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Dyslipidemia as a Risk Factor for Erectile Dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition with a significant effect on quality of life. The prevalence of ED increases with age and other risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, smoking, coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia and depression). Nitric oxide (NO) activity is adversely affected, in penile and vascular tissue, by these risk factors. Endothelial dysfunction and a reduced generation or bioavailability of NO have emerged as major pathophysiological mechanisms in ED.

Hyperlipidemia may impair erectile function by affecting endothelial and smooth muscle cells of the penis. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein is a causative factor for the impaired relaxation response of the corpus cavernosum. Elevated serum cholesterol and reduced high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of ED. It follows that treating dyslipidemia could have a beneficial effect on ED.

Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors are now considered as first line treatment for ED. There is evidence that statins improve responses to these drugs.

ED is considered as a warning sign of silent or early vascular disease. The use of statins may be beneficial in these patients.
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Keywords: Erectile dysfunction; fibrates; hyperlipidemia; phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors; statins

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Clinical Biochemistry (Vascular Disease Prevention Clinic), Royal Free Hospital and Royal Free University College Medical School, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK.

Publication date: 01 July 2007

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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