Community Forum

Sexual Side Effects

Why do you suppose that more neurologists and epileptoloists do not mention that a majority of anti-seizure pills do often make "normal" sexual performance for men difficult--if not sometimes impossible when it comes to erections? The first answer will pop up. And that is, even better-informed male patients will say " hell with my pills" and choose to live their sexual life "normally". Mind you, that last word I put in quotes, for who anyway should define "normal"? However, after having tried about as many anti-seizure drugs as the number of years I've had epilepsy (that's 35), I can speak as something of a lab rat. Many pills do affect a man's bedroom performance. And while this shouldn't become our reason for living, it is part of being a human, whether single, married or just evaluating our private parts. As society's attitude toward we handsome, educated humans with epilepsy matures, so does its understanding of "performance" when it comes to sex. Mind you, an honest woman will explain when love-making isn't just the thing for her; that does occur. My point is that this topic shouldn't remain in the proverbial "closet" any longer. Let's talk about it on this fine site, as well as face-to-face. Studies reveal how many men live virtually their entire lives feeling guilty for not performing sexually 24-hours a day, where in fact, there's most likely not one who ever has, other than in movies. And that includes this writer!


I have had the problem with maintaining an erection as well. My wife and I bought a ring at a toy store. If you put it on while erect, it does a pretty good job of helping keep it. If nothing else, it is like a security blanket. See, if you worry about it, you generate the hormones that kill the thing. Try the clamp, as we call it. We even have a ritual for putting it on. My wife pulls it through and then does something else that I will leave to your imagination. These things are actually called cock rings but they do certainly seem to help. I also take an OTC called Viper that I get at Vitamin World and Saw Palmetto to help with going to the bathroom so often at night. My urologist put me on L-Arginine, Vitamin E, and Saw Palmetto. I heard about Viper and tried it and it seems to be pretty good.
However, if you still can't get an erection, do what Jack says. When I can't get one at all, I have found a mental orgasm and the kick of satisfying my wife to be very, very fulfilling.

If pills affect my so called "performance" in bed then I would become a priest, I never get any complaints, but not to brag; get a lot of compliments. Going to be 34 real soon and I do hope I still the energy of an 18 year old just as I still have today.

I know how everyone feels. My wife and I have been trying to have kids now for over 6 years. At first I thought that it was her fault, but as I was moved from Tegritol XR to Lamictal and Keppra, I noticed a large change in my sexual drive, there is no or little drive. I have tried to find other information, but it seems that everyone wants to sweep this subject under the rug and not discuss it. My wife now understands, but with the other side effects that have been added, I really want to see if there are other medications that will help keep me in control of both my love life and my neurological life...

Hi Chonron

 How far is keppra supporting ur sexual life ? is it supporting or not ?

Glad to hear this being talked about. Sexual problems can occur in both men and women with seizures but don't be too quick to blame meds for all of it. While some meds may affect sexual drive, research is also showing phsyiological changes that may be affected by the epilepsy. Hormonal changes have been seen in some men as well as women with epilepsy and these can contribute to sexual dysfunction/problems. Areas of the brain involved with control of hormones and sexuality are often involved in or closely tied into areas where seizures arise from!
Research is still young in this field. For research on men's issues, look at articles by Dr. Andrew Herzog.Or look at the professional side of for info on men's issues -
This link focuses on meds but keep in mind that seizures affect hormones and brain function too!
If a man is having problems, wise to bring it up with the doctor and ask to see someone who specializes in hormone function and seizures. Take a look at the Find a Doctor section and see if this helps.
Good luck! Resource Specialist

I'm new to this site. I started having night time seizures 4 years ago and was put on 400mg Tegretol, around 8pm. I have always had a high libido throughout my teens, 20s and 30s. The smell of tuna in a can used to get me off. Now that I'm 44 and 4 years into Tegretol, my libido has taken a beaten.

