Is your Prescription Medication Causing Infertility?
Up to 50% of Infertility experienced by couples is actually related to a male-factor issue. Even then, many fertility clinics will offer little to no treatment for male patients that have mild-to-moderate infertility. It is quite common to see patients with low sperm motility, concentration, and morphology be told that there is nothing that can be done other than IUI or IVF. However, research over the last decade has evaluated many interventions which can positively impact the treatment of sperm-factor fertility.
When evaluating the best treatment options to help improve sperm health, it is just as crucial to evaluate which medications can be replaced or changed to help improve sperm fertility parameters. Many patients find that the guidance they receive on their current medications and their potential negative impacts on reproductive function is lacking. I have often sent letters and recent scientific papers to healthcare providers through the hands of my patients to request a closer look at their current medication schedule and to evaluate if they are contributing to the impaired fertility experienced by the patient.
A recent scientific research paper published on May 4th, 2020 in the Andrologia scientific journal reviewed available research on how common medications and drugs have been shown to negatively affect sperm health, and you may be surprised with some of the information provided below!
Common Drugs and Medications that Negatively affect Sperm Health
Antihistamines: human trials and animal trials observed an increased risk for testicular damage and reduced hormone production
Antibiotics: many common antibiotics (i.e. amoxicillin, metronidazole, tetracycline and more) suggested to have toxic effects on the gonads, alter sperm quality, increase sperm damage and sperm DNA fragmentation, and decrease fertilization capacity
Antifungals: ketoconazole has been suggested to impair hormone production
Antivirals: certain antiviral medications have been observed to increase sperm damage and cause sperm death and may alter sex hormone production
Cholesterol medication: the most common family of medications, statins, have been observed to increase the risk for decreased libido, reduced testosterone and erectile dysfunction
Antiseizure medications: antiepileptics have been suggested to impair sperm motility and lower sperm motility
Opioid Pain Medication: Increases estrogen production, increased sperm DNA fragmentation rates, decreased libido, and decreased hormone production
Blood Pressure Medications: a variety of drugs in this category have been observed to have negative impacts on sperm health. Particularly B-Blockers, calcium channel blockers, digoxin, and spironolactone have been observed to cause alterations to normal sperm parameters, affect fertilization capacity, increase the chances of erectile dysfunction, and impair libido, respectively.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs): have been observed to increase sperm DNA damage, alter normal sperm parameters and alter hormone production
Erectile Dysfunction Medications: phosphodiesterase inhibitors like sildenafil and tadafil have bee observed to alter sperm quality. Caffeine may also have this effect.
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): commonly used as a first-line treatment for depression and anxiety have been shown to impair sexual function, alter healthy sperm parameters, and negatively affect sperm DNA fragmentation rates
More medications were included in recent research not mentioned in this article that appear to have a negative impact on sperm health.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.