Remission of ED appears more common than believed

August 1, 2006

Atlanta-Remission of erectile dysfunction may be more common than has been previously believed, according to an analysis of data from the National Institutes of Health-supported Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS). Findings from this analysis were reported at the AUA annual meeting here.

Atlanta-Remission of erectile dysfunction may be more common than has been previously believed, according to an analysis of data from the National Institutes of Health-supported Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS). Findings from this analysis were reported at the AUA annual meeting here.

Data collection for both visits predates widespread use of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, the investigators noted. Remission and progression were respectively defined as lower and higher ED severity at follow-up compared with that seen at the baseline visit.

"These findings are good news for urologists and their patients with ED. While it was thought until recently that progression of ED was inevitable with aging, our study indicates that the severity of self-reported ED sometimes decreases over time," said Thomas Travison, PhD, research scientist at the New England Research Institutes, Watertown, MA, and lead author of the study, which will appear in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of Urology.

Defining prognostic factors

Additional analyses also were performed to identify factors associated with progression or remission, including ED severity, demographics, lifestyle features, and medical comorbidities.

The results showed initial ED severity had prognostic value. Total remission occurred more often among men with mild ED at baseline than among those subjects whose ED symptoms were more severe, while total progression was more common among men with moderate ED symptoms at baseline than it was among those men with mild ED.

Age and other factors, such as obesity and fair/poor general health, also were found to have prognostic significance for increased risk of progression and decreased chance of remission.

"These analyses provide important context for the surprisingly common remission of ED symptoms and add to a growing body of literature suggesting that even though ED incidence and progression are associated with advancing age, the management of health and lifestyle may help to slow ED progression and may even contribute to its remission," Dr. Travison said.

"This is information physicians can use when counseling their ED patients."