Solution: I exercise 4 times a week (play lots of racquetball), eat very small portions of lots of fruits and protein, and a trainer taught me how to inject myself 1/2 cc of testestorone every 2 weeks. I don't drink alcohol or do drugs. All this helps tremendously. Tegretol thins the blood and you have to do what you have to do. I buy my testestorone from Europe (top of the line) and it does wonders. What Tegretol destroys, the testestorone puts back and with exercise and eating right, you can keep your self in good shape. You gotta do what you gotta do....

If I live till I'm 65 or 70 because of what I'm doing to my body, I'll be happy and I accept it. But I refuse to live a sexless life in my 40s and 50s. I truly enjoy the pleasures of sex because it is the most fun you can have without laughing...

I hear you. I have had epilepsy ever since I was 9 years old. I was still the typical horn-dog teenager like any other--partially due to taking less medication than prescribed--but lately I have made a drastic drop in my sex drive. My seizures are so bad the last few years that taking all of my medication has yet to gain control. For years my doctor has been trying to gain control of my seizure with little luck. Every time I have a seizure, my doctors increase my prescription. What also isn't helping is the fact that I am yet to stop growing, despite the fact that I am 23. I am currently taking Tegratol XR and Depakote XR, totaling 2,300 mg of medication a day. I need to sleep for at least 12 hours every day, and my sex-drive is all but history. I keep attempting everything that I can to get me in the mood, but nothing completely does the job. I just recently purchased my first XXX film, hoping that watching it could possibly work me up, which I've never had to do before. Unfortunately that hasn't done much. I feel rather guilty because my wife wasn't much into sex when we first began dating; I primarily got her into it. Now she really likes what I always convinced her to do, and I'm no longer up for it. I'm quite sure that it is the medication, because I noticed it increase a great deal recently, when my doctor added another 500 mg to my daily prescription. I'm just lucky that my wife is currently in her last stage of her pregnancy, this is buying me some time. Nevertheless, I'm furious of how much this medication is effecting my work AND sex life. I'm just lucky that I have such a caring and understanding wife.

Having had epilepsy for over forty yrs I too have had every med. Of all the meds I found that Tegretol and sex didn't work and have been on Lamictal for fifteen years (plus Keppra and phenobarb.). Within the past two or three yrs I've been having difficulty keeping an erection so I'm not sure if it's the Lamictal or age, though probably the later. Perhaps the entire (cocktail) is the culprit.

Although a "pill for a pill" is frustrating I must admit to trying both Viagra and Levitra with little success so I suspect the Lamictal/Keppra combination.

I also suspect it's an individual or case-by-case situation, where age, meds, body mass, exercise, etc. are a combination of variables.

Though unrelated to sexual performance I would emphasize any man taking Topamax to have a regular renal evaluation (with a 24hr. urine test) as Topamax gave me kidney stones and believe me, you don't want one to "drop" (10+++ on the "pain scale").

I hope you dont mind a woman boyfriend (of one year) has epilepsy. He is on Lamictal (50 mg. I think?) 2x daily...Our sex life started off wonderful!, but has gradually decreased to a big "0" over the last couple of months. He says he just has no desire or energy or drive for it. Now of course, being a woman, I think "IT MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME!" - even tho he tells me it is not me...I have been reading many of the emails on this site - and am understanding the IT QUITE POSSIBLY COULD BE the Lamictal affecting our sex life. He also drinks (what I consider) too much beer - rought a 6 pack a day, and onthe weekends more like 12 daily. His diet sucks too. I guess I am wanting your opinion - being a male, on Lamictal, with some of the same side effects. I am afraid the beer is causing adverse reactions to the med. as well. He wont hear ANY criticism of his drinking, and, I have never complained about his lack of drive, tho now he has even stopped sleeping in the bed - I am (hoping) guessing it is because he feels badly that he has no desire ?? OK, just wanted to "voice" these thoughts. Thanks for listening and any comments are much appreciated.

the sex drive is one thing.  drinking is a big problem.  it is more of problem than you may  be aware.  he is, not maybe abusing alcohol.  beer wine  hard alcohol are the same, all alcohal.   that much alcohol overtime.  if he were to stop suddenly, he would probably go throught withdrawal.  he may be using the drinking to self medicate.  it is pretty common for people siezures to have depression.  if you can try to get him to get evaluated,  help.  if not read about alcohol abuse and co-dependence.  i hope this will help.  rikk


The alcohol will most definitely counteract with what the meds are trying to control in his body. I'm shocked that his neuro hasn't scolded him for drinking, especially anything close to that much. Are the seizures under control? If not, I'd bet that the alcohol is why. They're killing the medicine before it gets a chance to works.

