Only about a quarter of men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED) receive treatment, despite the availability and heavy media promotion of treatments, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

Omer Cakir, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from 6,228,509 men diagnosed with ED over a 12-month period to assess the frequency of medical therapies and associated comorbidities.

The researchers found that only 25.4 percent of men were treated (filled an appropriate prescription) and 74.6 percent were untreated (did not fill a prescription). Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors were prescribed in 75.2 percent of cases, androgen replacement in 30.6 percent of cases, and urethral prostaglandins in less than 2 percent of cases. Men with comorbid hypogonadism received treatment in 51 percent of cases, while men with comorbid prostate cancer received treatment in only 15 percent of cases.

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“Despite ED treatments being available to men for nearly 15 years as well as heavily promoted in mainstream media, one wonders why they are not seeking care known to improve their quality of life,” Ajay Nangia, M.D., of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansa City, said in a statement. “We need to have a better understanding of where the disconnect between diagnosis and treatment occurs.”