Around half of all men with diabetes have at least one episode during the course of their condition when they fail to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Many different strategies have been used to overcome this, but a Cochrane Review of clinical trials shows that three phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) increased diabetic men's satisfaction with their sexual life, compared to placebo.
The PDE-5 drugs did introduce side-effects, such as headache and flushing, but these adverse reactions were not sufficiently severe to effect the men's perceived quality of life.
The data were drawn from eight trials that included a total of 1759 participants. Chosen at random, 976 were given a PDE-5 inhibitor, and 741 were given a placebo.
"If taken as prescribed and when no contra-indications exist, PDE-5 inhibitors provide a useful option for men with diabetes who suffer from erectile dysfunction," says Lead Review Author Moshe Vardi, who works at Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.
Reference: Vardi M et al. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors for erectile dysfunction in patients with diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD002187. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002187.pub3
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