Health-related characteristics and unmet needs of men with erectile dysfunction: a survey in five European countries

J Sex Med. 2014 Jan;11(1):40-50. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12344. Epub 2013 Dec 9.


Introduction: Data suggest that ED is still an underdiagnosed and undertreated condition. In addition, it seems that men with ED are unsatisfied about their relationship with their physician and with the available drugs.

Aim: The study aims to identify health-related characteristics and unmet needs of patients suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) in big 5 European Union (EU) nations (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK).

Methods: Data were collected from the 2011 5EU National Health and Wellness-Survey on a population of 28,511 adult men (mean age: 47.18; SD 16.07) and was focused on men (5,184) who self-reported ED in the past 6 months. In addition, the quality of life (QoL) and work productivity/activity were explored.

Main outcome measures: Health-related QoL (HRQoL) and work productivity were measured with SF-12v2 and WPAI validated psychometric tools.

Results: One in every 20 young men (age 18-39) across 5EU experienced ED in the past 6 months. About half of men (2,702/5,184; [52%]) with ED across all ages did not discuss their condition with their physician. Interestingly, among those men who did discuss their condition with their physician, 68% (1,668/2,465) do not currently use medication. These findings were more evident in the age group of 18-39 years. Only 48% (2,465/5,184) had a closer relationship with their physician, suggesting that this quality of relationship may be unsatisfactory. Compared with controls, ED patients have a significantly higher intrapsychic and relational psychopathological comorbid burden and relevant decreasing in HRQoL, with a significantly higher impairment on work productivity/activity.

Conclusion: Data suggest that there is a need for a new therapeutic paradigm in ED treatment which images the achievement of a new alliance between physician and patient. Hence, alternative drug delivery strategies may reduce the psychological and social impact of this disease.

Keywords: Erectile Dysfunction; Health-Related Characteristics; Health-Related Quality of Life; PDE5 Inhibitors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • France / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Report
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult