WASHINGTON, D.C.—Statins are associated with a significant improvement in erectile function in men with both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction (ED), according to the findings of a recent meta-analysis presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) annual meeting.

The meta-analysis, by John B. Kostis, MD, and Jeanne M. Dobrzynski, of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., included 11 randomized, controlled trials in which the International Inventory of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire was used to measure erectile function. The questionnaire has 5 questions, each scored on 5-point scale and then totaled. Lower scores indicate worse erectile function.

Overall, statin use was associated with a significant 3.4-point increase in IIEF score compared with controls. The increase in IIEF with statins was about one-third to one-half of that previously reported with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors and larger that the effect of life-style modification or testosterone, the researchers reported.

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“For men with erectile dysfunction who need statins to control cholesterol, this may be an extra  benefit,” Dr. Kostis said in a statement issued by the ACC.

Presentation of the results coincided with the online publication of the findings in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The results of this meta-analysis are consistent with those of a systematic review and meta-analysis published online ahead of print in the Asian Journal of Andrology by Kun-Jie Wang, MD, of Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, and colleagues.

Their study focused on five randomized, placebo-controlled trials looking at statins as a treatment for ED. Results showed that statin treatment was associated with a significant 3.27 point improvement in IIEF score and an overall improvement in lipid profiles.