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Levitra a Day May Keep the Doctor Away

Erectile dysfunction drugs may lower a man's risk of heart disease and of noncancer prostate symptoms.
WebMD Health News

May 24, 2005 -- Men now have two new reasons to take erection-enhancing drugs every day.

Those reasons: The drugs may lower a man's risk of heart disease and of noncancerous prostate symptoms. Instead of calling them erectile dysfunction drugs, they might come to be called "men's health pills," suggest urologist Frank Sommer, MD, PhD, and colleagues at University Medical Center in Cologne, Germany.

This provocative speculation is based on short-term data from a small study. Sommer reported the findings at this week's annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Antonio.

"Preliminary results are quite encouraging that [these drugs] could be used for the treatment or prevention of benign prostatic symptoms, erectile dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease," Sommer and colleagues write in their presentation abstract. "These [drugs] seem to have the potential of being a so-called men's health pill."

Daily Levitra vs. Levitra on Demand

Erectile dysfunction drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE-5. This helps muscles relax and increases blood flow to the penis.

To see if these drugs might have other long-term health effects, Sommer and colleagues studied men with benign prostate symptoms. Some of the men got Levitra, an erectile dysfunction drug, once every day. Other men took Levitra only when they desired sexual intercourse.

After three months, the men getting Levitra every day had:

  • Just as good relief of erectile dysfunction as the Levitra-on-demand men
  • More improvement in tests for blood flow, which indicate healthy blood vessel function
  • More improvement in prostate symptoms

But it's not yet time to start popping those little pills along with your daily vitamins. The study findings, Sommer and colleagues note, are preliminary.

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