Opinion split on prescribing phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors for pleasure only

June 1, 2012

Physician opinion is divided almost evenly on the question of whether to prescribe phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors to patients for non-medical indications, a survey of Israeli doctors showed.

The simple but revealing survey was conducted with the objective of assessing the standpoint and approach of physicians from different medical specialties regarding the use and recommendation of PDE-5 inhibitors for sexual enhancement and pleasure in males without ED, according to study co-author Ilan Gruenwald, MD, senior urologist and associate director of the neuro-urology unit at Rambam Healthcare Campus, Haifa, Israel.

"There is a constant demand from sexually healthy males to experience and use PDE-5 inhibitors for sexual enhancement and pleasure. Physicians face the dilemma of prescribing a medication indicated for ED to this group of men," Dr. Gruenwald said at a presentation at the 2012 European Association of Urology annual congress in Paris.

Interestingly, opinions were split almost evenly down the middle, with 46% of the physicians surveyed saying they would and 54% saying they would not prescribe the drugs without a medical indication.

The survey was distributed via e-mail during 2 weeks in August 2010 to all members of the Israel Medical Association. A total of 1,100 physicians responded to the survey that consisted of a questionnaire with two questions: "Should physicians prescribe PDE-5 inhibitors to sexually healthy males without erectile dysfunction?" (yes or no), and "Why yes/why no?"

"Of the small majority of physicians that were against prescribing PDE-5 inhibitors, 53% reasoned that a physician shouldn't prescribe a medication that is intended to treat disease. Of those in favor, 43% reasoned that this could have a positive effect on sexual performance and could improve sex life," he said.