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Do Cholesterol Drugs Sap Sex Drive?

Do Cholesterol Drugs Sap Sex Drive?

Q. I have taken statins to lower my cholesterol. Decreased libido was one of the many side effects I experienced. As things happen gradually, I hadn’t fully taken note of how my normal nighttime erections had virtually ceased.

I figured my lack of sexual interest was due to getting older. My wife felt I wasn’t as interested in her anymore.

During the first week after I stopped the statin, I had a sexual awakening like I was a teenager again. I didn’t realize how far I had deteriorated until my libido came roaring back. Any comment?

A. We have heard from other readers that statins (Crestor, Lipitor, lovastatin, simvastatin, etc) may sometimes contribute to sexual difficulties, and research confirms this (Drug Safety, July, 2009).

More recently, Italian researchers have reported a link between statin therapy and hypogonadism (reduced testosterone). Interfering with the production of cholesterol seems to alter hormone synthesis (Journal of Sexual Medicine, April, 2010). We are sending you our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health with more information on the pros and cons of statins and other ways to lower blood lipids.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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