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Levitra effective for ED due to spinal cord injury

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The impotence drug Levitra is helpful for men who have erectile dysfunction (ED) caused by spinal cord injury, according to a report in the medical journal Neurology.

“In a recent survey, most men with spinal cord injury were not satisfied with their sexual lives,” Dr. Francois Giuliano from Academic Hospital of Bicetre, Le Kremlin Bicetre, France and colleagues in the report. “More attention needs to be given to sexuality after spinal cord injury to meet the needs of the affected patients.”

Giuliano and associates evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of 12 weeks of treatment with Levitra versus placebo in 418 men with erectile difficulties due to a traumatic spinal injury.

Erectile function improved with Levitra, known chemically as vardenafil, whereas there was little improvement in erectile function in the placebo group.

Men treated with Levitra had a 76 percent success rate for penetration (versus 41 percent with placebo) and a 59 percent success rate for maintaining the erection (versus 22 percent with placebo), the results indicate.

“Interestingly,” Giuliano told Reuters Health, Levitra “may also be helpful for the restoration of ejaculation,” noting that Levitra treatment was associated with a significantly greater ejaculation success rate (19 percent versus 10 percent with placebo).

Treatment was effective regardless of the severity or location of the spinal cord injury and regardless of baseline severity of ED, the investigators observe. It was well tolerated, although nearly a third of the men experienced such common side effects as headache, flushing, or nasal congestion.

Levitra “is safe and it represents first line therapy in every patient complaining about ED after spinal cord injury,” Giuliano concluded. “In this subgroup of patients, I recommend at least four trials before making conclusions about the efficacy.”

By Will Boggs, MD
SOURCE: Neurology January 24, 2006.

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