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It has recently been reported that statins can help improve male sexual health, as they are claimed to be a cheap and effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, the study this is are based on, which was published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Impotence Research, does not support these wellness claims.
The study carried out by researchers from Tanta University in Egypt was relatively small, only involving 60 men whose wellbeing was affected by erectile dysfunction, and had failed to respond to treatment with Viagra. The aim of the research was to determine if a statin drug called atorvastatin, which is typically used to treat high cholesterol, could also be effective in improving erectile dysfunction. The researchers also compared this treatment with vitamin E and a placebo.
The men were given one of the three treatments for six weeks, and those who received statin drug showed a significant improvement in some measures of erectile dysfunction. Yet this was a modest improvement at best, and when the treatment finished the men’s erectile function was still not considered to be within the normal range. This means that atorvastatin may help to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, but not to such an extent that it is really effective overall, especially when compared to Viagra.
According to the study’s authors, the research was largely limited by the fact that the team did not look into the benefits of a combination of Viagra with atorvastatin (Lipitor) or vitamin E. In other words, the researchers did not assess whether Viagra was effective as a follow-up treatment for erectile function after therapy with the statin drug, but this may be another avenue to pursue. As statins did modestly improve erectile dysfunction, men could potentially be more responsive to Viagra after treatment.
For the researchers to be able to draw firmer conclusions about the potential benefits of this drug to treat erectile dysfunction in men who do not respond to Viagra, they need to carry out larger trials that assess the safety and effectiveness of atorvastatin over periods longer than six weeks. As it stands, statins are not licensed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and cannot be recommended as such. Furthermore, statins are not safe or suitable for everyone and so you should only take them when your doctor recommends that you do.