Diabetes — especially type 2 — is well established as a risk factor for erectile dysfunction. As we previously noted in a news item, a 2019 study even found that people with genetic risk factors for type 2 — whether or not they actually develop diabetes — are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction affects about 30 million men in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It’s more likely to occur if you’re older, have certain health conditions (including cardiovascular disease), take certain medications, or have certain mental health problems. It’s also linked to factors like being overweight and smoking.
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For the latest analysis, researchers looked at data from the Researching Cardiovascular Events with a Weekly Incretin in Diabetes (REWIND) trial, which was designed to explore the effect of Trulicity on cardiovascular outcomes. The trial was conducted at 371 sites in 24 countries, enrolling participants with type 2 diabetes who were over 50 years old. For this analysis, researchers looked at data from 3,725 men who took part in the trial, with an average age of 65.5 years. Within this group, 2,104 men had moderate to severe erectile dysfunction at the beginning of the trial, and 1,487 had a history of cardiovascular disease. Each participant included in the analysis took a survey asking about erectile dysfunction symptoms at the beginning of the trial, and at least once more two or five years later or at the end of the trial.
Trulicity linked to fewer cases, less severe erectile dysfunction
As part of the REWIND trial, all participants were randomly assigned, in equal numbers, to either a treatment group that received Trulicity or a control group that took a placebo (inactive injection). The latest analysis found that men in the Trulicity group experienced erectile dysfunction at a rate of 21.3 cases per 100 person-years, while men in the placebo group experienced the condition at a rate of 22.0 cases per 100 person-years. Among men who had erectile dysfunction at the beginning of the study or who developed it, those in the Trulicity group saw a smaller average increase in the severity of the condition than those in the placebo group.
The researchers concluded that while the absolute differences between the two groups in the REWIND trial were small when it came to erectile dysfunction, long-term use of Trulicity may reduce the risk of experiencing the condition or of it being more severe. More studies are needed to learn what underlying mechanisms may be responsible for a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction in men who take the drug, including the role of cardiovascular health in outcomes related to erectile dysfunction.
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