By Jeffrey Kopman
For the nearly 75 percent of men with untreated erectile dysfunction, the only thing going up is the price they might have to pay for treatment. Following the announcement that Viagra will be sold online -- for a steep price -- a study has come out stating that the majority of men with erectile dysfunction do not get treatment, according to the American Urological Association.
Erectile dysfunction affects 15 to 30 million American men, and is easily treatable. Previous research had also found that few men actually seek treatment after being diagnosed with the condition.
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The latest study -- the largest of its kind -- included 6.2 million men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction over a 12-month period from June 2010 to June 2011. Researchers found that only 25.4 percent of patients filled their prescriptions for ED medications such as Viagra or Cialis.
The cause for the gap in ED treatment was unclear, especially given its effectiveness.
"Despite ED treatments being available to men for nearly 15 years, as well as heavily promoted in mainstream media, one wonders why they are not seeking care known to improve their quality of life," said Ajay Nangia, MD, Associate Professor of Urology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, in a press release. "We need to have a better understanding of where the disconnect between diagnosis and treatment occurs."
Viagra Delivers: Order From the Bedroom for the Bedroom
Going to the local pharmacy for ED medication could be turning men off from who want medication to turn them on.
"Unfortunately, men are often embarrassed when it comes to talking about erectile dysfunction, even though it is a common condition and nothing to be ashamed of," said Laura Berman, PhD, Everyday Health's sexual health expert. "This embarrassment might prevent them from talking with their doctor about their condition or from seeking treatment."
But Pfizer, in a move unrelated to the American Urological Association study, might have the answer for these timid men. The company has agreed to sell Viagra directly to patients from their website - though you still need a prescription.
Anyone who has had a spam-filled email inbox or uses an Internet browser without a pop-up blocker knows that online sales of erectile dysfunction medications, including Viagra, are nothing new. But what many consumers may not realize is that those drugs -- as many as 77 percent -- have been found to be counterfeit.
Online drug sellers often offer products with incorrect levels of important ingredients, and sometimes leave out critical ingredients altogether. This allows them to sell their meds for only a few dollars per pill.
How much is Pfizer charging for its online Viagra? The price for a reliable ordering process, effective treatment, and peace of mind comes that you're getting the real deal comes out to $25 a pill. Most pharmacies offer the same product for a few dollars cheaper, but the ability to buy online makes an already pricey product even more expensive.
As of February 2012, Viagra was covered on 65 percent of insured lives, Viagra's web site claims.
Still, it might be worth it for men who previously avoided seeking treatment out of embarrassment, argues Dr. Berman.
"Thankfully, that's now an issue that can be circumvented thanks to Pfizer's new online system," she wrote. "It's just another way that technology is simplifying our lives and taking some of the embarrassment out of treating sexual issues."
"Not Tonight, Dear: Most Men With Erectile Dysfunction Avoid Treatment" originally appeared on Everyday Health.
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