Is Hyperlipidemia or Its Treatment Associated with Erectile Dysfunction?: Results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey


Susan A. Hall, New England Research Institutes Department of Epidemiology, Watertown, MA 02472, USA. Tel: (617) 923-7747; Fax: (617) 926-8246; E-mail:


Introduction.  Studies and reports suggest that both hyperlipidemia and its pharmacologic treatment may lead to an increased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Aims.  Our objectives were to examine the association between (i) treated hyperlipidemia and ED; and (ii) untreated hyperlipidemia and ED.

Methods.  Data from 1,899 men aged 30–79 were used from the Boston Area Community Health Survey of community-dwelling residents of Boston, MA, collected during 2002–2005 using an in-person interview, self-administered questionnaires, and a venous blood draw.

Main Outcome Measures.  ED was measured using the short form International Index of Erectile Function. A case of treated hyperlipidemia was defined by use of anti-lipemics in the past month, while untreated hyperlipidemia was serum total cholesterol ≥240 milligrams per deciliter with no anti-lipemic use. We estimated associations using odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from multivariate logistic regression.

Results.  Men with treated hyperlipidemia were older, had more comorbidities, and used more medications compared with men with untreated hyperlipidemia or no hyperlipidemia. In multivariate models stratified by age and the presence of diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease (CVD), we saw no association between hyperlipidemia drug treatment and ED, except among younger men (<55) who had diabetes and/or CVD, where a strong association with an imprecise CI was observed (OR = 10.39, 95% CI: 3.25, 33.20). There was no significant positive association between untreated hyperlipidemia and ED in any multivariate model.

Conclusion.  Lipid-lowering medications may be associated with ED among some men. The well-established benefits of lipid-lowering therapy should always be weighed against potential adverse effects. Hall SA, Kupelian V, Rosen RC, Travison TG, Link CL, Miner MM, Ganz P, and McKinlay JB. Is hyperlipidemia or its treatment associated with erectile dysfunction?: Results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey. J Sex Med 2009;6:1402–1413.