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Does/can Interferon cause impotency or erectile dysfunction

I'm sure most men do not want to discuss this but I really need to know as a loved one will soon be treated for this disease and most decide whether to use interferon or not.  I have heard that ED may be a long term side affect of using interferon.  does anyone out there know if this is true or has anyone heard of someone becoming affected in such a way?  thank you.
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Avatar universal
A long term side effect? One could never say never but from being here and doing interferon twice I can only say no it's not. Now during treatment the whole combo of drugs can cause ED at times. But it's not lasting. Best to you.
Helpful - 0
446474 tn?1446347682
There was a study published n 2009 indicating the sexual dysfunction is common when treating with peg-INF and ribavirin. That was the only treatment available at that time and is still used in combination with other newer drugs currently. I think for most if us during treatment felt ill to one degree or another during the 24 or 48 weeks of treating from side effects  which tended to put a damper on our sexual desire at least. Having 'flu-like symptoms' which is very common with the combination of these two meds (fatigue, body aches and pains) doesn't make me think of candlelight and dinner. ;-)

One interesting thing about this study is that so many men had sexual issues BEFORE starting treatment. Perhaps because of the age of many of the patients who were treating? I would assume many if not most would be in there 50s and 60s?

On a related subject, men with cirrhosis commonly have both lack of libido and erectile dysfunction (ED) because the liver is part of the system for processing both male and female hormones. Men and women have a balance of male and female hormones. With advanced liver disease the balance of hormones changes thus producing characteristics of the opposite sex. As the liver fails the processing of hormones also fails. In fact men with cirrhosis have higher amounts of female hormones. Cirrhotic men often developed enlarged breast and testicular atrophy during End-Stage Liver Disease. But when you are end-stage sex is usually not your main concern...
I am happy to report back from this side of liver transplant that after liver transplant, when the person receives a fully functioning liver all hormones and body systems are go. In fact it feels like I'm going through puberty all over again. Another wonder of liver transplant!!!

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Men Experience Sexual Dysfunction During Hepatitis C Therapy
Date: September 2, 2009

Source: American Gastroenterological Association

Summary:
Sexual impairment is common among men with chronic hepatitis C undergoing antiviral therapy, according to a new study.

Sexual impairment is common among men with chronic hepatitis C undergoing antiviral therapy, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

This is the first time a study evaluating the combination therapy, peginterferon and ribavirin, has identified sexual dysfunction as a side effect. Sexual dysfunction and impairment of desire should be considered common side effects of combination antiviral therapy in men with hepatitis C. It has the potential to affect all three components of sexual health: desire, function and satisfaction.

Before therapy, 37 percent of men reported at least some degree of impairment in sexual desire, while 44 percent reported dissatisfaction with their sexual life. In addition, 22 percent reported impairment in erectile and 26 percent in ejaculatory function. The average onset of sexual dysfunction appeared to be within four weeks of starting antiviral therapy, and many patients reported a gradual worsening over time. At the end of therapy (24 or 48 weeks), an estimated 38 percent to 48 percent of men reported that overall sexual function was worse than before treatment. African Americans reported less impairment in sexual desire and satisfaction than Caucasian Americans during therapy. While most components of sexual health evaluated in this study resolved within six months after the cessation of therapy, erectile and ejaculatory function remained slightly worse than before therapy in a proportion of men who received a full 48 weeks of treatment.

As part of the Study of Viral Resistance to Antiviral Therapy of Chronic Hepatitis C (VIRAHEP-C), 260 men treated with peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin completed self-administered questionnaires concerning sexual desire, sexual function — including erectile and ejaculatory function — and sexual satisfaction before, during and after treatment.
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Take care.
Hector
Helpful - 0
862235 tn?1336060295
Erectile dysfunction is caused by being married for too long. The remedy is getting some strange, although that can cause other problems. ;o)
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444337 tn?1428073510
I have not undergone treatment as of yet so I can't really comment on topic, but I just have  to toss in a big LOL on Hector's "...going through puberty all over again..."  That is CLASSIC!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I always blame it on the interferon.

But seriously, a little during treatment but returned to normal post treatment.

Just my experience.  
Helpful - 0
253566 tn?1219679699
nothing happened to me until they added the anti-depressant.

I had the opposite of ED... with the inability to have an organism for hours and often giving up... sorry don't know the name of that condition...
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
thank you all very much for the helpful responses
Helpful - 0
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