Dermatological medication effects on male fertility

Authors

  • Jillian Wong Millsop,

    1. Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California
    2. Department of Dermatology, Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, Mountain View, California
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  • Misha M. Heller,

    1. Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California
    2. Department of Dermatology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • Mark J. Eliason,

    1. Department of Dermatology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Jenny E. Murase

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dermatology, Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, Mountain View, California
    • Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California
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  • Conflicts of Interest: Ms. Wong, Dr. Heller, Dr. Eliason, and Dr. Murase have no conflicts of interest to disclose. There was no funding provided for the production of this article.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jenny E. Murase, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor UCSF, Department of Dermatology, Palo Alto Foundation Medical Group, 701 East El Camino Real (31-104), Mountain View, CA 94040, or email: jemurase@gmail.com.

Abstract

Many drugs have been reported to impair semen parameters, leading to temporary or persistent infertility. Therefore, potential fathers may be concerned about the effect of medications on fertility. We searched the MEDLINE database of articles in English combining key terms including “male infertility,” “spermatogenesis,” “fertility,” “drug effects,” and “dermatology.” Administration of methotrexate and finasteride has resulted in severe oligospermia and reversible infertility. Ketoconazole has had negative effects on sperm motility and testosterone production. Few individual case reports and a limited number of studies have demonstrated negative effects of tetracyclines, erythromycin, chloroquine, glucocorticoids, spironolactone, and antihistamines on fertility. It is important to counsel male patients when appropriate about the reversible negative effect on fertility when taking methotrexate and finasteride, and the adverse effect of ketoconazole. Patients may be reassured that taking oral retinoids, cyclosporine, azathioprine, and tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors should not affect their fertility.

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