Timolol Sexual Side Effects
During treatment with timolol, sexual side effects can occur. These problems may include a decreased sex drive, impotence, or an abnormal curvature of the penis. If you develop these or other sexual problems, let your healthcare provider know so he or she can recommend an erectile dysfunction medication, adjust your timolol dosage, or prescribe an alternative medication.
Does Timolol Cause Sexual Side Effects?Timolol (Betimol®, Blocadren®, Istalol®, Timoptic®), like most beta blockers, is known to cause certain sexual side effects. With timolol, these problems included:
- Decreased sex drive (decreased libido)
- Impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction, or ED)
- Peyronie's disease (abnormal curvature of the penis).
How Often Do Sexual Side Effects Occur With Timolol?It is difficult to say with certainty how frequently sexual side effects occur with timolol, for a few different reasons. First, several different timolol products are available, including tablets and a few different eyedrop formulations. It is likely that these medications produce sexual side effects at different rates.
In addition, the prescribing information for timolol is quite vague when describing the frequency of sexual side effects. In general, these problems are reported to occur "less frequently" (without any specific percentages mentioned).
To make matters even more confusing, there is some debate as to whether beta blockers like timolol really cause sexual problems. Although sexual problems (especially impotence) are classically known to be beta blocker side effects, some studies suggest that this may actually not be the case.
It is important to understand that beta blockers are frequently used in older individuals, who are more likely to have sexual problems, and people with high blood pressure, who are also more likely to have sexual problems. This makes it difficult to know if the sexual side effects are actually caused by the medication or other factors, such as age or high blood pressure.
A study was conducted on whether being aware that impotence was a possible side effect of beta blockers would actually cause the sexual problem. Researchers found that people who knew that impotence was a side effect of beta blockers were more likely to develop it. Their conclusion was that "the knowledge and prejudice about side effects of beta blockers can produce anxiety that may cause erectile dysfunction." Interestingly, this study also found that a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients) was just as effective as sildenafil (Viagra®) for reversing impotence in these men taking a beta blocker.