Study Reveals Possible Risks of Combining Medications for Erectile Dysfunction and Chest Pain
A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that taking phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5i), a medication commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), along with nitrates, a drug for chest pain, can increase the risks of negative health outcomes such as heart failure and early death. The study included more than 60,000 men with cardiovascular disease.
The use of PDE5i in individuals with both ED and cardiovascular disease has been controversial due to the drugs’ potential to induce low blood pressure in different ways. Despite existing research and clinical guidelines discouraging the simultaneous use of these medications, physicians are reportedly seeing an increase in requests for ED drugs from men with cardiovascular diseases.
The study revealed that men who were treated with both nitrates and PDE5i had a slightly higher risk of premature death from all causes and were twice as likely to have undergone revascularization compared to those treated with nitrates alone. This suggests that combining these medications may pose a greater danger to patients than previously thought.
Experts have long been aware of the potential risk of low blood pressure when combining these therapies, but the study highlights the need for increased caution among physicians regarding the co-prescription of these medications. It emphasizes the importance of considering alternative treatment options for patients with ED and cardiovascular disease.
It is important to note that the study has limitations and cannot establish causality. However, patients with ED should discuss alternative treatment options with their physicians and be informed about the risks associated with combining PDE5i and nitrates. Patients who experience angina after taking PDE5i should seek medical attention rather than taking nitrate medication to treat it.
As the use of PDE5i continues to rise, it is crucial for healthcare providers to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits when prescribing these medications to patients with cardiovascular disease. This study serves as a reminder that patient safety should always be the top priority when managing multiple health conditions.