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    How To Get Men To Take Them - Note That Statins Can Lead To More Sex
    By News Staff | March 29th 2014 10:00 AM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Erectile dysfunction is common among older men with cardiovascular risk factors where cholesterol-lowering statins are frequently prescribed.

    Matching curves have suggested a negative association between statin therapy and testosterone levels, leading to concerns about the effects of these medications on the quality of erection. Not so, according to a meta-analysis of previous studies on erectile dysfunction and statins. Instead, the authors find that statins are associated with a significant improvement in erectile function, a fact researchers hope will encourage men who need statins to reduce their risk of heart attack to take them. 


    That's good news, because people are increasingly less convinced they should be taking statins for heart attack risk at all. 

    For the meta-analysis, researchers identified 11 randomized, controlled trials that measured erectile function using the International Inventory of Erectile Function – a self-administered survey with five questions, each scored on a five-point scale and totaled, with lower values representing poorer sexual function. Analysis of all 11 studies combined found a statistically significant effect of statins on erectile function in men who had both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. Overall, erectile function scores increased by 3.4 points in men who took statins (from 14.0 to 17.4, a 24.3 percent increase).

    "The increase in erectile function scores with statins was approximately one-third to one-half of what has been reported with drugs like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra," said John B. Kostis, M.D., associate dean for Cardiovascular Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the lead investigator of the study, at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session. "It 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." 

    Researchers believe that statins may work to improve erectile function by helping blood vessels dilate properly and improving vascular blood flow to the penis, which is often restricted in men with erectile dysfunction. While statins are not recommended as a primary treatment for erectile dysfunction in patients with healthy cholesterol levels, the added benefit may encourage more men who need statins to take them. Millions of Americans are prescribed statins to prevent heart disease, but some stop taking the medication or take less than the prescribed dose, Kostis said. Rather than preventing the possibility of a heart attack in the future, the more immediate benefit of improving erectile function might improve adherence to statin therapy, he added.

    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.

    Kostis said that larger randomized controlled trials are needed to further investigate the link between statin therapy and erectile function.

    This study will be simultaneously published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine at the time of presentation.



    Comments

    Michael Martinez
    From a different study published in 2006:
    Dr. Kostis has received grant/research support from Pfizer Labs; has been a consultant for Berlex Laboratories, Pfizer Labs, Schering-Plough Health Products, and Taisho Pharmaceuticals; has served on the speakers’ bureaus of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck&Co., Pfizer Labs, and sanofi-aventis; and is a member of the scientific advisory boards of Pfizer Labs and Schering-Plough Healthcare Products.

    According to some sources of information the statins industry is worth about $29 billion a year.  I am concerned about all these favorable studies coming out of industry-affiliated research (but I don't even know how many qualified researchers would NOT be affiliated with the industry).  Maybe I am just cynical because of the way marketing can be so influential in general.  A recently published meta-analysis of statin studies actually seems to vindicate industry-funded studies as being less favorable to statins.

    I admit I'm having trouble grokking that although the authors of the study say that more study is needed to find out why independent studies display a greater bias.

    I just have this sinking feeling that somewhere down the road about 50 states attorney general will file a massive lawsuit against the statin industry.  My personal experience aside, we all know that using medicine to alter body chemistry is a high-risk alternative to getting everyone to change their lifestyles.  We're not just fighting the statin industry in this war; we're also fighting the food industry.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    This article called 'Lipitor Neurological Side Effect: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer's' claims that 'Lipitor and other statin drugs are well known for their degradation of muscle tissues and the sometimes excruciating pain that comes with this. What is less well known is that the progression of this muscle wasting side effect may lead to a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease or motor neurone disease, described as a chronic, progressive, almost invariably fatal neurological disease.' 

    This article called 'Lipitor - The Human Cost' also claims that 'Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering drug made by Pfizer and sold to millions of health conscious but ill informed patients, is one of the most profitable drugs the pharmaceutical industry has ever come up with. Sales account for a quarter of Pfizer's $ 32 billion annual sales. Expected to gross more than $ 10 billion this year, Lipitor is poised to become the largest-selling pharmaceutical in history, surpassing Pfizer's other wonder drug, Viagra.'

    'But the price to society is much higher than a mere 8 to 10 billion dollars. Lipitor and other drugs in the statin class, such as Bayer's version Baycol - removed from the market by its maker - are not only lowering cholesterol. These drugs apparently ruin perfectly good lives with "side effects" that lead to slow degradation into physical disability. The story of Doug Peterson and other residents of Tahoe City may be coldly dismissed as "anecdotal evidence", but there is no excuse for scientific statistical sofistry. Every tragedy is real - when it happens to you, the risk is 100%.'

    Finally this article called 'Lipitor: Side Effects And Natural Remedy' claims that 'serious side effects have been reported for Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering drugs - the so-called statins - prescribed to millions for preventive purposes. The prescription of these drugs is based on the discredited hypothesis that high cholesterol levels cause heart attacks. The cholesterol myth has been one of the most long lived falsehoods around - probably because it has been excellent business, both for large pharma producers as well as for the food multinationals, who introduced margarine telling us how much healthier it is than butter.'

    My mother committed suicide while dying a terrible death from Lou Gehrig's ALS after several years of taking the statin drug Lipitor for her slightly raised blood cholesterol. Her doctor was still prescribing Lipitor to her while she was dying of motor neuron disease until I pointed out to him that the World Health Organisation had produced a report linking Lipitor to an alarming increase in the incidence of ALS and motor neuron disease. By then it was too late for my mother. MND is often a multi-factorial disease but it does seem likely that some statins like Lipitor can have a significantly adverse effect on some people's health and that many doctors and their patients do not seem to be aware of this.

    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Martin Vlaskamp
    Thank you Helen, that's very enlightening.

    I think that part of the problem is having to make a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea (not Byron of course, that's an easy one): I take statins because of moderately elevated cholesterol as prescribed by my doctor, if I don't take them I may die of heart disease, if I take them I may get other problems or have them already without knowing their origin other than just becoming older.

    My mother died at the ripe old age of 86, some of her brothers made it to well in their 90's - they were brought up in Zeeland (Netherlands), the old fashioned way on a very fatty diet. My grandparents died in their late 70's or 80's, before statins or other modern medicine was widely available. Some of my mother's sisters died of cancer, the gene of which I inherited and have passed on to some of my children.

    It seems to me that in the quest to prolong life in first world countries where the money is, the medical profession prescribes available medicine as a blanket rule without having regard for individual differences and genetic background, fed by forever increasing commercialization of our lives. The longer we live the more medicine we consume, and the more medicine we take the longer we live - ideal situation from a commercial point of view. I also think we are giving away our power to make our own decisions based on unbiased information and not on fear based argument.

    At least I have choices, and I thank you and other contributors for providing me with the information to make them informed ones.

    'Who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety' Benjamin Franklin
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Good luck with your choice of statin medications Martin :) You might be interested to read this recent Science20 article called 'Why I Will Never Take Statins Again' By Michael Martinez.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine