Nitric oxide beads could treat erectile dysfunction in diabetes

Wed, 02 Oct 2013
Researchers in America have created a potential new treatment for erectile dysfunction which could be more effective than Viagra .

Male impotence - a common problem for men with diabetes - occurs when the delicate blood vessels that supply the chambers along the penis with blood become damaged, disrupting the flow of blood to this area.

This damage is usually caused by high blood pressure, raised cholesterol or diabetes, and while several drug treatments for erectile dysfunction, such as sildenafil (Viagra), are available, figures show that a third of affected men do not respond to them.

However, scientists at Rice University in the U.S believe they have found a better alternative in the form of tiny, gas-filled plastic beads.

The beads are injected into the penis where they slowly release nitric oxide to help widen blood vessels and thus improve blood supply to this part of the body.

The new treatment was tested on animals with induced type 2 diabetes. After injecting the beads into the area of the organ that fills with blood and triggers an erection (corpus cavernosum), erectile function improved for three weeks, with the scientists noting a greater improvement than with Viagra.

The researchers are now planning clinical trials to see if the beads have the same effect in human patients. If successful, the treatment could be available within five years and may also be used alongside existing drugs for erectile dysfunction.

Results from the animal trial appear in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
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