A new study published in the journal Spine reveals regular use of opioid prescription painkillers for treating back pain in men could increase the risk of them suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Researchers led by Richard Deyo, from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health, analyzed the electronic health records of more than 11,000 men from Oregon and Washington who had enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente health plan after 2004. The researchers looked into how many had visited a doctor with a complaint of back pain and checked the prescriptions in order to see whether they had received opioids and testosterone replacement or ED medications.
The researchers found that nearly 1 in five patients, or 19 percent, who had were prescribed high-dose opioids for at least four months also received prescriptions for testosterone replacement or medications for ED compared to just 7 percent who did not take opioids but received ED prescriptions.
"Men who take opioid pain medications for an extended period of time have the highest risk of ED. This doesn't mean that these medications cause ED, but the association is something patients and clinicians should be aware of when deciding if opioids should be used to treat back pain", Deyo said.