Statins are associated with a significant improvement in erectile function, a point that researchers hope will encourage men who need statins to reduce their risk of heart attack to take them, according to a meta-analysis.
Researchers looked at 11 randomized, controlled trials that measured erectile function using the International Inventory of Erectile Function, a self-administered survey with 5 questions, each scored on a 5-point scale and totaled, with lower values representing poorer sexual function.
The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session and published online at The Journal of Sexual Health.
Among men who had both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction, erectile function scores increased by 3.4 points (a nearly 25% increase) in men who took statins (from 14.0 to 17.4; 95% CI, 1.7 to 5.0; P=0.0001) compared to the control group.
“The increase in erectile function scores with statins was approximately one-third to one-half of what has been reported with drugs like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra,” said John B. Kostis, MD, FACP, the lead investigator of the study.
“It was larger than the reported effect of lifestyle modification,” Dr. Kostis said. “For men with erectile dysfunction who need statins to control cholesterol, this may be an extra benefit.”
The added benefit may encourage more men who need statins to take them, and rather than preventing the possibility of a heart attack in the future, the more immediate benefit of improving erectile function might improve adherence to statin therapy, he added.