Short-term treatment with atorvastatin prior to radical prostatectomy (RP) for prostate cancer has no statistically significant effect on postoperative recovery of erectile function, new data suggest.

The finding is from the first study to evaluate preoperative use of atorvastatin on erectile function following RP in a randomized setting, according to investigators Aino Siltari, PhD, of Tampere University in Tampere, Finland, and colleagues.

In a double-blind trial, investigators randomly assigned 118 men to receive either 80 mg atorvastatin (60 patients) or placebo (58 patients) daily from the time of study inclusion until the day of RP. Of these, 85% filled out the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5) questionnaire prior to surgery and 85%, 81%, 78%, and 78% completed it at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months follow-up visits, respectively.

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The median duration of atorvastatin and placebo use prior to RP was 27 and 25 days, respectively, Dr Siltari’s team reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. At baseline, 43% of the atorvastatin group and 45% of the placebo recipients had normal erectile function (IIEF-5 score of 22 or higher). The median age of patients in both study arms was 64 years.

Although IIEF-5 scores were numerically higher at all time points in the atorvastatin group compared with the placebo group, the differences were not statistically significant.

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When Dr Siltari and colleagues took into account ED severity, they observed no statistically significant differences between study arms for ED of any grade.

“Overall, we conclude that short-term atorvastatin treatment before radical prostatectomy conferred no significant benefit on the recovery of the erectile function in this unselected group of men,” the authors concluded. “However, because the IIEF-5 scores were consistently higher, but not statistically significantly, in the statin arm, there may be effects in specific subgroups.”


Siltari A, Riikonen J, Fode M, Murtola TJ. Effects of preoperative atorvastatin treatment on erectile function after radical prostatectomy: Results from a subgroup of ESTO1, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study [published online August 9, 2019]. J Sex Med. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.07.001