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Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Do Not Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer, Study Shows

Aug 03, 2016 01:32 AM EDT

A new study revealed that the use erectile dysfunction drugs, or phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5is) inhibitors such as sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil may not reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of Urology, debunks previous studies linking erectile dysfunction drugs and prostate cancer prevention.

"In vitro mouse studies have suggested that these drugs might have some anticancer activity, but the evidence in human subjects is mixed," said Stephen J. Freedland, MD, Division of Urology, Department of Surgery at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, California, in a report from Oncology Nurse Advisor.

Due to the alleged anticancer activity of PDE-5is, the researchers tested the association between the use erectile dysfunction drugs and the risk of developing prostate cancer. To do so, the researchers followed 6,501 men for four years. Of those, 364 were taking PDE-5is drugs, while the remaining volunteers were not.

Over the course of the study, 19.5 percent of the participants taking the erectile dysfunction medication were diagnosed with prostate cancer. On the other hand, 22.7 percent of the participants who were not taking PDE-5is were also diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers noted that there are no statistically significant differences in prostate cancer diagnosis between those who take erectile dysfunction drugs and those who do not.

Additionally, the researchers looked into men living in North America due to the higher prevalence of using erectile dysfunction drug in the region. The treatment was associated with an inverse trend of prostate cancer that approached but did not reached statistical significance.

The researchers noted that there is a need for further studies with larger population and longer follow-up in order to determine if erectile dysfunction medication can really prevent the onset of prostate cancer.

According to the report from UPI, 20 to 40 percent of men in their 60's and nearly 75 percent of men in their 70's experience erectile dysfunction.

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