Older men and ED drugs: Interest and use are low

May 24, 2006

Despite media images depicting middle-aged and older men embracingthe use of phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors to correct erectiledysfunction, actual interest and usage in this population isunknown.

Despite media images depicting middle-aged and older men embracing the use of phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors to correct erectile dysfunction, actual interest and usage in this population is unknown.

In reality, relatively few men in this age group actually use PDE-5 inhibitors, but whether it is because they accept ED as inevitable or simply don't discuss it with their physician remains unknown, report researchers at the New England Research Institutes, Watertown, MA, who conducted the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS) follow-up.

Data on age, marital status, general health, heart disease, nitrate use, depression, sexual desire, attitude toward age-related sexual decline, and whether they self-paid health insurance were collected for 553 MMAS participants with at least minimal erectile dysfunction who were between 55 to 85 years old. These data were correlated with their reported use of PDE-5 inhibitors. They also were asked to rate their current quality of life.

Of the 553 men surveyed, seventy-four (13%) took PDE-5 inhibitors. Usage was more common among men 55 to 74 years old (17%) versus those 75 years or older (6%), and among those who used PDE-5 inhibitors, four (5.4%) also used nitrates, compared with three (4.6%) who were not using ED drugs. Younger age, normal sexual desire, and ED severity were key predictors of PDE-5 inhibitor use in multivariate models. Quality of life was ranked higher by men who were using the drugs (93.2%) than by non-users (83.3%).

Researchers surmised that the men's reticence to use a highly effective drug indicates physicians should consider taking a more patient-centered approach and should monitor appropriate use of PDE-5 inhibitors in follow-up visits. Further study of this population is planned.