Men with chronic pain in any location but commonly for low back pain who use potent analgesic (Oxycontin, Percocet, Oxycodone) medication are at risk for lowering the testosterone level or the hormone produced in the testicles that is responsible for sex drive or libido. Consequently some men who use pain medications for a long period of time may have sexual problems, lethargy and fatigue.
Narcotic pain tablets such as Percocet™, Oxycodone™, Roxycodone™ and Oxycontin™ come with severe adverse side effects associated with narcotics addiction.
Adverse Effects of Long Term Pain Pills (Opiates)
Narcotic Pain Pills (opioids) are highly addictive with severe adverse effects related to drug withdrawal. Opiate containing narcotic pain pills are highly effective for short term use for pain, but were never intended for long term use. Over time, these drugs cause profound suppression of the endocrine system, and in men, profound inhibition of testosterone production.
Low Testosterone Goes Largely Unrecognized
Although quite common, opioid-induced androgen deficiency and has gone largely unrecognized by the medical profession. Low testosterone is caused by opioid drug inhibition of LH (Luteinizing Hormone), a pituitary hormone involved in testosterone production, as well direct inhibition of testosterone production, itself. Similarly, there is also inhibition of the entire endocrine system, and adrenal hormone suppression. Symptoms of low testosterone include fatigue, depression, hot flashes, night sweats, diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, and diminished sexual arousal and satisfaction. Men may also develop osteoporosis, anemia, and diminished muscle mass.
These drugs also have a negative impact on women. Women who consume opioid-pain pills will stop having menstrual cycles and will notice greatly diminished libido (sex drive).
Testosterone Treatment Effective and Recommended by Mainstream Medicine
Administration of both topical (transdermal) testosterone and injectable testosterone has been studied and found effective for men with low testosterone on pain pills.
Opiate Detoxification Program is Essential
The reality is that hormone supplementation and nutritional supplementation for the long term opiate pain pill user is only a temporary band aid. To fully restore health, the opiate addiction must be addressed and the patient must ultimately get off the pain pills. Drug withdrawal may be difficult because of severe drug withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, we refer the patient to a center that specializes in narcotics detoxification, and urge the patient to strongly consider this option.
Bottom Line: Opioid pain medication is helpful for short term use. However, use of these addicting drugs for chronic pain can result in sexual problems in both men and women. For those who have sexual problems, consider seeing a pain management specialist, find alternative methods of pain relief, and using testosterone replacement therapy.