March 6, 2006

Viagra plus cholesterol drug improves impotence

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Lipitor, a commonly prescribed
cholesterol-lowering drug, may have extra benefits for men with
impotence. Specifically, investigators have found that in men
who are not initially helped by Viagra (sildenafil), treatment
with Lipitor (atorvastatin) seems to improve sexual response,
according to the results of a small study.

Impotence, also referred to as erectile dysfunction, may
involve a generalized disturbance of the lining of the blood
vessels (endothelium), lead author Dr. Howard C. Herrmann said
in a statement. His group therefore theorized that if the
endothelium could be made healthier through
cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins -- "Viagra would
work better for the patient."

To investigate, Dr. Herrmann, from the University of
Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed the
effect of adding Lipitor to Viagra in 12 men with
moderate-to-severe erectile dysfunction despite an adequate
course of Viagra treatment. The men were randomly assigned to
daily treatment with Lipitor or placebo for 12 weeks.

The researchers' findings appear in the Journal of Sexual
Medicine for March.

Treatment with Lipitor, but not placebo, was associated
with a significant improvement in the erectile response to
Viagra. An effect was seen by six weeks after beginning the

As anticipated, Lipitor also reduced levels of
LDL-cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, in this case, by 43

While encouraging, "the results are preliminary and warrant
further testing in a larger clinical trial," Herrmann noted.

SOURCE: Journal of Sexual Medicine, March 2006.