Monday, 25 June 2012

Can simvastatin improve erectile function and sexual health relatedquality of life in men with untreated erectile dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual health problem in men over forty years affecting their overall quality of life, and that of their partners. It is a marker for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and consultation rates in primary care are low.

We conducted a trial to test whether simvastatin given to men who have untreated ED, but no other cardiovascular risk factors, improves erectile function and quality of life and reduces cardiovascular risk. 173 eligible men were randomised to receive either 40 mg simvastatin or a placebo (inactive dummy) for six months.

Patients with severe ED reported a small improvement in their erectile function, a significant improvement in their sexual health related QOL, reduced cholesterol and cardiovascular risk compared to patients on placebo. Simvastatin may reduce health services costs although larger trials are required.

Our findings could influence urological and primary care practice and provide a basis for improving care for patient benefit by including questions on ED during routine consultations and relevant clinic protocols. Raising awareness of the links between ED and CVD provides an opportunity to provide lifestyle advice and address CVD risk factors.

The project is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research ‘Research for Patient Benefit’ programme (Project Number PB-PG-0107-11391).

This article outlines independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

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