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      Sildenafil in the Cardiologist’s Office: Patients’ Attitudes and Physicians’ Practices toward Discussions about Sexual Functioning


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          Sildenafil is a medication increasingly prescribed to improve sexual function in patients who have erectile dysfunction. Because a major contraindication to the use of sildenafil is a history of coronary disease and the concomitant use of nitrates, it becomes increasingly important for cardiologists to prescribe this medication. We evaluated the nature of discussions in all 70 patients for whom sildenafil was prescribed in a cardiology practice between April and July 1998. We used a standardized questionnaire to determine the patients’ perspective on the sexual history and the extent to which they wanted their physicians to take a detailed history about sexuality. A separate chart review evaluated the nature of physicians’ discussions about sexual functioning before sildenafil was prescribed. Fifty-five of the 70 patients (79%) responded to the survey. The majority of patients (98%) felt that physicians should talk with patients about sexual functioning. However, only 73% of patients believed their doctor was comfortable talking with them about this subject. Sixty percent of patients reported that their doctor had ever talked with them about erectile function and only 15% had ever had a discussion with their doctors about specific difficulties during intercourse. Based on the results of the chart review, only 24% of the patients ever specifically discussed the used of sildenafil with their physician prior to the time that it was prescribed. The results of the study suggest that patients with coronary disease erectile dysfunction are comfortable talking with their physicians about sexual functioning, but these conversations occur infrequently.

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          Oral sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil Study Group.

          Sildenafil is a potent inhibitor of cyclic guanosine monophosphate hydrolysis [corrected] in the corpus cavernosum and therefore increases the penile response to sexual stimulation. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of sildenafil, administered as needed in two sequential double-blind studies of men with erectile dysfunction of organic, psychogenic, and mixed causes. In a 24-week dose-response study, 532 men were treated with oral sildenafil (25, 50, or 100 mg) or placebo. In a 12-week, flexible dose-escalation study, 329 different men were treated with sildenafil or placebo, with dose escalation to 100 mg based on efficacy and tolerance. After this dose-escalation study, 225 of the 329 men entered a 32-week, open-label extension study. We assessed efficacy according to the International Index of Erectile Function, a patient log, and a global-efficacy question. In the dose-response study, increasing doses of sildenafil were associated with improved erectile function (P values for increases in scores for questions about achieving and maintaining erections were <0.001). For the men receiving 100 mg of sildenafil, the mean score for the question about achieving erections was 100 percent higher after treatment than at base line (4.0 vs. 2.0 of a possible score of 5). In the last four weeks of treatment in the dose-escalation study, 69 percent of all attempts at sexual intercourse were successful for the men receiving sildenafil, as compared with 22 percent for those receiving placebo (P<0.001). The mean numbers of successful attempts per month were 5.9 for the men receiving sildenafil and 1.5 for those receiving placebo (P<0.001). Headache, flushing, and dyspepsia were the most common adverse effects in the dose-escalation study, occurring in 6 percent to 18 percent of the men. Ninety-two percent of the men completed the 32-week extension study. Oral sildenafil is an effective, well-tolerated treatment for men with erectile dysfunction.
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            Discrepancies in the Use of Medications

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              Direct sale of sildenafil (Viagra) to consumers over the Internet.


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                April 2002
                25 April 2002
                : 97
                : 2
                : 79-82
                aLown Cardiovascular Center and Harvard Medical School, and bUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School, Brookline, Mass., USA
                57676 Cardiology 2002;97:79–82
                © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 2, References: 15, Pages: 4
                General Cardiology


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