Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a highly common sexual dysfunction of men but often undertreated as patients experience high treatment barriers.
The aims of this study were to characterize patients with ED using an online prescription platforms (OPPs) and determine treatment barriers that might prevent patients from seeking care in conventional health care settings.
Data from a German OPP were retrospectively analyzed with focus on patients suffering from ED with at least one online prescription of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors between May 2019 and November 2019. In addition, a voluntary questionnaire was used to assess additional social features and prior treatment barriers.
The main outcome measures were the epidemiological data, prescription metadata, and follow-up questionnaires.
A total of 11,456 male patients received prescriptions via the OPP (mean age: 49 years [95% CI 46.92-47.45]). Patients lived mainly in rural areas (69%) and frequently sought prescriptions outside the average office times of German urologists (49%). From all patients that responded to a follow-up questionnaire (n = 242), the majority were employed full-time (81%), married (50%), and native German (94%); 63.5% had not used PDE5 inhibitors before. From all repeat users, 41% had received them from unreliable sources. Reasons to seek treatment via the OPP were convenience (48%), shame (23%), and lack of discretion (13%).
In this first study, to epidemiologically characterize ED patients of an OPP, it was confirmed that inconvenience is a treatment barrier, along with shame and perceived lack of discretion. This is the first evidence that OPPs reduce treatment barriers and ease access for patients to the medical system. Rodler S, von Büren J, Buchner A, et al. Epidemiology and Treatment Barriers of Patients With Erectile Dysfunction Using an Online Prescription Platform: A Cross-Sectional Study. Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.
Sexual medicine. 2020 May 17 [Epub ahead of print]
Severin Rodler, Johannes von Büren, Alexander Buchner, Christian Stief, Katja Elkhanova, Christian Wülfing, Sven Jungmann
Department of Urology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany. Electronic address: ., Direct Health Services, Munich, Germany., Department of Urology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany., Department of Urology, Asklepios Klinik Altona, Hamburg, Germany., FoundersLane, Berlin, Germany.