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Methadone Maintenance Therapy and Erectile Dysfuntion

Erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to get an erection firm enough for intercourse - is common among men receiving methadone maintenance therapy (MMT).

MMT is used to treat addiction to opiates, including heroin. It helps relieve some of the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms without creating a “high.” Sometimes, it’s used as a pain reliever and has been compared to morphine.

Recently, researchers from Malaysia studied the rates of erectile dysfunction among men addicted to heroin.

The study included 108 Malaysian men who had been diagnosed with heroin dependence. Their mean age was around 45 years.

The researchers found that approximately 69% of the men had some degree of erectile dysfunction. About 36% of the men mild cases; about 22% had moderate cases and about 4% had severe cases.

Older age played a role in the men’s ED, but the dose of methadone and the duration of treatment were not significant.

The researchers suggested that patients on MMT be checked for sexual problems during treatment. Issues like erectile dysfuntion could make men less likely to stick with their treatment program, so screening for sexual problems, and treating them when possible, could help ensure that men reap the full benefits.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Methadone Maintenance Treatment”

(February 2002)


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Jaafar, Nik Ruzyanei Nik MBBChBAO, MMed (Psych), et al.

“Risk Factors of Erectile Dysfunction in Patients Receiving Methadone Maintenance Therapy”

(Abstract. First published online: February 27, 2013)


“Methadone for Drug Abuse”

(Last updated: August 19, 2010)