Community Pharmacy Detection of Erectile Dysfunction in Men with Risk Factors or Who Seek Treatment or Advice but Lack a Valid Prescription

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Pharmacists may be the first health care contact consulted about erectile dysfunction (ED).


To assess pharmacists' ability to detect ED and encourage patients to seek medical evaluation.


This observational study conducted in Greece and Spain included men without a valid prescription for an ED medication but with a history indicating ED risk and/or who consulted a pharmacist about ED. Pharmacists completed a questionnaire about the patient. Patients completed the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM); men with a score ≤21 (cutoff for ED) were educated (by case pharmacists) and referred and encouraged to see a physician (by case and control pharmacists).

Main Outcome Measures.

Proportion of men with a SHIM score ≤21 and, of those, the proportion who visited a physician and credited the pharmacist for their visit. ANCOVA and chi-square test were used for continuous and categorical data, respectively.


Among the 451 men (mean ± SD age, 54.9 ± 12.9 years) questioned about ED, 90% had a risk factor (usually hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or diabetes), 28% had a previous diagnosis, 36% sought internet information, 38% self-medicated, 10% took medication obtained outside the pharmacy setting, and the first health care professional approached was a pharmacist (50%), physician (18%), or nurse (1%) at a median of 6 (range, 0–360) months after symptom onset. The SHIM score was ≤21 in 348 (77%) men. A lower score (indicating increased ED severity) was associated with increased age and with benign prostate hyperplasia, depression, diabetes, or prostate cancer. In the minority of men contacted for follow-up, less than one-third had visited their physician, despite pharmacist encouragement.


Pharmacists are often the first health care contact regarding ED and are highly accurate in its detection. Further research is needed to optimize the pharmacist's role in early detection, education, and motivating patients to be evaluated by a physician. Martin Morales A, Hatzichristou D, Ramon Lladós J, Pascual Renedo V, and Pimenidou A. Community pharmacy detection of erectile dysfunction in men with risk factors or who seek treatment or advice but lack a valid prescription. J Sex Med 2013;10:2303–2311.

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