“Erectile Dysfunction” (ED) is a rather medical-sounding name meaning ‘difficulties with achieving or maintaining an erection’. There is an implication that the difficulties are variable – they may be mild, short term and intermittent, or severe and entrenched. The word “Impotence” describes the more severe end of the spectrum of ED. Most men with ED would be in the mild to moderate end of the spectrum. One should always bear in mind that the quality of an erection varies anyway in normal men from time to time, and may deteriorate naturally with age. This does not however mean that sexual activity cannot be enjoyable into later life even if the man’s erections aren’t quite as good as they were when he was young.
Sildenafil is the generic name for Viagra (registered trade mark of Pfizer Corporation). Viagra was developed by Pfizer in their research facility in Sandwich, Kent, UK in the late 80s/early 90s. The drug was introduced to the public in 1998, and almost overnight, became very popular as the primary treatment for ED. In 2011, sildenafil came off patent, and Viagra as a brand, is now replaced with Avigra (Pfizer). This is identical to Viagra in all but name. There are also other brands of sildenafil available such as Vedafil (Mylan) and Silvasta (Douglas Pharmaceuticals). As a result of sildenafil coming off patent the price of all the brands, is now a fraction of the price of Viagra.
As before, sildenafil is a prescription drug in New Zealand and requires a consultation with a doctor before it can be dispensed. Full prescribing information will be supplied when you attend for your consultation.
The history of Erectile Dysfunction (formerly “Impotence”) has a pre-sildenafil phase and a post-sildenfil phase. In “Pre-sildenafil” days, erectile dysfunction (ED for short) was not widely talked about, and not much research had been done on the subject. There was also a perception that ED was primarily a psychological problem, and that if the man relaxed a bit and didn’t worry, the erections would come right. At medical school, I do not recall ED being discussed or mentioned, and it certainly wasn’t part of the education curriculum. It was only when Viagra came out that it became apparent that ED was a huge problem which had hitherto been unrecognised. Because of the huge number of men coming forward enquiring about Viagra, medical researchers were able to finally get to grips with this health problem and identify its causes. Now, 12 years “Post-sildenafil”, there is a wealth of information about ED and men are much more willing to seek treatment for it rather than suffering in silence as they used to do.
Viagra is not the only treatement available for ED. There are other treatment options available which may be better for some men. Our approach at MenzMedical is to obtain a thorough history of the problem, and do a complete physical examination and blood tests. After careful analysis, we advise the man what the most likely cause is, and taylor a solution for him.
Prior to attending for the 1½ hour consultation, we request if possible that the man attend the laboratory after fasting for 12 hours, to have some blood taken off for analysis. If he attends at the lab at least 2 business days prior to coming for the medical, nearly all the results will be back, so we can discuss them with him (and/or his partner) during the consultation with the doctor.