Most men with erectile dysfunction remain untreated, scientists say

Despite the high erectile dysfunction (ED) prevalence most patients receive no treatment, according to a new US study, presented at the 28th Annual EAU Congress. Undertreatment of ED continues to be common, even though the treatments have a proven efficacy and quality of life impact.

"Until now, research conducted on the treatment of erectile dysfunction has been derived from surveys involving small populations," wrote the authors.

"However, a comprehensive and larger patient-based study using claims data that characterises men undergoing treatment for ED remains to be performed. The aim of the study was to determine the frequency of use of medical therapies, associated co-morbidites of ED in a large of men."

During a 12-month period ending June 2011, patients were identified and included in a payor data-set if they received a diagnosis code for ED. Patients were considered "treated" if they filled a prescription for a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i), injection or urethral or androgen replacement (ART). "Untreated" patients received the diagnosis but did not fill a prescription.

The therapies prescribed were monitored by prescription frequency prescribed, age, co-morbidities, and by physician speciality.

Of the 6,228,509 patients derived from a pool of 87,600,000 men with a diagnosis of ED, 25.4% of these were treated; 74.6% went untreated. The most commonly prescribed medications were PDE5i (75.2%) and ART (30.6%).

Less than 2% of patients used any prostaglandin therapy. Treatment frequency was higher for co-morbid (51% treated) and less for co-morbid (15% treated), but otherwise it did not vary significantly with other associated comorbidities.

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