Newsroom | News Archive | Publications | Contact Us for Experts  
 
Susanne Hartman
(215) 349-5964
Related Links
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Health System
 
 
> Epigenetics Shapes Fate of Brain vs. Brawn Castes in Carpenter Ants
> Molecular Master Switch for Pancreatic Cancer Identified, Potential Predictor of Treatment Outcome
> Eat to Dream: Penn Study Shows Dietary Nutrients Associated with Certain Sleep Patterns
  All News Releases
 
    Media Resources
 
spacerNEWS RELEASE spacer Print Version
FEBRUARY 21, 2006
  Use of Statins Shows Improvement in Erectile Performance of Some Men Who Previously Did Not Respond Well to Viagra
  Penn Researchers Share Preliminary Results of a Study Which Focused on Endothelial Dysfunction in Patients Who Suffer From Erectile Dysfunction
   

(Philadelphia, PA) – Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine say preliminary results of a small study show promise in improving erectile dysfunction (ED) in men who had shown minimal reaction to Viagra. The study results are published in the March issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Erectile dysfunction is often a sign of a more severe vascular problem that involves abnormalities in the lining of the blood vessels. And often, endothelial dysfunction is an underlying problem for ED – it can be one of the first signs of atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque and blockages in the arteries.

“It’s already known that there is a connection between erectile dysfunction and coronary disease. The risk factors are the same for both, and thus, ED can be a marker for coronary disease,” explains lead author Howard Herrmann, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “Normal erections are caused when nitric oxide is made, but with endothelial dysfunction, the body doesn’t make enough of it, causing the erectile dysfunction. Normally, Viagra prevents the breakdown of the little nitric oxide that is there, so that there is enough of it for an erection to occur.”

However, about 10-30 % of men are classified as “Viagra non-responders” – in these men, Viagra did not significantly help their erectile dysfunction. So in a small, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study at Penn, Herrmann looked at a dozen patients with ED who had not responded well to Viagra. He gave them either a high-dose Lipitor or a placebo. He then rechallenged them with Viagra and asked if the ED had improved.

“There did seem to be some improvement for those who received Lipitor versus the placebo,” said Herrmann. “We theorized that if you could make the edothelium healthier through the use of statins -- so that there is more nitric oxide available -- you would improve the endothelial dysfunction and Viagra would work better for the patient.”

And there are other potential benefits too. Stan Schwartz, MD, Director of the Diabetes Disease Management program at Penn and co-author, states, “Patients with Diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, are plagued with complications of the diabetic state that involve endothelial dysfunction. This research points us in a direction that says any drug class that improves endothelial dysfunction may also be beneficial to patients with diabetes.”

Additionally, Emile Mohler, MD, Director of Vascular Medicine at Penn and co-author, cautions, “ED is a sign that cholesterol plaque may be present in the heart, neck or leg arteries. Men with ED should be evaluated for vascular disease.”

“These preliminary results show promise,” adds Herrmann. “They support the hypothesis that erectile dysfunction may be one sign of a generalized vascular disorder characterized by endothelial dysfunction and that statin drugs may improve the endothelial dysfunction, even before altering the lipid profile. But the results are preliminary and warrant further testing in a larger clinical trial,” he cautions.

It should be noted that beyond endothelial dysfunction, there are other reasons Viagra may not work well for someone.

The results of this study were published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Members can access the journal on-line at: http://jsm.issir.org/. The article is titled, “Can Atorvastatin Improve the Response to Sildenafil in Men with Erectile Dysfunction Not Initially Responsive to Sildenafil? Hypothesis and Pilot Trial Results.”

This study was supported by an unrestricted medical center grant from Pfizer.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Howard Herrmann has received honorarium from Pfizer and Lilly ICOS. Dr. Stan Schwartz is a consultant and has received a speaker’s honoraria from Lilly ICOS. Dr. Emile Mohler is part of the speaker’s bureau for Pfizer.

###

PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System comprises: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.


 

 



About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 800-789-PENN © 2013, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania