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Users of ED Drugs Have Higher Rates of Sexual Diseases

Men over 40 using erectile dysfunction drugs have higher STD rates before, after starting medications

TUESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Men using medication for erectile dysfunction (ED) have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) -- especially HIV infection -- both before and after using these drugs, according to research published in the July 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Anupam B. Jena, M.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from pharmacy and medical claims for 1,410,806 men older than 40 with employer-based insurance through 44 large U.S. employers. Overall, 33,968 filled at least one prescription for an ED drug.

Compared to nonusers, the researchers found that those using ED drugs had higher rates of STDs both in the year before beginning ED drug therapy (214 versus 106 annually per 100,000 people) and in the year after (105 versus 65). After adjustment for age and other comorbidities, the odds ratio of an STD in the medication users was 2.80 in the year before and 2.65 in the year after. The difference was due largely to HIV infections. In the year before and the year after an ED drug prescription was filled, the odds ratios for HIV infection were 3.32 and 3.19, respectively.

"We found that the relative difference in STD rates between users and nonusers was unchanged in the year after the first ED drug prescription was filled, suggesting that the observed association between ED drug use and STDs may have more to do with the types of patients using ED drugs rather than a direct effect of ED drug availability on STD rates," the authors write.

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