Viagra Improves Sexual Function after Radiation for Prostate Cancer

Posted on November 15th, 2012 by

Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) administered before, during, and after radiation therapy improved overall sexual function in prostate cancer patients, according to the results of a study presented at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in Boston, Massachusetts.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer (other than skin cancer) in US men. Most men will survive a diagnosis of early-stage prostate cancer, but side effects of treatment can take a toll on quality of life. Treatment for prostate cancer can cause erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence and have a lasting impact on overall sexual function.

One component of prostate cancer treatment is radiation therapy. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is delivered externally and interstitial brachytherapy involves the implantation of radioactive “seeds” in the prostate gland. Both types of radiation can impact sexual function.

Researchers conducted a study to determine whether Viagra, delivered before, during, and after radiation therapy could preserve erectile function in prostate cancer patients. The study included 290 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer who were treated with EBRT and/or brachytherapy. The men were randomly assigned to receive either Viagra or placebo. Patients received the medication three days prior to their radiation treatment and then continued with a daily dose for six months, after which the medication was taken on an as-needed basis only.

Patients in both groups completed the international index of erectile function (IIEF) and the international prostate symptom score (IPSS) questionnaires before therapy and again at six, 12, and 24 months after radiation treatment.

The current analysis includes data from 144 patients who completed the surveys before therapy and at least one post-treatment time period and did not receive hormonal therapy. The IIEF scores were based on patient feedback about their erectile function, orgasmic function, sexual desire, intercourse satisfaction and
overall satisfaction.

The results indicate that the IIEF scores were significantly higher among the men in the Viagra group compared to the men in the placebo group at six months (58.6 vs. 49.4), 12 months (56.3 vs. 48.2), and 24 months (54.9 vs. 47.6) after therapy.

The researchers concluded that the men in the Viagra group experienced improved overall sexual function at all time points, compared to the men in the placebo group. They determined that daily Viagra administered during and after radiation therapy for prostate cancer resulted in improved overall sexual function.

Reference:

Zelefsky MJ, Shasha D, Kollmeier M, et al. Results of a prospective randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial evaluating the use prophylactic sildenafil citrate during radiation therapy in the treatment of prostate cancer. Presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. October 28-31, 2012 Boston, Mass. Abstract 4.

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Tags: Early Stage I-II (A-B) Prostate Cancer, Locally Advanced Stage III (C) Prostate Cancer, News, Prostate Cancer

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