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Viagra doesn't work for half the men

health-and-fitness Updated: Sep 28, 2010 18:32 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

Why doesn't Viagra work for more than half the men who use it? Reason: Many of the men prescribed the drug by their doctors are actually suffering from low testosterone levels, which cannot be treated by Viagra alone.



This is because the impotence pill relies on those using it having sufficient levels of the sex hormone for it to work. Instead, doctors recommend that men should have a blood test to determine their levels of testosterone.



If found to be low, the condition can be easily treated with testosterone pills, patches and gels, which are all relatively inexpensive, reports the Daily Mail.



ViagraLow testosterone affects 40 per cent of the one in five men who suffer some form of impotence.

Although levels of the hormone start to decline with age, some are affected much earlier than others. It can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition such as diabetes and heart disease, so experts say it is crucial that it is properly diagnosed.

Typical symptoms include tiredness, mood swings, insomnia - as well as low sex drive, the reason most will visit their doctor.

But sexual health experts warn that many general practitioners are prescribing Viagra by default rather than diagnosing the root cause of the problem.

Geoffrey Hackett, consultant urologist at Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham, UK and former chairman of the British Society for Sexual Medicine, said that more than half of men taking Viagra found it did not solve their problems adequately.

Men with sexual problems could be 'wasting hundreds of pounds on tablets' when their real problem is low testosterone.

"Viagra will only work if there are sufficient levels of testosterone," said Hackett. "Everybody thinks that Viagra is the panacea for all sexual problems, it's not. If low testosterone is the problem then Viagra won't be the answer on its own."

Hackett said that by contrast, drugs to replace levels of testosterone "can change the lives of patients".