It has been reported that patients frequently discontinue treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5Is) despite apparently good therapeutic results. Because expectations have been shown to affect patients’ appraisals of many drugs, the purpose of this study was to determine whether expectations affected the therapeutic response to PDE5Is in men with apparent psychogenic ED. An unvalidated questionnaire was used to collect data on expectations in 80 men commencing PDE5I therapy, and after three and six months of treatment. At the same time, subjects completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), the Sexual Excitation/Inhibition Scale (SIS/SES) and Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI). No evidence of an effect on expectations on changes in IIEF or BDI scores could be identified. Although changes in IIEF, and BDI scores from recruitment to three months were indicative of improved sexual function and less depression, scores for most items on the expectations scale decreased, suggesting that expectations were not being met. The items for which scores decreased were the expectation to be prescribed a drug, that the drug would restore the sexual function to normal, would work within 30 minutes of administration, improve patients confidence to engage in sexual activity, and that the medication was the best treatment for ED across the three data collection points. The findings of this study indicate that improvements in erectile function did not translate into changes in medication expectations that suggested user satisfaction.
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