ED is the inability to attain and/or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual performance2

Projected 8 million 

men in the UK experienced ED in 20213

What causes ED?

The incidence and severity of ED both increase with age and the presence of comorbidities.4 In fact, 90% of people with ED have at least one underlying physical cause.5 However, ED can also be caused by psychological problems, substance abuse, or even some medications.5,6


• Cardiovascular disease (CVD)5
• Diabetes5,6
• Hormone problems5,6
• Hypertension2

Psychological causes


Medical and recreational drugs

• Some medicines (e.g. antihypertensives, antipsychotics, antidepressants)5
• Substance abuse (e.g. heroin, cocaine, methadone)5
• Excessive alcohol consumption6

Erections aren’t the only things affected by ED1

Some helpful lifestyle changes

ED can be an early warning sign of a serious health condition, such as CVD, hypertension or diabetes.2,12

The presentation of ED is an opportunity to address modifiable risk factors, which can not only reduce the risk of these associated conditions, but also improve erectile function.2,12

So, alongside ED treatment, you may want to recommend some lifestyle changes to your patients,2 which could include:

All men seeking ED treatment in your pharmacy should be advised to see their GP within 6 months for a clinical review of potential underlying conditions and risk factors associated with ED.

The British Society for Sexual Medicine recommend examining testosterone levels, HbA1c, lipid profile and blood pressure, which their GP should be able to perform.2

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