Hi Lois,
I am a 27 year old woman that has been on Lamictal for a few years. From my own experience with the drug, it has taken a toll on my sex life. Maybe it is a combo of the other drugs I am on or just Lamictal but my sexual desire went from maybe an 8 to a 1. My boyfriend feels the same as you do, thinking that there is something wrong with him. I try to explain to him that that is not the case. It is my meds that are doing this to me. And the time of day he wants it most is the time of day I am most tired or have the least amount of energy, which changes the amount of desire I have too, and it is not long after I take my PM dose. He finally understood or had a better understanding of it when he was put on some meds for bronchitis and he had a bad sexual reaction because of the drug.

I even asked my dr. one time about it and she said that ironically 3 other people that same morning (my appt was at 11am)asked the same question about the meds affecting their love life. If there were 4 people just in one morning asking, think of how many there are asking about that same very thing everyday across the country.

I truly believe that it is my medication that is doing this to me. And probably many other men and women. I feel bad for my boyfriend, you and everyone else out there that is affected by their partner's problem. I just hope he understands that it is not him. As a word of advice, just support your boyfriend because I am sure he doesn't want it to be like this for your relationship. I know I don't want this for mine. We didn't choose to have epilepsy, it's really a hard thing to deal with, so support from the one you love may be the best medication.

I have had epilepsy since I was 9 (30 yrs.) and during that time I have been on several different different meds. I take valproic acid which is terrible for tremors, and of course people see that and they automatically think you are taking drugs or something. I also am having a hard time sexual wise with my husband. He doesn't seem to believe me that it is my meds. doing this and that I am trying my hardest to get the urge up, but he often threatens to move into an other room, he pouts and some times even mentions divorce cause he thinks I don't love him anymore (more or less pouting). I have tried to get him to read some of the different side effects that come from the meds. but he refuses. Anyways I told him that I was going to go to the DR. and try to take care of these problems. Right now I take Lamictal and Valproic Acid. My DR. has asked me if I would like to try another med to see how it will work. Tegratol (or what ever the generic for is called...Carb...) is supposedly supposed to stop the tremors, well I have also been trying all night to see what will help the sexual desire part of this or if not, what causes the lack of feeling. Well after reading for a while I have come to realize that it is more than likely the Lamictal. I am sure like most other women in my situation, I feel so awefull, my spouse, my lover and my best friend doesn't deserve this. I also know that most people would say that if he were really your friend he would be more patient with you. I' just not too patient with myself at this point. I am happy with one thing though, I have killed one bird and that is that I won't have to keep worring about the tremors.
Thanx for listening. TomiAnne

vickie l.roy
Dear TomiAnne

Tegretol is not a bad suggestion. I took it for almost 15yrs. But it wouldn't kill your husband to go with you to the neurologist and ask some questions and learn something.

IF you have to drag him in with you once or twice and tell the doctor what is going on. Tell him/her that he won't read about the medications and could they explain about the sexual side effects.

It took me 6 years after we were married before I was able to have our son. Between my medications(like you) and I found out that I had poly systic ovaries.
Not only am I Epileptic I am also Hypoglycemic. (low blood sugar)
that is why I had the systs. I had to see a diabetic specialist.

But that isn't the point. Make him go to the doctor's office with you. Tell him if you want some answers either start reading or ask some questions. Don't be shy about that.
IF HE doesn't ASK HE won't know.

