SexRx: Yohimbine and Your Sex Life
]]>Yohimbine]]> is an alkaloid that is found in the bark of a West African evergreen tree—the yohimbe tree. Yohimbine might help treat ]]>impotence]]> that can be caused by a variety of factors, although it comes with many risks.
Commonly Used Product Names
- Yohimbine hydrochloric acid (HCL)—a tablet available only by prescription
Yohimbe bark—available without a prescription in the following forms:
- Concentrated drops
- Decoction (an extract obtained from boiling)
Yohimbe bark is often not standardized based on yohimbine content. Therefore, it is a less reliable source than the prescription tablet.
Yohimbine has a long history of being used as an aphrodisiac. Some studies have suggested that it may have the following pro-sexual effects:
- Helps to obtain and maintain erection
- Enhances quality of erection
Since the effective level of yohimbine is close to its toxic level, it is not clear that its benefits outweigh its risks. Side effects include:
Yohimbine may cause adverse reactions when taken with certain medicines. These include:
- MAO inhibitors—When combined with yohimbine, MAO inhibitors can cause dangerously ]]>high blood pressure]]>.
- Antidepressants—Yohimbine can interact with most types of antidepressants.
- Antihypertensives—Yohimbine may increase blood pressure-lowering effects.
- Nasal decongestants
- Phenylpropanolamine-containing diet aids
If you have ]]>kidney disease]]>, you should not take yohimbine.
If you have one of the following conditions, talk to your doctor before taking yohimbine:
- High or low blood pressure
- Chronic inflammation of the prostate gland
- ]]>Heart]]> or liver disease
- ]]>Panic]]> or anxiety disorders
- Sexual phobias or ]]>obsession-compulsion]]>
- History of gastric or duodenal ulcer disease
- ]]>Bipolar disorder]]>
Yohimbine is not usually prescribed for women. It should never be taken during pregnancy.
Yohimbine is classified as an MAO inhibitor. When taking MAOIs, you should avoid the following foods:
Foods with a high-tyramine content, such as
- Pickled or marinated or smoked or cured or fermented foods
- Organ meats
- Nuts, peanut butter
- Fava beans
- Canned figs
- Excess amounts of caffeine
- Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Men's Health Centre
Crenshaw TL, Goldberg JP. Sexual Pharmacology: Drugs that Affect Sexual Function. WW Norton & Company; 1996.
Guay AT, Spark RF, Jacobson J, Murray FT, Geisser ME. Yohimbine treatment of organic erectile dysfunction in a dose-escalation trial. Int J Impot Res. 2002;14:25-31.
Lebret T, Hervé JM, Gorny P, et. al. Efficacy and safety of a novel combination of L-arginine glutamate and yohimbine hydrochloride: a new oral therapy for erectile dysfunction. Eur Urol. 2002;41:608-613.
Peirce A, American Pharmaceutical Association. The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines. New York, NY: Morrow; 1999.
Yohimbe. EBSCO Publishing Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=16&topidID=1034. Updated February 2010. Accessed June 16, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2010 by ]]>Brian P. Randall, MD]]>
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