Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor medication that is frequently used to treat high blood pressure. It is not common for lisinopril to cause erectile dysfunction (ED), although in rare cases it may happen.
ED is a common issue that impacts around 30 million people with penises in the United States.
In this article, we’ll cover lisinopril’s side effects and how blood pressure medications can affect ED. We’ll also discuss precautions, risks, and how to know when you should see a medical provider.
Does Lisinopril Cause ED?
Lisinopril is not a medication that is known for causing ED.
A double-blind, randomized, crossover study found that lisinopril had no significant effect on sexual activity.
Lisinopril was also found to have a neutral effect on erectile function, orgasm, and sexual interest.
Older research found that in people with penises who had high blood pressure and were in their 40s, it was possible to notice a short-term side effect of reduced sexual activity.
But that temporary side effect only affected 3% of study participants.
How Does Lisinopril Work?
Lisinopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor). It blocks an enzyme that converts the hormone angiotensin I into angiotensin II.
Angiotensin II can cause blood vessels to constrict, which can increase blood pressure. By blocking the conversion of angiotensin II, blood pressure levels remain lower.
Lisinopril also has an effect on aldosterone, which prevents the kidneys from retaining too much sodium or water.
Lisinopril is available as a generic drug. It is also sold under the brand names Prinivil and Zestril.
Lisinopril may be prescribed for the following reasons:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- STEMI, a certain type of heart attack known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
Lisinopril Side Effects
Lisinopril can cause some common side effects. Most of them are mild.
In rare cases, side effects can be serious.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of lisinopril are:
- Systemwide: Headache, dizziness, and excessive tiredness may be side effects that occur when you first start taking lisinopril. These usually improve as the body adjusts to the medication. If any of these symptoms are severe, let your medical provider know. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how lisinopril affects you.
- Gastrointestinal: Nausea and diarrhea are potential side effects of lisinopril. They can lead to increased water loss, especially if there is vomiting. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If symptoms don’t improve, make sure your healthcare provider knows.
More Serious Side Effects
While less common, possible serious side effects of lisinopril can include:
- Allergic reaction: If swelling of the face, throat, tongue, eyes, lips, hands, feet, lower legs, or ankles occurs, discontinue use and contact your healthcare provider right away. If symptoms are severe, seek emergency medical care.
- Jaundice: Yellowing of the eyes or skin is a sign of a serious liver problem. If you notice this, stop taking lisinopril right away and seek medical care.
- Infection: Fever, sore throat, chills, and any other signs of infection or illness should be reported to your medical provider.
- Respiratory: Difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, or chest pain can be signs of allergic reaction to lisinopril. Let your medical provider know right away if you notice these or other serious symptoms.
- Blood pressure: While lisinopril is intended to lower blood pressure, if it makes the blood pressure go too low it can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. Low blood pressure can be dangerous, especially if it gets too low, so let your medical provider know right away if you notice signs of low blood pressure or feel dizzy when you stand.
High Blood Pressure Medications and Erectile Dysfunction
Hypertension can be a direct cause of erectile dysfunction.
Recent estimates suggest that by the year 2025, more than 300 million people with penises will have ED-related sexual complications.
There are many causes of ED, including:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Urinary tract disease
- Psychiatric conditions
While lisinopril is not a common cause of ED, other treatments for high blood pressure may also contribute to ED. These most commonly include diuretics and beta-blockers.
Medications that treat high blood pressure, including lisinopril, may also interact with medications that are used to treat ED.
Taking lisinopril with certain other medications, like antidepressants or antihistamines, may also increase the risk of developing ED.
High Blood Pressure Medications that Can Cause ED
Blood pressure medications that can cause erectile dysfunction include:
- Benazepril (Lotensin)
- Candesartan (Atacand)
- Enalapril (Vasotec)
- Fosinopril (Monopril)
Precautions and Risks
If you are prescribed lisinopril, be sure to let your healthcare provider or pharmacist know about all medicines, supplements, and vitamins that you take to avoid interactions.
Lisinopril can interact with the following medications:
- Other angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs)
- Other medications for high blood pressure
- Potassium supplements
- Diabetes medications
People who have kidney disorders or diseases, or who are being treated with dialysis, should not take lisinopril.
When to See a Medical Provider
If you have high blood pressure but do not want to take medication because of ED, speak with a healthcare provider. There are effective blood pressure treatments that do not commonly affect sexual function.
If you are already being treated for hypertension and your medication may be causing ED, a healthcare provider can evaluate your medications and find a more appropriate treatment with fewer side effects.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
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The Effect of Antihypertensive Drugs on Erectile Function: A Proposed Management Algorithm. (2006).
Sexual Function in Hypertensive Males Treated with Lisinopril or Atenolol: A Cross-Over Study. (1998).
Symptoms and causes of erectile dysfunction. (2017).
Erectile dysfunction. (2022).
Lisinopril (lisinopril tablet). (2020).
Understanding Erectile Dysfunction in Hypertensive Patients: The Need for Good Patient Management. (2020).