More Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight men being prescribed Viagra

Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight has seen a rise in the number of erectile dysfunction drugs being prescribed to men, figures show.
Friday 30th September 2022 11:10 am
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Credit by Dominic Lipinski (PA Wire )

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Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight has seen a rise in the number of erectile dysfunction drugs being prescribed to men, figures show.

The Royal College of GPs said increased awareness and less stigma surrounding the condition may have contributed to a rise in the number of prescriptions given out across England.

Figures from the Open Prescribing Service show 115,947 prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs were given out in the former NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG area in the year to June.

This was up slightly from 115,563 the year before, and more than 114,231 in 2017-18, when figures first begin.

These figures are for the number of times medication has appeared on prescriptions, but do not show the quantity of medication given, and multiple prescriptions can be given to the same patient.

Across England, erectile dysfunction drugs appeared on 4.35 million prescriptions in the year to June – up from 4.30 million in 2020-21, and 4.33 in 2017-18.

The vast majority of these prescriptions are for sildenafil, which patients can get on the NHS if they suffer from erectile dysfunction.

If you buy sildenafil outside of the NHS, it can also be known by the brand names Viagra, Aronix, Liberize and Nipatra.

The Royal College of GPs said there are likely a variety of reasons why prescriptions for ED medication are rising.

Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the RCGP, said: "It may indicate lessening stigma around ED and increasing awareness of its treatments, as well as patients feeling more comfortable to come forward for treatment.

"One of the most well-known drugs – sildenafil, which is widely known as Viagra – also came ‘off licence’ in recent years, making it cheaper."

The cost to the NHS of erectile dysfunction drugs nationally fell from £42.6 million in the 12 months to June 2018 to just £16.1 million in the last year.

In Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, it fell from £1.3 million to £485,000 over this time.

Professor Marshall said GPs follow strict guidelines when prescribing generic sildenafil and will only issue an NHS prescription if there is one of a list of specific medical reasons to do so.

He added: “Erectile dysfunction can be a disturbing condition for many men which can impact on patients' mental health and limit their ability to have healthy sexual relationships."

Across England, there were the equivalent of 20 ED prescriptions for every 100 men aged 18 and over in the country last year.

Rates varied between 36 per 100 adult males in Blackpool and just 14 per 100 in North West London.

In July, clinical commissioning groups were abolished and replaced with integrated care boards across England.

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