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Do Statins Lower Male Sex Drive?
Date:4/15/2010

Italian study says yes, but earlier U.S. study had different conclusion

THURSDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- An Italian study of men being treated for erectile dysfunction finds an association between the use of cholesterol-lowering statins and abnormally low levels of the male hormone testosterone.

The study "sends a signal worthy of observation," said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The report is published in the April issue of the journal.

Goldstein noted that, in his practice, he sees patients "several times a week" who say that their sexual performance declined after they started taking a statin.

But an American epidemiologist who did a similar study said the Italian results could be interpreted as saying that statin use reduces the incidence of erectile dysfunction.

That study, of men in Olmsted County, Minn., found a low incidence of impotence in men taking the drugs, with longer use associated with lower incidence. Men who took statins for nine years were 64 percent less likely to develop erectile dysfunction in that study than those who didn't, said study co-author Jennifer St. Sauver, an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic.

The apparently contradictory results could be explained by the different populations in the two studies, St. Sauver said. The Minnesota study included men in the general population, while the Italian study looked only at men being treated for erectile dysfunction.

Thirty percent of the Minnesota men were taking statins. Only 7 percent of the 3,484 men in the Italian study were taking the drugs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that about 16 percent of U.S. adults use statins. The lower percentage in the Italian study could indicate that statins reduce the need to seek treatment for erectile dysfunction, St. Sauver said.'/>"/>

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