Preliminary research suggests men who abuse amphetamines, such as Ecstasy, are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction (ED).

Investigators in Taiwan asked 1,159 men from a drug treatment center, aged 18-57 year, to complete the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire and a global assessment in order to gauge their sexual function. The men reported using amphetamines recreationally and no other drugs. For comparison, the researchers also queried 211 men of similar ages who did not abuse the drugs.

The prevalence of ED was significantly higher among amphetamine users than non-users (29% vs. 12%), according to results published online ahead of print in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The odds of ED were also twice as high for amphetamine users after adjustment for confounding factors such as smoking.

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“Use of recreational drugs and smoking are the most significant risk factors for organic ED in patients under 40 years…” stated lead researcher Bang-Ping Jiann, MD, of National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues. The investigators believe illicit drug use may be an important ED risk factor. Amphetamines possibly interfere with the central nervous system, act as neurotoxins, and/or impair penile smooth muscle and endothelial function. Illicit drug use also has a psychosocial impact that may influence a man’s sexual health.

Responses to other questions on sexual function varied. Half of amphetamine users reported the drug had no influence; the other half reported a mix of negative and positive effects such as reduced erectile rigidity, less sexual satisfaction, greater orgasmic intensity, and prolonged ejaculation latency. Amphetamine has been used as an aphrodisiac, but men who took the drug were equally likely to report enhanced or reduced sexual desire.

The dosage and frequency of amphetamine appeared to influence sexual function. Typically, recreational dosages are far higher than the amounts prescribed for conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Half of users took amphetamines 3 or more times a day, and they were more likely to report a sexual effect than users who took the drug less than once a day.

Almost all inhaled the drug. The duration of amphetamine use did not appear to matter.

The investigators noted several important limitations to their study, including the inability to gauge amphetamine purity, dose, and potency, active or withdrawal phase, sexual function before drug use, and use of PDE5 inhibitors and testosterone.


  1. Chou, NH, Huang, Yung-Jui, and Jiann, BP. Journal of Sexual Medicine; doi: 10.1111/jsm.12926.