Yohimbine (sold by the names Yocon, Yohimar, and others) is used to treat impotence (aka erectile dysfunction).

This study suggests yohimbine’s ability to change baroreflex control of the heart might yield additional benefits in certain circumstances.

First, the details.

  • 10 healthy men were randomly assigned to take yohimbine and placebo in different order (cross over).
  • Then, the baroreflex control of heart rate was measured.
  • Baroreflex is a reaction that normally decreases heart rate when blood pressure increases and vice versa.
  • The men and the researchers were not told which treatment the men were getting (blinded).

And, the results.

  • Yohimbine increased both blood pressure and heart rate.
  • 90 minutes after treatment both groups returned to their normal levels.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “The observation is relevant because decreased parasympathetic activation of the heart [the baroreflex] is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Perhaps, parasympathetic activity can be improved through activation of these receptors [as shown with yohimbine].”

Maybe, but these results were achieved in healthy men not sick people. People with angina (chest pain) or high blood pressure should be careful using yohimbine because their heart might not be able to take the added stress. Talk to your healthcare provider.

12/1/07 13:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.