Package labels for Viagra, Cialis, and other erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs should inform patients that ED is a sign of potentially fatal artery disease, according to a petition the Physicians Committee filed with the Food and Drug Administration in February. Between 18 and 30 million men in the United States have ED.
The petition, filed during American Heart Month, recommends the following wording: Erectile dysfunction is caused by artery disease, a condition that this drug will not improve. Artery disease can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and early death. A plant-based diet, moderate exercise, stress management, and lack of smoking can, in combination, improve and often reverse artery disease.
A recent meta-analysis found that men with ED have a 59 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease or atherosclerosis, a 34 percent higher risk of stroke, and a 33 percent higher risk of dying from any cause, compared with men without symptoms of ED.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes can help reduce heart disease and ED risk. A study published in The Lancet found that heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based diet, regular exercise, stress management, and no smoking.
Research shows that even a 20 percent decrease in heart attacks or strokes could save $21.3 billion over 20 years. More than 1 million cases of ED would also be prevented, saving $9.7 billion.
Reprinted with permission from Good Medicine / Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Spring 2020 / Neal D. Barnard, MD, FACC.