, “men who use it would experience low sperm count, while women would experience menstrual irregularities.”
According to him, both sexes will experience decreased libido as prolactin blocks the other hormones responsible for reproduction.
“A class of anti-hypertensive drugs can also cause sexual dysfunction. These drugs are centrally acting anti-hypertensive medication, one of which is methyldopa, commonly known as aldomet.
“For anti-depressants, they affect a particular neurotransmitter which is called by serotonin. Serotonin is very important in the control of sexual behaviour.
“Once the neurotransmitter level is affected, there is a risk of sexual dysfunction, which would lead to reduction in sexual drive, inability to have an erection and ejaculation in men.
“For women, it can cause a decrease in libido – that is the sexual drive, delayed orgasm and wetness of the vagina,” Mr. Adeolu said.
He said that other commonly used medications that could cause sexual dysfunction included antihistamines, ketoconazole an antifungal, anti-seizure drugs and alcohol.
Mr. Adeolu said that the risk of sexual dysfunction was only significant with long term use of these medications or overdose.
He said the sexual dysfunction caused by use of these drugs was not permanent, adding that cessation of use of the drugs could reverse the condition.