Reliability is what men want most in ED treatment

February 1, 2005

Buenos Aires, Argentina--In a multinational study aimed at pinpointing the attributes men consider desirable in treatments for erectile dysfunction, researchers have found that reliability of treatment ranks first, followed closely by tolerability.

Buenos Aires, Argentina-In a multinational study aimed at pinpointing the attributes men consider desirable in treatments for erectile dysfunction, researchers have found that reliability of treatment ranks first, followed closely by tolerability.

In the Men's Attitudes to Life Events and Sexuality (MALES) 2004 study, 694 men aged 20 to 80 years with self-reported ED were presented a list of seven attributes of ED pharmacotherapy and asked to rate their relative importance. The survey was conducted at an initial assessment and repeated 30 months later.

At both intervals, the participants' responses revealed they were most interested in reliability of the product for generating an erection sufficient for intercourse, cited as most important by 39% of participants.

The next most important feature was tolerability, which was rated highest by 31% of men, followed by safety (26%), said Dr. Rosen, professor of psychiatry and medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ. Smaller proportions of the men were most concerned about whether the medication was rapidly acting (9%) or had a long duration (8%).

The importance of rapid onset versus long duration was investigated further in phase II of the study, which involved 2,912 men aged 20 to 75 years with self-reported ED. The analysis from that investigation showed men affected by ED considered rapid onset a more important attribute of an ED treatment than long duration.

"Certainly, rapid onset was identified as one of the parameters, but reliability was overall the more important parameter," Dr. Rosen said.

The men participating in MALES, which was presented at the International Society for Sexual and Impotence Research world congress, were recruited in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Brazil. The list of attributes they were asked to rate also included ability to use with existing concomitant medication and reasonable cost. Those features were considered most important by 24% and 22% of men, respectively.

Good communication critical Dr. Rosen said that one of the most important findings in MALES was that patient outcomes were better when they were able to communicate well with their physician.

"If they had a satisfactory conversation with their physician, if they felt like they got good information and had good rapport, then overall they did better," he said. "They had good outcomes. They were more likely to use their medication. And they were more likely to report satisfactory results with their medication.

"So physician communication and a good physician-patient relationship turned out to be one of the most important predictors of success in this study.

"[The MALES study] reinforces the prevalence of ED. It reinforces the importance of the patient-physician relationship, that men are looking for reliable efficacy, and safety is important," Dr. Rosen said. "And, again, that's where the physician relationship comes in-giving them information and reassurance is really the secret."

The MALES study was sponsored by Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline.