A new study is giving hope to older men who are concerned about the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications on their sexual health. The study by researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School indicates that statin medication prescribed to lower cholesterol and decrease the chance of having a heart attack and stroke, also improves a man’s erectile function. The investigators presented their findings today at the American College of Cardiology‘s Annual Scientific Session and simultaneously released the study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
“Older men who have poor cardiovascular health, diabetes or metabolic syndrome often experience erectile dysfunction and the prevalence of these diseases is expected to increase,” said John B. Kostis, MD, professor of medicine, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the study’s principal investigator. “Our research indicates that statins not only improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, but also improve erectile function in the men included in our analysis.”
Dr. Kostis suggested that ED may serve as a warning sign of cardiovascular disease. “Similar to a canary in a coal mine,” he said.
In such patients, prescribing statins following the detection of cardiovascular disease could offer early benefits in addition to improved sexual function. He cautioned, however, that until further study is conducted, statins should not be prescribed for erectile dysfunction alone or when it may be caused by psychosocial factors. Kostis added that further study is needed to determine the link between statin therapy and the improvement of erectile function.