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Mixed Findings on Effectiveness of ED Drugs

A new study from the U.K. discovers Viagra and other related drugs are not a panacea for impotence.

Researcher from The University of Manchester and NatCen Social Research reviewed the effectiveness of ED drugs, clinically known as oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i).

This class of medications have become the first-line medical treatment option for sufferers of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence.

Although many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of such drugs, not everyone reports benefit.

This observation was confirmed by researchers at The University of Manchester who studied the responses of more than 2,600 English men (aged 50-87 years). They determined restoring ED pharmacologically is not a cure-all.

Lead author of the study, Dr. David Lee, found that older sufferers of ED who had used Viagra, or similar drugs such as Cialis and Levitra, still expressed concern or dissatisfaction with their sex lives.

The paper is published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

Lee, Age UK Research Fellow at The University of Manchester, said, “Opportunities are clearly being missed to improve treatment outcomes, with our nationally representative data showing that gains relating to sexual activity and function are not mirrored by lower levels of concern and dissatisfaction with sexual health and relationships.

“It is important that health professionals act on this and offer a more rounded approach to managing ED. This should include a well-informed patient with realistic expectations, support from his partner, and an improved assessment of any psychological or relationship issues that may exacerbate sexual concerns and dissatisfaction.

“We also found that PDE5i users and those men with untreated ED were more likely to report high blood pressure and diabetes. Clinicians should be open to discussing with male patients the potential side effects on erectile function of commonly prescribed medications for chronic conditions such as hypertension and type II diabetes.”

Researchers evaluated data from the latest wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Investigators found that older men who had recently used PDE5i drugs reported higher levels of sexual activity and function than men without ED, but were more likely to be concerned and/or dissatisfied with their sex lives.

Of more than 2,600 50 to 87-year-old males, seven percent reported using a PDE5i drug to enhance their erections over the past three months, while 21 percent reported that they had untreated ED.

Researchers found that although 80 percent of PDE5i users reported the drugs having a positive effect on their sex lives when compared to those men without ED, they consistently reported higher levels of concern and dissatisfaction with various aspects of their sexual activity, function, and relationships.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said, “This research helps us to build a better understanding of older men’s concerns and needs around sexual health. With an aging population it is important that providers of sexual health services understand the needs of older people in both clinical settings and when developing information and advice so this serves as another useful insight.”

Source: University of Manchester/EurekAlert!

Mixed Findings on Effectiveness of ED Drugs

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Mixed Findings on Effectiveness of ED Drugs. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 8 Apr 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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