Are STDs associated with use of erectile dysfunction drugs?

January 01, 0001

Are STDs associated with use of erectile dysfunction drugs?

This study by US authors examined the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men who use and do not use erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs using a retrospective cohort from a database of claims from 1997 to 2006 for 1,410,806 men older than age 40 years with private, employer-based insurance from 44 large companies. There were 33,968 men with at least 1 filled prescription for an ED drug and 1,376,838 patients with no prescription.

They found: "Users of ED drugs had higher rates of STDs than nonusers the year before initiating ED drug therapy (214 vs. 106 annually per 100,000 persons) and the year after (105 vs. 65). After adjustment for age and other comorbid conditions, users of ED drugs had an odds ratio (OR) for an STD of 2.80 in the year before initiating drug therapy; the OR was 2.65 in the year after. These differences were largely due to infections with HIV. The OR for HIV infection was 3.32 in the year before and 3.19 in the year after an ED drug prescription was filled. Significant changes in STD rates from the year before to the year after the first ED drug prescription was filled were not documented."

The authors concluded: "Men who use ED drugs have higher rates of STDs, particularly HIV infection, both in the year before and after use of these drugs. The observed association between ED drug use and STDs may have more to do with the types of patients using ED drugs rather than a direct effect of ED drug availability on STD rates. Counseling about safe sexual practices and screening for STDs should accompany the prescription of ED drugs."

This study really suggests that men with a history of STDs are more likely to get presciptions for drugs to treat erectile dysfunction.

For the full abstract, click here.

Annals of Internal Medicine 153(1):1-7, 6 July 2010
© 2010 to the American College of Physicians
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Users of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs: Analysis of Claims Data. Anupam B. Jena, Dana P. Goldman, Amee Kamdar, Darius N. Lakdawalla, and Yang Lu. Correspondence to Dr. Apunam: [email protected]

Category: Y. Male Genital System, Breast, Z. Social Problems. Keywords: sexually transmitted diseases, erectile dysfunction, HIV, drug therapy, retrospective cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 3rd August 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.