Most people know that there are medications (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, collectively called PDE 5 inhibitors) that treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and work well for most patients. However, some people are hesitant to take these medications even though their personal lives and relationships are suffering as a result of ED. While it’s true that these medications can have side effects, they are rarely dangerous, and most people who try medications for ED do not need to stop due to side effects. The medications also work in up to 85% of people with ED. In this article, I want to discuss other potential benefits besides treating ED in certain specific populations. As you’ll see, many patients with ED may fall into one of these categories where they have ancillary benefits from the medications.


Premature ejaculation (PE) is a very common type of sexual dysfunction and occurs in men of all ages. It can be very upsetting and is a major cause of decreased quality of life.
Although they are not FDA approved to treat PE, studies show that PDE 5 inhibitors are effective at treating PE alone, and when used together with SSRIs, (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) they work even better.
This is a really important benefit, as SSRIs are a major cause of drug induced ED. Moreover, when a person has both ED and PE, PDE 5 inhibitors make an especially attractive option as both conditions can be treated with one medication.


As men get older, it becomes more and more common for them to experience Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) like weak urinary stream, difficulty with emptying their bladders, dribbling, and getting up in the middle of the night to urinate. The most common cause of this is an enlarged prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in medicalese. There are various treatments available to relieve these symptoms. PDE 5 inhibitors have been studied for symptoms related to BPH. In particular, daily Cialis, in the 2.5mg and 5mg doses, is FDA approved to treat these symptoms alone or in combination with other medications.
Since LUTS and ED often co-occur, this is a good way to kill two birds with one stone.


One of the common questions I get asked about medication for ED is whether it’s safe for people with heart problems. I generally tell people they can have sex as long as they can walk up 2 flights of stairs without chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or other symptoms. This means that they are healthy enough to have sex.
Not only is ED medication safe for people with heart disease, but some studies show that people with heart disease or diabetes who take PDE 5 inhibitors for ED actually have a lower risk of death than people who don’t take the medication.
These studies were not designed to prove whether the medication is the cause of the lower risk of death, but the possibility is an interesting one.
In any case, you should feel pretty confident of these medications if you have heart disease and/or diabetes. Nobody should ever take a medicine they don’t need, but if you are suffering from ED, it’s good to know that ED medication is safe and may have benefits that go beyond helping with ED.

Feel like nerding out? Here are a few links to dive deeper.

  1. Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors for premature ejaculation: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  2. Comparison Between Tadalafil Plus Paroxetine and Paroxetine Alone in the Treatment of Premature Ejaculation
  3. Effect of tadalafil 5mg daily treatment on the ejaculatory times, lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile function in patients with erectile dysfunction
  4. Efficacy of type-5 phosphodiesterase inhibitors in the drug treatment of premature ejaculation: a systematic review
  5. Pathophysiology of benign prostate enlargement and lower urinary tract symptoms
  6. The role of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors in prostatic inflammation
  7. Systematic review and meta-analysis on phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors and α-adrenoceptor antagonists used alone or combined for treatment of LUTS due to BPH
  8. Association between treatment for erectile dysfunction and death or cardiovascular outcomes after myocardial infarction
  9. Phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitor use in type 2 diabetes is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality