Allergic rhinitis and risk of erectile dysfunction--a nationwide population-based study

Allergy. 2013 Apr;68(4):440-5. doi: 10.1111/all.12100. Epub 2013 Jan 25.


Background: A growing body of evidence has disclosed that allergic rhinitis (AR) is a systemic inflammatory disease. Inflammatory mediators and cells involved in AR have also been reported to be implicated in the process of atherosclerosis, which is relevant to the occurrence of erectile dysfunction (ED). Our objective was to explore the relationship between AR and future ED events.

Methods: From 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2008, we identified male patients, who were aged 18-55 years and newly diagnosed with AR from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. A control cohort without AR, which was matched for age, comorbidities and medications, was selected for comparison. The two cohorts were followed up until 31 December 2009 and observed for occurrence of ED by registry of ED diagnosis in the database.

Results: Of the 128,118 sampled male patients (64,059 AR patients vs 64,059 matched controls), 1455 (1.16%) experienced ED during a mean follow-up period of 5.82 years, including 844 (1.32% of the AR patients) from the AR cohort and 611 (0.95%) from the controls. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a tendency of AR patients to develop ED (log-rank test, P < 0.001). After adjusting confounder variables by Cox regression, subjects with AR experienced a 1.37-fold (95% CI, 1.24-1.52; P < 0.001) increase in incident ED. The risk of ED was higher in cases with more frequent clinical visits for AR and in cases needing medication more than 4 weeks.

Conclusions: Patients with AR appeared to be at higher risk of future ED, possibly in a severity-dependent manner.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Erectile Dysfunction / complications*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinitis, Allergic
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / complications*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology*
  • Risk
  • Young Adult