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 "Erectile Disfunction: trouble regardless of the spelling"

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Erectile Disfunction

While the prevalence of impotence is unknown in Kenya, a study conducted in China reveals that more than half of Chinese men over 40 years old suffer from this most agonising affliction. However, experts estimate that over 40 per cent of African men in the same age bracket also suffer from the problem medically known as Erectile Disfunction or (ED).

It must therefore have come as a relief for many when a new drug for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) was launched in the Kenyan market. Levitra (Vardenafil) is manufaactured by Bayer East Africa Limited who will also be marketing the drug. It is an FDA-approved oral prescription medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men and is available in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg tablets, taken orally only when needed, but not more than once a day.

While addressing doctors and the media during the launch, Dr Eugene Viljoen, a sex expert from South Africa, said that the drug had proved effective in helping men with ED to maintain an erection and have successful sex. "Levitra helps increase blood flow to the penis and may help men with ED get and keep an erection satisfactory for sexual activity. Once a man has completed sexual activity, blood flow to his penis should decrease and his erection should go away," said Dr Viljoen.

He said the drug provided first time success and reliable improvement of erection quality for most men, with the majority reporting having harder erections and improved overall sexual experiences. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to attain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. "It affects approximately one third of men and its prevalence increases with age. Whether due to organic, psychological or mixed causes, ED impairs self-esteem and decreases the quality of life and intimate relationships," Dr Viljoen said.

In a study carried out in a broad population of men with erectile dysfunction, which was published in the journal European Urology, the drug had been shown to have significant clinical efficacy in improving ED and also demonstrated a low incidence of adverse effects. Dr Viljoen said that 92 per cent of the men who were put on the drug reported improved erections and 89 per cent of these achieved successful penetration while 78 per cent maintained an erection sufficient enough to have successful intercourse, regardless of the dose of Levitra used. Dr Viljoen said that while a higher dose may improve erection, almost 100 per cent of the men who chose to remain on 10 mg during the 10-week study reported improved erections, indicating that they were receiving their optimum dose level. "In patients who increased their dose from 10 to 20 mg, at week 6, positive responses improved from 82 to 97 per cent."

Dr Viljoen said that there are many underlying physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction. "Reduced blood flow to the penis and nerve damage are the most common physical causes. Underlying conditions associated with erectile dysfunction include the following: Vascular disease; diabetes; drugs; hormone disorders; neurologic conditions and psychological conditions," he said.

Dr Viljoen said that psychological conditions such as depression, guilt, worry, stress, and anxiety all contribute to loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. "If a man experiences loss of erection, he may worry that it will happen again. This can produce anxiety associated with performance and may lead to chronic problems during sex. If the cycle is inescapable, it can result in impotence. Psychological factors in impotence are often secondary to physical causes, and they magnify their significance," he added.

Drew Voight

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