Ethics in Medicine

Erectile Dysfunction and Anti-inflammatories

Kristen Sparrow • January 16, 2012

To be filed in the “I Did Not Know That” file. From last year, but unknown to me.

Men taking Anti-Inflammatory Drugs more likely to develop Erectile Dysfunction

PASADENA, Calif. March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Men who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs three times a day for more than three months are 2.4 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction compared to men who do not take those drugs regularly, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in The Journal of Urology.

The term “nonsteroidal” is used to distinguish these drugs from steroids, which, among a broad range of other effects, have a similar eicosanoid-depressing, anti-inflammatory action. As analgesics, NSAIDs are unusual in that they are non-narcotic.

The most prominent members of this group of drugs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, all of which are available over the counter in many areas.

While previous research showed a trend toward this same finding, this observational study used electronic health records, an automated pharmacy database and self-reported questionnaire data to examine NSAID use and ED in an ethnically diverse population of 80,966 men aged 45 to 69 years throughout California.

After controlling for age, race, ethnicity, smoking status, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol and body mass index, the researchers found that ED was 1.4 times more likely — a modest risk — among regular NSAID users compared to men who did not take the drugs regularly. This association was consistent across all age groups

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P.S. I sort of see this as a clash of the titans. ED is a bit of a created condition. Though there is true suffering out there, there is a heck of a lot of hype too since it’s pitched at a pretty young age group. Anti-inflammatories have also been marketed very intensely even though some of the more recent ones turned out to have some serious side effects. So interesting that the two have intersected. In the article it says that they were expecting to find that anti-imflammatories improved ED. Surprise!!