Xanax and Erectile Dysfunction: Can Xanax Cause ED?

If you have an anxiety or panic disorder, you’re likely familiar with Xanax®, a popular medication that’s used to treat the symptoms of anxiety.

Xanax is one of the most common prescription medications in the United States. Although there aren’t any studies that specifically link Xanax to erectile dysfunction, some research shows that Xanax and other benzodiazepines may cause certain sexual performance issues. 

It’s also possible that some of the conditions Xanax is prescribed to treat, such as anxiety, may cause erectile dysfunction.

Below, we’ve explained how medications such as Xanax might affect your sexual performance, as well as the effects that anxiety and panic disorders may have on your ability to develop and maintain an erection.

We’ve also talked about what you can do to treat ED and enhance your sexual performance if you use Xanax or similar medication to treat an anxiety or panic disorder. 

Xanax and ED: The Basics

  • Xanax, which contains the active ingredient alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine that’s used to treat a range of anxiety and panic disorders.

  • Although ED isn’t specifically listed as a side effect of Xanax, benzodiazepines such as Xanax are known to cause some forms of sexual dysfunction.

  • Since Xanax works by reducing excitement in your brain, you may feel drowsy after you take it. This could affect your interest in sex and general sexual performance.

  • If you’re prescribed Xanax to treat anxiety, it’s possible that your anxiety disorder could be the cause of your erectile dysfunction.

  • Erectile dysfunction, including ED caused by medication, is treatable. If you would like to take action and treat ED, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider

What Is Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines and works by binding to certain receptors in your brain to reduce excitement.

After you take Xanax, you’ll typically feel more relaxed and less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety.

Like many other benzodiazepines, Xanax is usually an effective treatment for anxiety and panic disorders when it’s used as prescribed. However, it can cause a range of side effects and, when misused, can be habit-forming.

Does Xanax Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Currently, there is minimal scientific research that looks specifically at the relationship between Xanax and erectile dysfunction. 

However, clinical trials of Xanax have found that a small percentage of users experience some degree of sexual dysfunction as a side effect of Xanax. 

For example, in a placebo-controlled trial of Xanax as a treatment for panic disorder, 7.4 percent of patients given Xanax reported experiencing sexual dysfunction, versus 3.7 percent of patients given a non-therapeutic placebo.

Sexual dysfunction is a broad term that may refer to a diverse range of issues related to sexual performance, including a lack of sexual desire, lack of sexual arousal, orgasm disorders or pain during sexual intercourse.

A common sex-related side effect of Xanax is a loss of interest in sex -- an issue that may make it more difficult to get and maintain an erection.

Research also shows that benzodiazepines, the class of medications to which Xanax belongs, are often associated with erectile dysfunction. 

For example, results from Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey -- a large survey of men aged from 30 to 79 -- found that men who use benzodiazepines are at a higher risk of ED than their peers.

Put simply, while there isn’t any research into whether or not Xanax causes erectile dysfunction specifically, sexual performance issues aren’t unheard of while using Xanax.

Anxiety and Erectile Dysfunction

Anxiety, which Xanax is often prescribed to treat, is one of several psychological factors that can play a role in the development of erectile dysfunction.

ED and anxiety can often develop into a vicious cycle, with occasional erection issues leading to anxiety about sexual performance, which leads to further ED. We’ve talked about this in greater detail in our guide to sexual performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and use Xanax, it’s possible that your erectile dysfunction symptoms could be caused by your anxiety disorder rather than your medication. 

It’s also possible that an underlying health issue may contribute to your ED. You can learn more about the physical and psychological factors that can affect your erectile health in our full guide to the causes of ED.

How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can be frustrating, especially when it prevents you from enjoying a fulfilling, satisfying sex life. 

Luckily, ED is almost always treatable through the use of medication, psychotherapy, changes to your habits and lifestyle or a combination of these things. We’ve provided more information about the options that you can use to treat erectile dysfunction below. 

ED Medications

Several medications are available to treat erectile dysfunction. These work by improving blood flow to the erectile tissue of your penis, allowing more blood to flow in and making it easier for you to get and maintain an erection when you’re sexually aroused.

Currently, the following medications are approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction:

  • Sildenafil. The active ingredient in Viagra®, also known as generic Viagra, sildenafil works in 30 to 60 minutes and can provide relief from ED for approximately four hours.
  • Tadalafil. The active ingredient in Cialis®, tadalafil is a long-lasting medication that can provide relief from ED for up to 36 hours per dose.
  • Vardenafil. The active ingredient in Levitra®, vardenafil provides relief from ED for four to five hours per dose.
  • Avanafil. Sold as Stendra®, avanafil is a newer ED medication that works quickly and has a reduced risk of certain side effects than older medications. 

We offer several popular ED medications online, following a consultation with a physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

Changing Your Medication or Dosage

If your erectile dysfunction started after you began using Xanax, your healthcare provider may recommend making certain changes to the way you use your medication.

This may include changing your dosage of Xanax, switching to a different type of medication to treat your anxiety or panic disorder, or watching and waiting for several weeks or months to see if your symptoms improve over time.

Make sure to closely follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when using medication such as Xanax. It’s important not to adjust your dosage or stop using your medication without talking to your healthcare provider. 

Therapy

If your ED is caused by a psychological factor such as anxiety, options like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful. We’ve talked more about treating this form of ED in our guide to the psychological causes of erectile dysfunction

Habits and Lifestyle Changes

Making certain changes to your habits and lifestyle can have a positive impact on your sexual performance, including the quality and consistency of your erections. Try to:

  • Exercise frequently. Regular exercise can improve your heart health and enhance the flow of blood around your body, including to your penis. Try to get at least 15 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise per day.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight or obese not only negatively affects your erectile health -- it also increases your risk of developing diabetes, which is one of the most significant causes of erectile dysfunction.
  • Avoid watching porn excessively. Although masturbation typically doesn’t cause ED, some research has found that there might be a link between excessive porn usage and sexual dysfunction. 

Our guide to naturally protecting your erection goes into more detail about natural methods that you can use to improve your erectile health and sexual performance.

In Conclusion

Although there hasn’t been any research on Xanax and erectile dysfunction specifically, sexual dysfunction is a known side effect of Xanax and other medications used to treat anxiety. 

If you’re prescribed Xanax and have noticed that getting an erection isn’t as easy or consistent as it used to be, you can talk to a licensed healthcare provider to learn more about your options and, if appropriate, use medication to treat ED and improve your sexual performance.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.