Sildenafil use grows among younger men by three-fold

September 2, 2004

Even though men age 56 years and older continue to receive the majority of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) prescriptions, use in men ages 18 to 46 years increased 312% from 1998 to 2002, according to a study in the International Journal of Impotence Research (2004 16:313-8.)

Even though men age 56 years and older continue to receive the majority of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) prescriptions, use in men ages 18 to 46 years increased 312% from 1998 to 2002, according to a study in the International Journal of Impotence Research (2004 16:313-8.)

Use of the drug in men ages 46 to 55 years increased 216% from 1998 to 2002, reported Express Scripts, Inc., a large pharmacy benefit management company that authored the study. Overall, use increased from 0.8% of the sample population in 1998 to 1.4% in 2002, an 84% increase. Use for an underlying medical reason declined in all age groups, the researchers said.

The study did not examine prescription patterns for the newer ED agents tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil hydrochloride (Levitra).

In related news, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, STD Prevention Section, has asked the FDA to take action to reduce the risks associated with sildenafil use. Since 2001, the STD Section has reported hundreds of cases of new STDs and HIV infections in sildenafil users.

City health officials are encouraging researchers, physicians, and other public health experts to submit written testimony.

"It is mind boggling that a patient could request Viagra, a doctor prescribe it, and there be silence about sexual activity or sexual risk behavior," said Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, director of San Francisco's STD Prevention Section, who filed the petition.