Men With Diabetes More Likely to Need Invasive ED Treatments

A study of medical claims data from more than 136,000 men shows that men with diabetes are much more likely to require invasive therapies for erectile dysfunction than men without diabetes. The therapies, which are the next steps beyond oral treatments, are second-line suppositories or injections and third-line surgeries to implant prostheses.

The study, from the Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, found that men with diabetes were 1.6 times more likely to advance to second-line treatments within five years of being diagnosed with ED than their non-diabetic peers. They also were 2.1 times more likely to advance to third-line therapies within the same time.

The study showed that first-line therapies—pills such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra—are often not as effective in men with diabetes as they are in men who don’t have the disease. Thus, the progression of diabetic men to more intensive and intrusive therapies is faster.

The researchers think that tight blood sugar control may be one key to delaying the need for secondary and tertiary therapies among men with diabetes. High blood sugar levels often create peripheral nerve damage in the penis and decreased blood flow to it. Even then, the researchers indicate, physicians may have to move more quickly to second- and third-line therapies once they diagnose ED in a patient with diabetes.

Data for the study were collected from the Innovus i3 database, which has claims data for more than 30 million individuals in the United States who subscribe to United Health Care Insurance. Of the 136,206 men whose data were used in the study, 19,236 had been diagnosed with diabetes before they were diagnosed with ED.

The study results were delivered at the recent American Urological Association  2011 Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC.

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