Drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction such as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors were also found to have clinical uses for a wide variety of conditions, reveals a new study.
PDE5 inhibitors cause blood vessel dilation by targeting a particular cellular pathway that is involved in many normal physiological functions and in the pathophysiology of a wide range of diseases.
PDE5 inhibitors likely have effects on many organs and functions, and they have been approved to treat lower urinary tract symptoms and pulmonary arterial hypertension. They are also being used off-label to treat conditions including diabetes and cancer.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a physical condition in males in which it is hard to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. It is also known as impotence.
When a man is sexually excited (aroused), his brain sends signals to the nerves in the penis. This leads to increased blood flow to the penis, causing the penis to expand and harden. Hence, anything which interferes with the nervous system or blood circulation could lead to erectile dysfunction.
Problems with erections occur in most men; however, when this happens very frequently, it is a sign of ED. It is a very common condition, especially in older men.
Most cases of ED respond to oral medications. These medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical the body produces that relaxes blood vessels in the penis. This, in turn, increases blood flow to the penis and leads to an erection, in response to sexual stimulation.
These oral medications are known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors and include the following:
- Avanafil These are prescription drugs approved by FDA and are successful in generating an erection sufficient for intercourse in about 70 percent of men.
The effects of these ED drugs may vary to quite an extent from person to person. They do not exhibit a strong response in men suffering from diabetes, heart disease and with damaged nerves or arteries.