Beware of horny goat weed

The People's Pharmacy

My husband takes HCTZ and Monopril for his hypertension, and Vytorin to lower his cholesterol. Since starting the drugs, he’s had trouble with impotence. He refuses to see a urologist but takes an herb called horny goat weed instead.

What effect could this herb have on his other medications?

Clinical data to support the effectiveness of horny goat weed (Epimedium) for erectile dysfunction or low libido are limited. What’s more, products being sold as horny goat weed vary tremendously. They don’t all contain the same ingredients.

This herb might interact with blood pressure medicines. Side effects could include dizziness from low blood pressure, nausea, dry mouth or respiratory difficulties.

Some of your husband’s medications could be contributing to his sexual dysfunction.

We urge your husband to discuss this issue with his doctor, who might prescribe medication that does not interfere with your love life.


I read in your column that Sonata might be a good solution for early morning wakening because it only lasts for a few hours. Have you any idea of its cost? I was charged around $100 for a couple dozen pills. I find cutting a Tylenol PM in half just as effective.

Diphenhydramine (the “PM” in Tylenol PM and other nighttime pain relievers) is certainly cheaper than the prescription sleeping pill Sonata.

Taken in the middle of the night, though, even a lower dose could result in morning grogginess and make driving dangerous.

Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition, can be reached at https://www.peoplespharmacy.comor care of this newspaper.