I can say one thing for my husband he has been really understanding and patient. From the time I was going through my testing and surgery back in 1997 to now.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s the meds they had me on were not doing a good job of controlling my seizures so I was okay sexually. But since the year 2000 the present mixture of meds. Keppra, Trileptal and Celexa, have destroyed my sexual impulses. Nude women, xxx movies magazines, strippers and topless women... none can stimulate or cause me to get aroused. My life has been sexless for the last decade. I found that is one of the side effects in most of the medicines. Women find it strange that even when laying in bed next to me I don't get horny or anything. One asked me "you don't like me?" I said don't think that way. I am just not easy to arouse.

Epilepsy, still a mystery to many. Having seizures does not mean we are less of a person, just different. We are capable of loving and being loved.

Try Periactin as needed!

Its worth trying. Your serotonin would be blocked for a few hours but at least you will be shooting straight!

I did not know what a normal sex life was until after I had brain surgery.  I had epilepsy for 36 years by then and had been on Dilantin.  After the brain surgery I was so horny my husband could not keep up with me!  Then I began to get depressed~my neurologist keeps telling me it was because of the surgery and the chemical changes in my brain.  Now I have to take an anti-depressant and that lowers the sex drive.  Also the medication I take lowers the sex drive in most people, too.  Just lucky to be alive and taking it one day at a time!

Some of the antidepressants can affect sexual function as well as certain seizure meds. Maybe doctor can suggest ones that don't have these side effects.
Good luck,

What has been the experience of anyone taking Lamictal? My doctor is adding that to my Dilantin with the plan of eventually eliminating the Dilantin?


I've been taking Lamictal along with Topamax for 10 years and have no sex drive. It surprises me that your doctor is wanting to take you off of your Dilantin and put you on Lamictal only. Lamictal is known to be an add on medication not really to be taken by itself from my experiences.

I take triliptal and Lamictal I have to take generics though I don't know if that makes a difference but I will either skip a few doses or take partial doses to allow myself to feel like a man. but I'm afraid that my memory is slowly decaying. and my body is more stiff and more soar for longer periods of times after a seizure. my wife says that they last longer. I'm afraid I am going to wake up and not know who I am.

Actually, Lamictal is used as both an add on drug AND monotherapy. My dr wanted to switch me to Lamictal as monotherapy as well, but I ended up sticking with my Carbatrol and Neurontin instead.



I'm not familiar with Carbatrol but have taken Neurontin before as a pain reliever.  I am on Lamictal as a mono therapy.  I have 3 ruptured disks and a broken vertebral pedicle.  In short, I hurt a bit.  My neurosurgeon has submitted me as one of 16 people in the US to participate in a clinical injections trial.  Hopefully soon there will be no need for pain relief but until then, unfortunately it is necessary to get along with day to day life.  As is with many I fell into  dependence on opiate pain relievers.  I still take them in moderation and have someone close to me to dispense my prescription to make sure I never begin to take too much.  I turn the bottle over as soon as it is picked up from the pharmacy.

Before I get too off topic, I have a question about Neurontin.  When I took it I had a reaction of feeling like there was a slight mental fog present.  Bear in mind that this was 11 or 12 years ago which was prior to any seizure activity and also really didn't want to give up my pain meds.  This being considered I didn't give the Neurontin a good trial.  Do those side effects tend to subside after you have been on it for awhile??  If it would help with pain a quell all of my seizure, it would be a miracle for me.  I'm not willing to go through life with an altered mental state though.  

I was prescribed Cymbalta (a depression/pain med).  It haelped with the pain but made me puke my guts out the first couple of days.  I have a bad tremour as it is but this stuff made it hard to even write.  I am at a point to where I am about to experiment with coming off the Lamictal alltogether and see if I can live without any seizure meds. The insomnia, headaches, and nightmares caused by it has taken its toll.  Naturally I would like to know about other drug options (especially those who work as a pain reliver as well) in case I cannot kick the seizure meds alltogether.

