Men's Health

Statins Help With Erectile Function

In addition to lowering blood cholesterol, statin drugs also appear to help with erectile dysfunction. Researchers said they hope that conclusion will encourage men who need statins to take them.

The finding is to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

In their analysis of previous studies on erectile dysfunction and statins, researchers focused on 11 trials that measured erectile function using the International Inventory of Erectile Function. The analysis found a significant effect of statins on erectile function on men who had both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. Overall, erectile function scores increased by 3.4 points in men who took statins.

John B. Kostis, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Institute and associate dean for Cardiovascular Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the lead investigator of the study, said that the difference “was larger than the reported effect of lifestyle modification. For men with erectile dysfunction who need statins to control cholesterol, this may be an extra benefit."

Statins may improve erectile function by helping blood vessels dilate properly and improving blood flow to the penis. Although millions of people are prescribed statins, some stop taking the medicine or take less than the prescribed dose, Kostis said. The more immediate benefit of improving erectile dysfunction could encourage men to adhere to their statin therapy.

Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 18 million to 30 million men and occurs more often in men over the age of 40. Common causes include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, depression and stress.

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