A systematic review of randomized clinical trials involving nearly 400 men has found that group therapy can help men overcome the problem of erectile dysfunction.

Researchers from the Cochrane Systematic Review organization found group therapy is more effective than the commonly prescribed medication sildenafil. And, that adding sildenafil to group therapy was more effective that sildenafil alone.

Normal sexual function relies on the coordination of psychological, endocrine, vascular and neurological factors. Recent research has increased attention on the role of psychological issues.

In particular, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and other psychosocial stresses can play a large role in erectile dysfunction.

A team of Cochrane Researchers drew data from nine randomized trials and two quasi-randomized trials. These involved 398 men with erectile dysfunction who had been given psychotherapy, medication, psychotherapy plus medication or vacuum devices. A further 59 were in non-treatment control groups.

“We found that 95% of men in the psychosocial therapy group benefited from the treatment, while there was no change in over the same period of time in the controls,” says Professor Tamara Melnik, a psychiatrists working at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil.

“We now need some large randomized trials with longer follow-up periods in order to measure exactly how effective psychosocial therapy can be. This research will need to group the men carefully, and also consider different forms of psychosocial treatment,” says Melnik.

“One problem with psychosocial therapy is that we are still uncertain which patients are most likely to benefit from it and if effectiveness depend upon personality factors, psychiatric co-morbid diagnosis, length of therapy time,” says Melnik.

Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.