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Erectile Dysfunction

Overview

It is estimated that erectile dysfunction (ED) affects as many as 30 million men in the United States. Patient interest in and treatment for ED surged with the introduction of oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-I) in 1998, and expenditures for office visits and other outpatient treatments increased during that time. The available data likely underestimate current treatment utilization given that in the 22 months after the first PDE-I, sildenafil (Viagra™), was launched, nearly 18 million prescriptions were filled at an approximate cost of $90 per 10-tablet prescription. The emergence of effective, convenient, and generally well-tolerated new treatment options (along with educational campaigns initiated by the pharmaceutical industry) has contributed to increased public awareness and a greater acceptability of and attention to the health and socioeconomic impacts of male sexual health.


While ED is not life threatening, the condition may result in withdrawal from sexual intimacy, reduced quality of life, decreased working productivity, and increased healthcare utilization. Patterns of care may shift away from surgical and device therapies provided by urologists and toward pharmacologic treatments and/or multidisciplinary approaches. With men increasingly seeking to preserve sexual function and quality of life as they age, the treatment of ED will take on even greater importance in the years to come.



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