BACKGROUND: Erectile dysfunction (ED) shares similar modifiable risks factors with coronary artery disease (CAD). Lifestyle modification that targets CAD risk factors may also lead to improvement in ED. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of lifestyle interventions and pharmacotherapy for cardiovascular (CV) risk factors on the severity of ED.
METHODS: A comprehensive search of multiple electronic databases through August 2010 was conducted using predefined criteria. We included randomized controlled clinical trials with follow-up of at least 6 weeks of lifestyle modification intervention or pharmacotherapy for CV risk factor reduction. Studies were selected by 2 independent reviewers. The main outcome measure of the study is the weighted mean differences in the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF-5) score with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using a random effects model.
RESULTS: A total of 740 participants from 6 clinical trials in 4 countries were identified. Lifestyle modifications and pharmacotherapy for CV risk factors were associated with statistically significant improvement in sexual function (IIEF-5 score): weighted mean difference, 2.66 (95% CI, 1.86-3.47). If the trials with statin intervention (n = 143) are excluded, the remaining 4 trials of lifestyle modification interventions (n = 597) demonstrate statistically significant improvement in sexual function: weighted mean difference, 2.40 (95% CI, 1.19-3.61).
CONCLUSION: The results of our study further strengthen the evidence that lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy for CV risk factors are effective in improving sexual function in men with ED.
I think that many patients and docs feel that ED is irreversible and only treated by sildafenil and other similar drugs. The knowledge that lifestyle measures and possibly statin drugs may also have a positive impact on sexual functioning could be an important motivating factor for some men.