Opiate use and sexual function

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Aug;137(8):909-15. doi: 10.1176/ajp.137.8.909.


Although opiate addicts often equate the drug experience with sexual orgasm, diminished libido and impaired sexual performance are common sequelae of chronic use. Early clinical studies suggested that opiates may interfere with sex hormone secretion. The authors carried out three sequential studies which demonstrated that heroin use in man results in acute suppression of luteinizing hormone (LH) release from the pituitary followed by a secondary drop in plasma testosterone levels. The time course of these neuroendocrine events correlates well with the tension-reducing effects of heroin and suggests that drive reduction is an important component of opiate reinforcement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Erectile Dysfunction / blood
  • Erectile Dysfunction / chemically induced*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Heroin Dependence / blood
  • Heroin Dependence / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone
  • Naltrexone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone