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Men’s beliefs about treatment for erectile dysfunction – What influences treatment use? A systematic Review

Williams, P., McBain, H. B. ORCID: 0000-0002-6742-1104, Amirova, A. , Newman, S. P. ORCID: 0000-0001-6712-6079 & Mulligan, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-6003-3029 (2020). Men’s beliefs about treatment for erectile dysfunction – What influences treatment use? A systematic Review. International Journal of Impotence Research, doi: 10.1038/s41443-020-0249-1


Successful treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) is associated with improvements in quality of life; however, treatment utilisation is sub-optimal. The aim of this systematic review was to identify the rates of ED treatment utilisation and the barriers and enablers men experience when using treatment.

We searched: MEDLINE®, Embase, the Cochrane library; AMED; HMIC; HTA; CINAHL; PsychARTICLES; PsychINFO up to August 2018. Data on rates of treatment utilisation and barriers and enablers of utilisation were extracted and summarised.

Fifty studies were included. Discontinuation rates ranged from 4.4-76% for phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, 18.6-79.9% for intracavernosal injections, 32-69.2% for urethral suppositories. In relation to those with a penile prosthesis; 30% discontinued having sex due to e.g. device complications, lack of partner or a loss of sexual interest.
Most research included in the current review examined barriers to treatment utilisation and therefore focussed on reasons for discontinuing treatment. However, a small number explored factors that men found helpful with regards to treatment utilisation. The most prevalent barriers to utilisation were treatment ineffectiveness, side-effects, the quality of men’s intimate relationships and treatment costs. With regards to treatment enablers, the most salient finding was that men who reported side-effects to a health care profesionals (HCPs) were significantly less likely to discontinue treatment. There were limitations in methodology in that the studies did not use validated measures of treatment utilisation or barriers and enablers and no study used psychological theory to inform the examination of factors that influenced treatment utilisation.

This review identifies a number of influential factors relating to ED treatment utilisation and highlights the importance of men’s beliefs with regards to ED and its treatment. Beliefs are potentially modifiable and therefore the findings of this review highlight important considerations for health care professionals with regards to supporting men to make better use of treatment.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Users may view, print, copy, download and text and data-mine the content, for the purposes of academic research, subject always to the full conditions of use. Any further use is subject to permission from Springer Nature. The conditions of use are not intended to override, should any national law grant further rights to any user.
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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