suntimes
CRACKLING 
Weather Updates

New, faster drug to challenge Viagra, others

Updated: May 4, 2012 10:06AM



Consumers will soon be hearing a lot about a new drug to handle erectile dysfunction — the first new pill for the condition in a decade.

Newly approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, the drug — to be sold under the brand name Stendra and also known as avanafil — works the same way as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis, urologists say, but has a new selling point.

“It acts a little quicker,” often in about 15 minutes, says Dr. Wayne Hellstrom, a professor of urology at Tulane University in New Orleans who worked on clinical studies for drugmaker Vivus Inc.

The other drugs typically take effect in 30 to 60 minutes, Hellstrom says.

The drugs all increase blood flow to the penis, and men who take any of them can get side-effects such as facial flushing, headaches, upset stomachs and stuffy noses.

In real-world use, men sometimes find they like one pill better than another for various reasons, says urology professor Dr. Ajay Nehra of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The pills don’t work for everyone: The 40 percent to 60 percent of men who get results are likely to have milder ED (they can still get some spontaneous erections), are in stable relationships and don’t have a long list of other health problems, Nehra says.

Those health problems — including heart disease, diabetes and obesity — point to what he says is an underappreciated fact: Many cases of ED could be prevented or improved with the same lifestyle choices that improve overall health, especially heart health. Nehra is among experts who are developing ED prevention guidelines based on studies showing links with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and poor diets.

Those links are so strong that doctors now know that a man in his 40s who arrives in a doctor’s office with ED is at high risk for an eventual heart attack or stroke, says Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and president of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology.

Gannett News Service



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.