Written By: Dr. Kamal Morar, MD, MBA
What happens when the medication a patient is taking starts to have negative side effects on other aspects of their health?
In treating over a thousand patients with medical marijuana over the past year, I have come to realize that many of my patients were seeking treatment with medical marijuana primarily because their normally prescribed medications were creating the side effect of sexual dysfunction. Specifically, patients who were suffering from medical conditions such as depression, PTSD/anxiety, pain disorders and seizure disorders had stopped taking their prescribed medications because of side effects including erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. Instead, they were turning to street bought marijuana and were asking for specific recommendations on what Medical Marijuana products would help with their particular medical condition as Medical Marijuana has known therapeutic benefits for all of the aforementioned conditions. In almost all of these cases, medical marijuana could be utilized to treat the same conditions without the sexual dysfunction side effects. Here is a comprehensive list of medications that have known sexual dysfunction as a side effect and for which Medical Marijuana could be a good replacement. They are categorized by the condition to be treated and the list of commonly prescribed medications that cause sexual dysfunction with their medical names and associated brand names such as Prozac.
Drugs that Can Cause Sexual Dysfunction as a Side Effect
|Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and|
Doxepin (Silenor, Zonalon)
|Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs||Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)|
|Muscle relaxants||Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Flexeril)|
|Parkinson’s disease medications||Benztropine (Cogentin)|
Moreover, it is common for many physicians not to mention sexual dysfunction as a side effect for any prescribed medications. Sexual dysfunction related side effects are not life threatening and thus, do not routinely hit the threshold for discussion by most physicians. Consequently, patients are not aware of these side effects until trying the medication. Unfortunately, most patients just stop taking the prescribed medication and either suffer the consequences or turn to other more dangerous illicit drugs such as alcohol and opioids that are more dangerous and addictive. In some cases, non-compliancy to prescription drugs for conditions such as depression and PTDS leads to violence and death either by suicide or homicide.
On a personal note, it has not been since I started treating patients with medical marijuana, that I had realized how prevalent sexual dysfunction is as a side effect of commonly prescribed medications. In fact, I am also guilty of having practiced over 15 years often times prescribing medications and not having discussions around this particular side effect. In this, I have learned not only to value Medical Marijuana as a powerful alternative to so many treatment options such as the ones mentioned here and more, but I have learned to become a more consentaneous physician when talking to my patients. This now includes having discussions around issues such as sexual dysfunction which, although may not be life threatening, could be life altering in so many ways.