Erectile Dysfunction Erectile Dysfunction Basics

Erectile Dysfunction and Hypertension

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Summary & Participants

Hypertensive patients worry about which medications are safe to take, including erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. Find out how ED medication affects hypertension.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2012

Webcast Transcript

ANNOUNCER: Many patients with hypertension want to know if it's safe to take drugs that treat erectile dysfunction.

FRANZ MESSERLI, MD: Now, one has to consider in this context that basically from a physiologic point of view, sex has to be considered a form of exercise. It increases heart rate. It increases cardiac output. So it puts a burden on the heart.

But in general, this burden is very well-tolerated by the hypertensive patients, because we do let our hypertensive patients exercise. They should engage into regular exercise. We told them to do so. So there's nothing wrong with them having sex.

Now, when you look specifically at the drugs that improve erectile function, such as Viagra, such as Cialis, such as Levitra, if anything, they actually lower blood pressure a little bit. And if anything, they have a positive effect on the coronary flow in the heart. So to my way of thinking these drugs are rarely contraindicated in hypertensive patients. And even if—and I see a lot of complicated hypertensive patients who are on triple and quadruple and quintuple therapy—even in these patients, I have no hesitation to prescribe one of these drugs.

ANNOUNCER: Although it is generally acceptable to take erectile dysfunction medication if you have hypertension, there is one major caution: If you are taking nitrates for coronary disease or angina, erectile dysfunction medication should be avoided. This combination of drugs can cause dangerous dips in blood pressure.