Prescription Drug Use Can Impact Male Fertility
ASRM18 October 2016
Research presented at the Scientific Congress of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Salt Lake City shows that prescription medications can adversely affect male fertility.
Researchers at Stanford determined that certain classes of antihypertensive medications have a deleterious effect on male fertility. Using a national database of insurance claims filed in the US for patients with employer-provided coverage, they extracted data on men who had taken antihypertensive drugs, whose diagnosis or treatment codes suggested infertility. They compared the incidence of infertility during the year after patients were prescribed drugs with the infertility rate in the year prior to the prescription. The risk of infertility was higher among patients taking ACE inhibitors and beta blockers by 9% and 11%, respectively. There was no association between calcium channel blockers and infertility rates. To confirm their findings, the researchers examined the records of men evaluated at a California fertility center for whom semen analyses and medication histories were available. They found that beta blockers had a significant negative effect on semen volume, sperm concentration and motility.
Here in Salt Lake City, University of Utah researchers reviewed almost 12,000 semen analyses and associated patient records that included prescription drug use to determine whether stimulants taken for ADHD improve the sperm motility of infertile men. They found that patients who had been taking stimulants for at least three months prior to their semen analyses had lower semen values for sperm concentration, total sperm count, total progressive motility, and total motile sperm count compared to patients who had taken no medications. Patients who had taken other, spermatotoxic, drugs along with stimulants showed some increase in total sperm count.
Douglas T. Carrell, Ph.D, President of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, commented, “When doing an infertility work up, it is important to consider the medications a patient takes and their possible effects on gametes. Medications that contribute to a patient’s overall health and well-being may be harmful to his sperm. More research is needed, but knowing that antihypertensives and stimulants can be detrimental to sperm quality is essential to providing individualized care.”