A research review in the current issue of the Cochrane Library journal concludes that the three drugs used to treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED) - Cialis, Levitra and Viagra appear to be safe and effective for men with diabetes. These drugs are included in a family of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors.
Diabetes is one of the main causes of ED. Experts have estimated that the diabetic men are about three times more likely than other men to deal with ED problems.
Dr. Moshe Vardi of the internal medicine division at Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center in Israel and the lead author of the review, said that, "ED is also typically more severe and difficult to treat in men with diabetes."
In their review assessing the safety and effectiveness of ED drugs for diabetic men, Vardi's team analyzed eight clinical trials covering around 1,759 men, conducted since 1998. Each compared one of three ED drugs on the market with a placebo, or inactive pill. Eighty percent of the men in these studies had type 2 diabetes, while 20 percent had type 1 diabetes.
At the end of the studies, men who took one of the PDE-5 inhibitors showed improvements, however, the drugs caused few adverse reactions, according to the review. The most common side effects were headache, flushing, and upper respiratory tract complaints, back pain, flu-like symptoms, nasal symptoms, upset stomach and temporary vision disturbances but there were no deaths.
Dr. Moshe Vardi said, "The results of our meta-analysis are not surprising, but give strength to the general notion that this class of drugs is efficient and safe for this specific wide population." Together the drugs have "altered the management" of ED in general, but until now there had been no systematic review of how well the drugs work for diabetic men.
Researchers concluded: "It is clear from the meta-analysis presented that PDE-5 inhibitors should be considered a primary treatment for erectile dysfunction in diabetic men" and "They have proved to be effective and safe."