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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 17:04 GMT
Impotence drug 'lasts 24 hours'
Anti-impotence drug Cialis
The effects of Cialis last for 24 hours
Men with impotence will be able to have sex at all hours of the day and night thanks to a new drug.

The makers of Cialis, launched in the UK this week, say its effects last 24 hours.

The drug is poised to rival Viagra, which men are advised to take one hour before sex and which lasts up to four hours.

It allows more spontaneity

Dr Pat Wright,
GP Durham
As with Viagra, the drug will only be available to certain patients on the NHS.

Lilly UK which manufacturers Cialis says it enables men to choose when they want to have sex and allows couples to be spontaneous.

While the effects of the drug last all day, men will only achieve an erection when they are sexually aroused.

Brain signal

Men obtain an erection when sexual thoughts or physical sensations stimulate the brain causing it to send nerve impulses to the penis.

This increases the production of a chemical messenger that causes blood vessels in the penis to expand. This extra blood flow triggers the erection.

However, men with erectile dysfunction need higher amounts of this messenger to achieve a satisfactory erection.

The amount of chemical messenger is controlled by an enzyme called PDE5.

Cialis intervenes by preventing PDE5 from breaking down the messenger and so increasing blood flow in the penis and enabling men to have an erection.

Dr Susan Griffith, medical director at Lilly UK, said: "What we have seen from clinical trials is that Cialis allows a man following sexual stimulation to have an erection when he or his partner chooses for up to 24 hours."

Dr Pat Wright, a GP in Durham, said Cialis would allow couples to take a more natural approach to sex.

"It allows more spontaneity. It allows them to forget the fact they've taken the tablet. It allows a more natural response," he said.

Dr David Ralph, a consultant urologist at the Institute of Urology in London, welcomed the drug.

"Cialis is an important new treatment for both couples and doctors alike.

"Research shows that it can work in up to four out of five men with erectile dysfunction and that it can remain effective for up to 24 hours, allowing couples time to choose when to have sex."

Dr Cynthia McVey, a psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, said it would also give couples the opportunity to rebuild their relationship.

"It allows time for a romantic meal or a walk in the park", she said.

"Intimacy tends to go with the problem of erectile dysfunction. It has to be rebuilt."

Psychological boost

One patient who was involved in the clinical trials said it helped to restore his self-confidence.

"When I began to suffer from erectile dysfunction it certainly ate away at my self confidence," said Alan, who is 64 years old and lives in Durham.

"Though I am over 60 and it might be thought that such things are in the past, it's certainly true that the fact that I can look forward to many further years of intimacy with my wife has been a major psychological boost."

An estimated 2.3 million men in Britain suffer from erectile dysfunction. However, just one in 10 receives treatment.

Ann Tailor, director of the Impotence Association, said: "It can have a devastating effect on relationships. Men feel very embarrassed about it. Often they don't even talk to their partner about it."

Peter Baker, of the Men's Health Forum, added: "It can have very serious consequences for men. It can lead to a loss of self confidence, self esteem, stress, anxiety and even depression.

"It can actually damage the way he sees himself as a man. That effect should not be underestimated."

Jo Walton, Lehman Brothers
"In this particular area it's very difficult to patent an entire class of drugs"
Rob Brown, Eli Lilly global marketing director
"We sometimes make little giggling jokes about it but when it's your problem it's not funny..."
See also:

08 Nov 00 | Business
20 May 01 | Health
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