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Viagra plus cholesterol drug improves impotence

Posted on March 7, 2006, 5:18 a.m. in Sexual-Reproductive

Lipitor, a commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug, may have extra benefits for men with impotence. Specifically, investigators have found that in men who are not initially helped by Viagra (sildenafil), treatment with Lipitor (atorvastatin) seems to improve sexual response, according to the results of a small study.

Impotence, also referred to as erectile dysfunction, may involve a generalized disturbance of the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium), lead author Dr. Howard C. Herrmann said in a statement. His group therefore theorized that if the endothelium could be made healthier through cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins -- "Viagra would work better for the patient."

To investigate, Dr. Herrmann, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed the effect of adding Lipitor to Viagra in 12 men with moderate-to-severe erectile dysfunction despite an adequate course of Viagra treatment. The men were randomly assigned to daily treatment with Lipitor or placebo for 12 weeks.

The researchers' findings appear in the Journal of Sexual Medicine for March.

Treatment with Lipitor, but not placebo, was associated with a significant improvement in the erectile response to Viagra. An effect was seen by six weeks after beginning the trial.

As anticipated, Lipitor also reduced levels of LDL-cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, in this case, by 43 percent.

While encouraging, "the results are preliminary and warrant further testing in a larger clinical trial," Herrmann noted.

SOURCE: Journal of Sexual Medicine, March 2006

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