7.4.5 Drugs for erectile dysfunction

HSC 1999/148 advises doctors that one treatment a week will be appropriate for most patients treated for erectile dysfunction. If a GP exercising their clinical judgement considers that more than one treatment a week is appropriate they should prescribe that amount on the NHS.

HSC 1999/177 recommends that treatment for impotence should be available from specialist services when impotence is causing severe distress. Patients who are prescribed treatment for impotence on the NHS following the guidance in this circular need to continue to receive their treatment through specialist services. GPs cannot issue an FP10, endorsed SLS, where treatment has been started by a specialist for a patient suffering severe distress unless they also meet one of the above criteria. See Guidance on prescribing for erectile dysfunction for more information.

Erectile dysfunction may be a manifestation of cardiovascular disease.

Post prostatectomy

Erectile dysfunction is a common sequela experienced by men post prostatectomy due to cavernosal nerve damage. PDE-5 inhibitors are the first-line therapy in patients who have undergone nerve-sparing surgery regardless of the surgical technique used. Intracavernous alprostadil injections are suggested as second line treatments when oral PDE-5 inhibitors are not adequately effective or contraindicated. Early use of PDE-5 inhibitors postoperatively prior to penile fibrosis development can reverse or minimise erectile dysfunction, and may need to be continued for 24-36 months to allow full recovery of erectile function.

Sildenafil is the most widely studied PDE-5 inhibitor used for erectile dysfunction post prostatectomy, and is currently the product with the lowest acquisition cost; with this in mind sildenafil should be considered in preference to other PDE-5 inhibitors for first-line use in patients post prostatectomy. Specialist advice should be sought for guidance regarding the appropriate dosing regimen and duration of treatment on an individual patient basis.

Phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors are contra-indicated in patients taking any form of nitrates.

Patients should receive 8 doses of a PDE5 inhibitor at maximum dose with sexual stimulation before classifying a patient as a non-responder.

Sildenafil
  • Tablets 25mg, 50mg, 100mg (50mg = £0.21 each)

Indication

  • Management of male erectile dysfunction

Notes

  1. Generic sildenafil is no longer subject to prescribing requirements when used in the management of male erectile dysfunction, however requirements remain for brand Viagra® (see Guidance on prescribing for erectile dysfunction).
Tadalafil (SLS)
  • Tablets 10mg, 20mg (20mg = £3.17 each)

Indication

  • Management of male erectile dysfunction

Notes

  1. Tadalafil is subject to prescribing requirements when used in the management of male erectile dysfunction (see Guidance on prescribing for erectile dysfunction)
  2. Tadalafil has a significantly longer half-life compared to the other PDE5 inhibitors
  3. Following national guidance from NHS England, once daily tadalafil is not recommended for use in patients with erectile dysfunction. Click here for more information. Prescribers should not initiate once daily tadalafil for any new patient. Click the following link for a patient information leaflet to support deprescribing
  4. The routine commissioning of Tadalafil (Cialis®) 5mg tablets is not accepted in Devon for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia in adult males (see Commissioning Policy for more details)
Vardenafil (SLS)
  • Tablets 5mg, 10mg, 20mg (10mg = £3.70 each)

Indication

  • Management of male erectile dysfunction

Notes

  1. Vardenafil is subject to prescribing requirements when used in the management of male erectile dysfunction (see Guidance on prescribing for erectile dysfunction).
Avanafil (Spedra®)

The routine commissioning of avanafil is not accepted in Devon for the treatment of adult men with erectile dysfunction (ED) (see Commissioning Policy for more details)

Prostaglandins (erectile dysfunction)

Alprostadil (SLS)
  • Intracavernosal injection 10 microgram, 20 microgram, 40 microgram (£11.94 = 20 microgram vial)
  • Topical cream in single use pre-filled applicator 300 micrograms/100mg (4 doses = £40.00)
  • Intraurethral delivery system 250 microgram, 500 microgram, 1000 microgram (£11.30 = 1 dose)

Indication

  • Management of male erectile dysfunction

Notes

  1. Alprostadil is subject to prescribing requirements when used in the management of male erectile dysfunction (see Guidance on prescribing for erectile dysfunction).

Combination vasodilators

Invicorp®

(Aviptadil with phentolamine)

  • Solution for injection 25micrograms/2mg per 0.35ml ampoule (£47.50 = 5 ampoules)

Indications

  • Management of male erectile dysfunction in patients who meet NHS Selected List Scheme (SLS) criteria for medicines for erectile dysfunction AND who:
    • have failed to respond to eight doses at the maximum tolerated dose with sexual stimulation of two different PDE-5 inhibitors, OR
    • are unable to take PDE-5 inhibitors due to a contraindication

Notes

  1. The routine commissioning of lnvicorp is accepted in Devon for the management of male erectile dysfunction only when specific criteria are met (see Commissioning Policy for more details)
  2. See Guidance on prescribing for erectile dysfunction for further information on SLS criteria

Vacuum devices

Vacuum devices are a very cost-effective option for the management of erectile dysfunction, but only if trialled in specialist clinic first to assess acceptability. Once found to be an acceptable option to the patient, the device could be prescribed in primary care. The use of vacuum devices may be particularly beneficial for elderly patients or men who have had a radical prostatectomy or who have diabetes. They have been found to be less acceptable to men with serious spinal injury. Men who are taking anticoagulants should not use vacuum devices.

Last updated: 13-08-2020

 

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