Can Subutex Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 14, 2021

Subutex (buprenorphine) is a medication that can have effects on sexual dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common sexual side effects of Subutex, and may be treatable without stopping use of Subutex.

Erectile Dysfunction From Taking Subutex

Erectile dysfunction is a potential side effect of Subutex. Subutex is a medication for opioid use disorder that contains the active ingredient buprenorphine, an opioid partial agonist.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of several effects that Subutex can have on sexual function. This may be treatable with a comprehensive drug rehab program and testosterone replacement.

Learn more about the side effects of taking Subutex

How Does Subutex Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Subutex is an opioid-based medication with the active ingredient buprenorphine. Opioid drugs, including buprenorphine, can affect testosterone through a variety of mechanisms.

Testosterone is a hormone that is associated with ED. Opioid agonists like buprenorphine can interfere with the body’s normal production of testosterone and other hormones.

How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction While Taking Subutex?

Erectile dysfunction is less commonly discussed as a potential side effect of Subutex, largely due to stigma. Even so, this is fairly common.

Research shows that erectile dysfunction is a side effect that affects an estimated 20 to 43 percent of people who take buprenorphine.

Subutex Vs. Methadone: Which Is More Likely To Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Buprenorphine, an opioid partial agonist, is believed to affect the endocrine system less than full agonists like methadone. Both are FDA-approved to treat opioid use disorder.

According to research, methadone is more likely to result in sexual dysfunction. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of people on methadone experience some form of sexual dysfunction, such as ED.


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What Factors Can Affect Sexual Function While Taking Subutex?

Erectile dysfunction is a condition that can be influenced by various factors, including overall health, substance use, and stress.

There are a number of risk factors that can make the development of ED more likely among people who take Subutex for opioid dependence.

Risk factors for developing ED while taking Subutex include:

  • high stress
  • high doses of Subutex
  • chronic opioid use
  • poor liver or kidney function
  • smoking
  • use of some prescription medications (e.g. SSRIs)
  • depression
  • anxiety

Not all cases of erectile dysfunction in people who take Subutex may be directly tied to their buprenorphine use.

However, this medication may exacerbate existing issues with erectile function due to the effects of Subutex on hormone production.

Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction While Taking Subutex

Erectile dysfunction is an issue that can affect a person’s willingness to continue what can for some be a life-saving treatment for opioid addiction.

Sexual dysfunction can affect relationships, intimacy, mental health, and self-esteem—but it is treatable.

Erectile dysfunction in people who take Subutex may be treated with the replacement of testosterone, as one example.

Additional treatment, such as mental health counseling, may also be recommended, based on the suspected cause of the dysfunction and other factors related to one’s life and medical history.

Signs Of Erectile Dysfunction From Subutex

Erectile dysfunction is not a condition to be ashamed of. Millions of people in the United States are estimated to experience ED, with a greater likelihood among those older than 40.

Signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction can include:

  • inability to achieve an erection
  • difficulty maintaining an erection
  • reduced interest in having sex
  • feeling anxious about having sex

If you or someone you know is experiencing erectile dysfunction while taking Subutex, you’re not alone. Treatment may be available to help with this.

Can Subutex Cause Other Sexual Side Effects?

Subutex can contribute to a range of effects on sexual function in people of all genders, including women.

Reported side effects of Subutex on sexual function include:

  • reduced interest in sex (low libido)
  • reduced satisfaction during intercourse
  • premature ejaculation
  • irregular menstrual cycle

Drugs like Subutex are rarely the sole cause of sexual dysfunction. Having depression, anxiety, or other health conditions can affect a person’s interest in sex and sexual performance.

With medical and behavioral intervention, it’s possible to address sexual dysfunction without stopping Subutex.

Stopping Subutex without medical guidance can disrupt a person’s treatment and may risk relapse to dangerous substance use.

Call Today For Information About Subutex Treatment Options

Sexual dysfunction is a potential side effect of Subutex. With professional behavioral support and medical treatment, this can be treatable.

For more information about Subutex treatment, call our helpline today to learn more about Subutex and to find Subutex treatment options near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 14, 2021


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