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New Impotence Drug

The FDA is considering approval of a new drug to treat male impotence known as erectile dysfunction. The new drug called Uprima® is manufactured by TAP Pharmaceuticals. If approved this drug will join the highly successful Viagra® manufactured by Pfizer, as an alternative treatment for male impotence. Uprima achieves erection by stimulating a brain chemical called dopamine to be produced. In fact this drug was originally being tested for motor diseases like Parkinson's.

This new drug is not without side effects. The two most serious side effects discovered thus far are; nausea ranging from mild to severe and hypotension. There have been reports of blood pressure dropping so significantly as to cause fainting. The hypotensive effect is enhanced by alcohol intake, and a recommendation has been made to put a warning to this effect on the drug when prescribed.

Uprima® not only acts in a different manner than Viagra®, but it also works faster. Uprima® is taken by dissolving under the tongue, causing the drug to enter the blood stream faster. Studies show the new drug works in 15 to 20 min. as compared to up to an hour for Viagra®.

Erectile dysfunction also known as impotence is the inability to achieve or maintain a hard erect penis, in order to have successful sexual intercourse. The causes of this disorder vary from psychological to physical. The most commonly ED (erectile dysfunction) is cased by circulatory disorders such as hypertension or disorders affecting the nerves such as multiple sclerosis or alcoholism. Diabetes affects both the circulatory system and the nervous system and is often the cause of ED. Stress and anxiety cause ED but to a lesser extent than popularly thought.

ED is diagnosed by a physician, usually a urologist. A history and physical will be performed along with lab tests. The physician may ask questions such as, "do you ever wake up in the morning with and erection?" or "do you have pain when you achieve erection, or is your penis bent when you have an erection?". These questions will try to rule out psychological causes or a disorder called "Peyronie's disease" a disease caused by scar tissue in the penis. Lab tests usually include checking testosterone levels and checking for diabetes, if not already diagnosed. The prostate should also be checked for any enlargement. Other tests may be performed, including attaching sensors to the penis before sleep to measure erections that occur during REM sleep.

Once a diagnosis is established, the treatment can begin. Until the introduction of Viagra®, most treatments were unpleasant to say the least. They could have included surgery to implant a pump to "pump" up the penis or requiring injections of a medication directly into the penis. The introduction of Viagra® was a godsend for many men, and brought this problem into the limelight, encouraging men who had been too ashamed prior to discuss it with their physicians.

The cost of treatment is probably the biggest barrier for most men with ED. Medicare does not cover outpatient prescription drugs, and many private insurers have declined coverage for these drugs. They are very expensive, and have not been available long enough for the patents to expire and allow generic drugs to be produced and sold. Many men have turned to buying Viagra® over the Internet, which can be very dangerous. These drugs should be prescribed and used only under the supervision of your physician.

More Information
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Sex After Sixty

Graphic used by permission of Art Today
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