Adequate levels of testosterone have important roles in keeping men healthy and energetic. This sex hormone helps regulate libido, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells and sperm. However, low testosterone levels can profoundly affect men leading to issues such as erectile dysfunction, reduced sex drive, moodiness and irritability, fatigue, gynecomastia (developing male breasts), and a reduced sense of well-being.
Aging, obesity or a tumor of the pituitary gland are a few reasons why testosterone levels may reduce. Another possibility could be certain prescription medication a man is taking that’s lowering his testosterone levels. It’s not completely understood why these medications interfere with testosterone levels but a 2019 study may have found an explanation. What the researchers discovered is that testosterone appears to bind to a protein called serum albumin which allows it to be carried through the body. Because many common drugs seem to bind to albumin in the same way, this could potentially lead to competition for transport in the bloodstream and thereby lower the total amount of testosterone in the body.
List of common prescription medications that may lower testosterone levels
Men should be tested for their testosterone level and if low, discuss with their doctor the possible reasons why, including reviewing their prescriptions medications. If it’s determined a prescription medication may be the reason why, there may be alternative medications available or other types of treatment options. Every man is different and what works for one man may not work for another. This is why it’s between a man and his doctor to decide the appropriate course of action based on every man’s situation and health goals.
Any man, who is currently taking any of the prescription medications listed below, should not stop taking the medication. They should first talk to their doctor about their concern of it possibly lowering testosterone levels and to see if there may be an alternative medication to use instead.
Here is a listing of prescription medication that may be lowering testosterone levels:
Men with elevated cholesterol levels are often prescribed a statin drug to manage and lower it. However, the majority of circulating blood cholesterol is what the human body makes. One function of cholesterol is to make the sex hormones of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Since cholesterol is a naturally occurring component of sex hormones in males, lowering cholesterol levels with a statin ultimately lowers testosterone levels as well. Even though it’s important to lower elevated cholesterol levels, it’s also important to maintain normal testosterone levels in men.
Anti-anxiety and anti-depressants
To manage anxiety and depression, men may be prescribed medication to control the symptoms. While they are necessary for reducing feelings of uneasiness, depression or even suicidal thoughts, these same medications can cause a shift in hormone levels, specifically testosterone.
This popular pain medication, often prescribed post-surgery, after an injury, for chronic pain, or any other type of serious discomfort can cause lowered testosterone levels, especially when taken long term. It’s been found that men taking opioids every 8 to 12 hours on a long-acting basis, do show lowered testosterone. Men, who use opioids short-term, may also have reduced testosterone levels, but not as much as men taking them for longer periods of time.
Hypertension and beta-blockers
Used to control high blood pressure, these medications can reduce testosterone levels. It will be important for men on these medications to have their testosterone levels monitored regularly watching for any signs of a reduction in levels.
Chemotherapy can affect a man’s hormone levels with low testosterone being a possibility. During and after the treatments a man’s levels of testosterone should be monitored. Once chemotherapy is done, testosterone levels should rebound but if not, then a man’s doctor can discuss other treatments helping restore the balance of testosterone in the body.