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28-10-2009 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Atorvastatin improves response to treatment for erectile dysfunction


Free abstract

MedWire News: Atorvastatin therapy improves the response to sildenafil of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) and hypercholesterolemia, report researchers.

Hypercholesterolemia significantly increases the risk for ED, and about 42% of patients with ED also have high cholesterol levels.

“It has been proposed that in patients with hyperlipidemia, treatment with a statin has a protective effect on erectile function,” write Mohammad Safarinejad (Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran) and colleagues.

Sildenafil citrate is an effective oral medication for ED. However, early discontinuation of the drug by patients is high, ranging from 14–47%, primarily due to a lack of constant efficacy and a high number of nonresponders, says the team.

In this study, Safarinejad and co-workers investigated whether addition of atorvastatin therapy to sildenafil treatment would improve erectile function in 131 men, aged 62.9 years on average, with ED and high cholesterol who were previously unresponsive to sildenafil.

The researchers randomly assigned the men to take atorvastatin 40 mg/day (n=59) or matching placebo (n=59) as well as sildenafil 100mg/day for a period of 12 weeks.

The team assessed erectile function using the using the 5-item version of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire and the Global Efficacy Questionnaire (GEQ) at baseline and study completion. Serum lipids were also measured at baseline, 6, and 12 weeks.

Although the mean IIEF-5 scores were similar at baseline in both groups, those taking atorvastatin had significantly greater improvements in IIEF-5 score by week 6 than those taking placebo. By the end of the study the average IIEF-5 score was 13.9 for patients in the atorvastatin group and 10.5 for those in the placebo group.

In addition, significantly more patients treated with atorvastatin had a positive response to the GEQ than placebo treated individuals at 61% versus 17%.

As an additional benefit atorvastatin treatment reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol 2.68-fold compared with placebo.

The authors conclude in the International Journal of Impotence Research that the men in this study treated with atorvastatin achieved “a statistically significant but modest improvement in erectile function.”

They add: “Further investigation is needed to test the usefulness of long-term atorvastatin administration to restore erectile function in sildenafil nonresponders.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Helen Albert