Introduction: UK primary care physicians are required to follow authoritative endorsed guidelines as part of their terms of service. The major influence on the management of erectile dysfunction in primary and secondary care between 1999 and 2007 has been Department of Health "guidance on good practice," a non-evidence-based document, essentially defining patients who qualify for government-funded treatment.
Aim: To provide clinically based guidelines relevant to UK primary and secondary healthcare professionals in their daily practice.
Methods: A multidisciplinary panel of seven UK experts including two primary care physicians from the British Society for Sexual Medicine met for two full day meetings between September 2006 and April 2007, with each member allocated to disease areas related to their specialty. Feedback and approval of all sections between panel members was facilitated by the chairman. Source information was obtained from peer reviewed articles, meetings and presentations. Articles were chosen from electronically searching the Cochrane Library, Medline and Embase for randomized controlled clinical trials and graded according to level of evidence.
Results: Patient-reported sexual activity, satisfaction with sexual activity (Male Sexual Health Questionnaire), and treatment expectations; urologists' subjective assessment of the importance given by their patients to ED; the timing they propose for starting ED treatment.
Results: After the second full day meeting in January 2007, the final version was approved by panel members and made available for healthcare professions by download from http://www.bssm.org and from http://www.eguidelines.co.uk
Conclusions: A comprehensive evidence-based guideline has been developed that is highly relevant for primary and secondary care professionals enabling them to work within the unique requirements of the UK healthcare system.