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New AHRQ report finds no clear evidence for which erectile dysfunction drugs work best

Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347

A new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that there isn't enough evidence to determine which drugs work best to treat erectile dysfunction and which cause the least harm. Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual disorder that prevents men from getting or keeping an erection. It affects between 15 million and 30 million men in the United States.

The authors found that men who took oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5 inhibitors) had improved erectile function compared with men who didn't take the medication. However, head-to-head trials comparing three erectile function medications—sildenafil (Viagra®), vardenafil (Levitra®), and tadalafil (Cialis®)—were inconclusive as to which medication worked best. The most common short-term side effects in men taking PDE-5 inhibitors were headache, flushing, abdominal pain, and runny nose. Although the types of reactions varied with the drugs studied, there were no significant differences in side effects associated with any of the three drugs. Alexander Tsertsvadze, M.D., of the AHRQ-supported University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center, who led the review, called for more studies to clarify the best treatment management options for different groups of patients, as well as more clinical trials to compare PDE-5 inhibitors to hormones, injections, and creams or other topical treatments for erectile dysfunction.

For a copy of the report, Diagnosis and Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction go to http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/evidence-based-reports/erecdystp.html.

Current as of July 2009
Internet Citation: New AHRQ report finds no clear evidence for which erectile dysfunction drugs work best: Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347. July 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/jul09/0709RA49.html