Wouldn’t it be great if Viagra could lower cholesterol at the same times as it relieves erectile dysfunction? The blue pill is miraculous to some, but even it can’t decrease cholesterol levels. Statins, on the other hand, may just be the stone that could kill those two figurative birds, according to Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School researchers. The team, led by Dr. John Kostis, performed a meta-analysis of 11 trials to discover whether statins had a meaningful effect on erectile dysfunction in men who suffered from both high cholesterol and sexual impotence. The scientists found that their erectile function scores had indeed improved; more specifically, about one third to one half of what has been reported with Viagra and similar drugs like Cialis and Levitra.
In addition to that, the effect was actually better than what testosterone or lifestyle modifications have been known to achieve. There are a couple of caveats, though. For starters, the use of stains as a treatment for erectile dysfunction is not recommended by doctors and researchers in men who have normal levels of cholesterol. Secondly, this research should not be interpreted as claiming that statins are some sort of aphrodisiac. Much like Viagra, what these drugs would do to alleviate impotence would be something along the lines of recreating the conditions under which an erection can naturally take place, but they wouldn’t produce instant erections nor would they enhance sexual drive or performance.
As a matter of fact, statins are understood to work similarly to Viagra. The latter has an active ingredient called Sildenafil Citrate that helps to expand the blood vessels and improve circulation. As a result, when a Viagra user becomes sexually excited enough blood can rush to the penis so that it can become and stay erected. This effect can last approximately 4 to 6 hours. Statins can also help dilate blood vessels and increase vascular blood flow. Furthermore, high cholesterol is one of the causes of erectile dysfunction –which also include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, depression, and stress. Hence, it’s only logical that a treatment for high cholesterol may have the added perk of improving sexual function.
Between 18 to 30 million around the world are believed to be affected by erectile dysfunction – the actual number is hard to assess because the stigma that accompanies this condition makes it quite underreported. Though it can affect men of all ages, it is more frequent in individuals who are 40 and older. Better eating, sleeping, and exercising habits can improve erectile function; if the root of the problem is psychological, which it may very well be, then therapy may be helpful. For people who can’t be bothered to change their lifestyles or face their inner traumas, Pfizer developed Viagra in 1998, though it was originally conceived as a remedy for angina pectoris.
Just like Sildenafil is better known as Viagra, statins may be better known as Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, Pravachol, or Crestor. These drugs inhibit an enzyme in the liver known as hydroxyl-methylglutaryl-coenzyme, which is responsible for producing cholesterol. The downside is that statins have several side effects. Some of them are headache, difficulty sleeping, flushing of the skin, muscle aches, tenderness, or weakness, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting, abdominal cramping and/or pain, bloating and/or gas, diarrhea, constipation, and rash. That’s not the bad news, though; that’s actually par for the course for a prescription drug. The problem is that statins may decrease testosterone, and in turn, decrease sexual drive and energy, which would kinda defeat the purpose of taking a drug to relieve erectile dysfunction. Kostis said that the benefits outweighed the side effects in 10 of the 11 studies.