WEDNESDAY, Jan. 24, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Three drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction -- Cialis, Levitra and Viagra -- are safe and effective for men with diabetes, concludes a research review in the current issue of the Cochrane Library journal.
These drugs are included in a family of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors.
In their review, the authors analyzed eight studies of 1,759 men that compared Cialis, Levitra or Viagra to placebo. Eighty percent of the men in these studies had type 2 diabetes, while 20 percent had type 1 diabetes. Most of the studies lasted for 12 weeks.
At the end of the studies, men who took one of the PDE-5 inhibitors showed improvements on all measures of erectile dysfunction, and the drugs caused few adverse reactions, according to the review.
Men who took the drugs were 4.8 times more likely to have an adverse reaction than men who took a placebo. The most common side effects among men who took the drugs were headache, flushing, and upper respiratory tract complaints and flu-like symptoms. There were no deaths.
"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," review lead author Dr. Moshe Vardi, of the internal medicine division at Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center in Israel, said in a prepared statement.
"PDE-5 inhibitors have been considered the mainstay of treatment for erectile dysfunction in the general population for many years. Diabetics are prone to this complication, and the etiology of their erectile dysfunction is multifactorial, thus making their treatment a special challenge for physicians and other health care professionals," Vardi said.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about erectile dysfunction.