Statins are known to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, further reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. As with most things, there are some side effects to be aware of. Erectile dysfunction and low testosterone are some of the reported side effects. What is the link?
Statins are commonly prescribed to help lower cholesterol, but the drug appears to lower testosterone as well.
According to a study that evaluated nearly 3,500 men with erectile dysfunction, the drug could be the cause.
“Current statin therapy is associated with a doubly increased prevalence of hypogonadism – a condition in which men do not produce enough testosterone,” said Dr. Giovanni Corona, lead author of the study and researcher at the University of Florence, Italy.
He added: âOur study is the first report showing a negative association between statin treatment and testosterone levels in a large series of patients consulting for sexual dysfunction. “
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Dr Corona and colleagues evaluated 3,484 men, with an average age of 51, who visited an outpatient clinic at the University of Florence with complaints of sexual dysfunction between January 2002 and August 2009.
Of that total, 244 (or seven percent) were being treated with statins for their high cholesterol.
The researchers calculated the men’s total testosterone as well as free testosterone and the amount of unbound testosterone in the blood.
When they compared men on statins to those who did not, men on statins were twice as likely to have low testosterone, regardless of the low testosterone threshold they were looking at among those who did not take statins. three commonly used thresholds.
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Another study published in Oxford Academic investigated the lipid-lowering drug and its possible link to erectile dysfunction.
A systematic review was performed using computerized biomedical databases and internet sources related to erectile dysfunction and statins.
“Significant literature was identified, largely from obscure sources, which included case reports, review articles, and information from clinical trials and regulatory agencies, âthe study noted.
He added: “A substantial number of cases of erectile dysfunction associated with statin use have been reported to regulatory agencies.”
Although erectile dysfunction is not a widely reported side effect of statins, researchers have explored the possibility.
The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medication you are taking.
It is managed by a drug safety oversight body called the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The aim of the program is to provide an early warning that the safety of a drug or medical device may require further investigation.
Side effects reported on yellow cards are evaluated, along with additional information sources such as clinical trial data.