Some of most commonly prescribed and abused drugs in America belong to a drug family called the phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. But you probably know them better as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis, and Levitra. Unless you never watch TV, its almost impossible to miss their commercials.
Viagra and the other phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors are meant to be taken only by men who have erectile dysfunction (ED). Since Viagra was introduced in 1998, the number of men diagnosed with ED has gone up by 250 percent.
Risk factors for ED include older age, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The problem is that men without issues are using these medications. "We are seeing more and more young men without any risk factors for ED asking for ED drugs. They look a lot like the young men dancing around in the TV advertisements, probably too healthy to have ED,” said Rowena DeSouza, MD, associate professor of surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and director of urology at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.