I'm taking Dilantin and my doctor did the same by adding the Lamictal in hopes to get me off the Dilantin. I love sex just as much as the next guy and have a beautiful girlfriend with a great body who loves sex as well. I have no problem getting an errection etc. but once I have an orgasm I'm pretty much done for the night. I'm 30 now and had my first seizure at 18 and in the past 5yrs or so I've found my desire for drasticly reduce. Like I said I love sex just as much as the next guy but I would rather have less sex them more seizures!!!

I'm 28 yrs old and have had epilepsy since I was about 12/13. I've had my fair share of sex and I was wondering if it was my age that was making the erections lose their endurance. There will be times when I can go 3 or 4 times a night and others when it takes a friggin' army just to get things started. Keeping the erection is the main problem. I just don't really understand it. I've considered trying to go for some of those pills that helps guys keep it up but the idea of it just makes me feel like less of a man. Over time I've took Tegretol, Zonegran, Dilantin, Keppra, and some other crap I can't remember but for the past few yrs I've just been on 400 mg of Dilantin. I also have Grand Mal/Tonic-Clonic seizures and those are the kind I've always had.

George - NYC

No, it's not just you when it comes to having trouble getting your private part up and keeping it going for at least a while. I've come to accept that it is just part of taking some of the wonder drugs out there that're supposed to cut down on our share or the intensity of our seizures. I continue to have that problem, as do a majority of men taking seizure-control pills. When it comes to the question of buying the "let-it-rise" drugs that are being sold, I do not recommend it, though I'm not a doctor. I've read far too many warnings about what those pills can do to one's blood pressure, heart, even neurological system. I hope your partner understands, but I am glad you have the guts to discuss it. Take care!


Don't know if this is good news or bad news but at least I am not alone. Have had epilepsy since the 3rd grade and am now 25 and they have been tinkering with meds ever since. (seizures still are not under control at the moment on trileptal, felbatol, and zonegram which is being dropped) Weird thing is my mind telling me "she is attractive" but RARELY do I get any reaction at all. Can still get erection if I masturbate but only way and only for a short period of time. Not exactly the news I wanted read but again at least I know I'm not the only one going through this.

Hi guys.

Me and my husband had many arguments because of the sexual side effects of AED.In the beguining of our sexual life i could not understand why him being a man was just not interested in sex.Before me he never had any girlfriend/sexual partener so sex was all new to him too.

After many arguments and checking all medication's leaflet and doing research on web,i found out that it is not his fault after all.
It is all due the AED he has been taking since he was a child.

He is just not interested in making love or show affection and this was very hard for me to accept.Everytime we were having sex it felt to me that i was forcing him and then there was also the erection problem.Either he could not get an erection or didn't last enough.

After talking to the neurolgist about this problem,he said that is nothing new.It is a very common problem(and we thought he done a big discovery!!!). He prescribed another drug for erection(something like viagra).
It those work but the problem is still there.To take the medicine in first place you must be willing to have sex;there should be that desire,feeling and that does not exist. I think this is what they say "no libido".

This problem looks even bigger because AED also affects male fertility which complicates the situation if a couple wants to have a baby: a)less of sex life b)fertility problem.

My question is: For you guys who have epilepsy and have sexual problems, how did you solve it? What is your advice? What was your doctors advice?

Ladies comments are also welcomed.

One more thing: Have you ever heard aboout psichosexual therapy? Do you think this might help somehow?

Oh and he is taking Tegretol Retard 400mg twice a day + Keppra 1500mg twice a day. He has just come off of Phenytoin(this he was taking 100mg am + 150mg pm)

Smile :)

i had the same problem as your husband seems to have and it was a horrible feeling for those 5-6 years. as soon as i got off of my medications completly though it was the greatest feeling ever to actually find women attractive again. so i guess my only suggestion would be to get off the meds and find an alternate route, i had the vns implant about 6 months ago and that has worked very well so far. just feeling human again is such an amazing feeling. i can honestly say that i would much prefer to have grand mal seizures on a regular basis than lose my libido again. women are beatiful and it is amazing to be able to see that again.

I had a VNS implanted about 1986. i was bout 18. it never worked. i had brain surgery three years ago and preparing to take another. i have a high drive and the meds I would skip for a weekend just be intimate with my wife. It just would never fail that I would have a grand mal afterwards and it would be worse sometimes than before my wife would say. she doesn't want me to skip meds but I do.


I didn't even notice impotence (I don't have a partner) until a few months ago, so I don't know how long it's lasted. Possibly more important: it doesn't even seem to matter. I've had people lately asking me what physical features I find attractive in other people. They couldn't believe I couldn't answer. This wasn't modesty, but literally true. I don't know. Personality I can find attractive (or not), but that's about all.
Medical investigation is to follow sometime. I'm likely to be offered some kind of Viagra substance. Question: if I don't have a partner, and amn't really interested (result of medication?), what's the point? I have 18 tablets to take daily as it is. Do I really need to take more, just to feel 'normal' (whatever that means)?

After accident my epp now comin on to 20 years and have same problem.
Before first epp I wold not knock it back, then medercation and I am buggered I have tried different Neros & Meds and they say epp tabs not the problem, I explained to a female nero She said I should not have any problems and I asked her if she gets satisfied she became embarrased and said that is her buisness/ no want my advise
To get a good one to last long time to my knowledge use the needle or tabs Cialis 20mg, its a hard life Buddy best of luck.

Every medicine has their side effects so cialis 20 mg have some probable side effects. Though, not every person who consumes the medicine will have troubles. In reality, nearly all people bear it fairly well. If effects do arise, they are generally insignificant. Often, they need no treatment or are effortlessly treated by your doctor.

So these medicines affect bedroom performances in men? Can these people use Viagra as an alternative? I am sure many men ask themselves this question, it's something they need to know.


I also have problems keeping an erection when having sex with my wife I have never ejaculated inside her, even manually is difficult.
I had a medial lobectomy 2 years ago but still I take medication(3000mg Keppra,150mg Epanutin,150mg Topiramate)as this operation hasn't completely cleared my epilepsy.
I am becoming very frustated when having sex as my wife and I would like a family.G.C

George, you are absolutely right about the side effects of the meds.
I recently went thru my WADA test and was for the 1st time in many years taken completely off my meds.
Also For the first time in many years I was extremely horney.
Any one who has gone thru a WADA test knows that they take you off your meds have wires stuck to your head and video tape you 24/7.
Even with all that I turned to my wife while in the monitering unit and told her that I was horney. She looked at me as though I was crazy. I then told her that since they were taping me any how we could make our own porno. I dont think she knew weather to laugh at me or get upset. Luckily for me we have ben maried for 13 years so she just took it in stride. I dont know. I was amused anyhow.
Take care every body Scott.

I think I'm guilty as well. some times I don't take my meds because I want to be intimate with my wife. but, I with out fail will sieze when I skip a as many as 2 days of meds.

George, to be honest with you, I only saw Lyrica have a effect on my sexual performance.  All the other drugs (I have not tried Dilantin, Mysoline, or Topoamax) for temporal lobe epilepsy have had NO EFFECT.


At the end of the day, you should judge the benefits against the risks and make a decision with your doctor.

Try Topomax; it increases the sex drive as well as controls grand mal seizures.

I'm no neurologist, but for me it was the Keppra (and my ex-wife) that killed my drive. I take Dilantin for nocturnal grand-mal seizures, and Keppra for daytime partial complex seizures. After two or three months of the Keppra, I decided that not having the partial complexes wasn't as important as my:
motor control
ability to stay awake for more than four hours
emotional well being.

That being said, I would encourage anyone on Keppra to discuss this with thier doc. I would suffer all these problems gladly to avoid the grand-mals, since that's when I hurt myself. However, maybe someone else has a similar problem as me: after a gran-mal, I wake up EXTREMELY horny. I have grabbed nurses chests, made inappropriate comments, even asked my ex once to call a prostitute for me (yes, I am confused after). It seems that a french kiss is the last thing you would want after biting your toungue up, but it's all I can think about, and don't even notice the pain until after. Anyone else? Thanks,


Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

24/7 helpline