Health Direct- NHS news, advice and information

Recent Posts

Tag Cloud

Site search

Site menu:

Archives

HON- Accreditation

The Health Direct blog adheres to the eight principles of the Health On the Net’s HON Code of Conduct (HONcode) for medical and health websites.

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation.

Categories

Links:

HEALTH TWITTER

Recent Comments

Viagra rationing to limit patients’ sex lives

Penny pinching NHS managers have introduced new viagra prescription guidelines which could limit thousands of couples to having sex once a fortnight.Viagra rationing to limit patients' sex livesNew policy documents advise GPs in parts of the country that patients in need of Viagra or similar drugs should be limited to two pills per month, down from the normal prescription of four.

Although the policy was described as a “recommendation” by NHS authorities, local medical committees told the GPs’ magazine Pulse in GPs slam secrecy over evidence for Viagra rationing restrictions it was being handed down to family doctors as an “edict”.

Erectile dysfunction medication is already stringently limited on the NHS and can only be prescribed to patients with certain conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and prostate cancer.

According to the NHS some 2.2 million prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs were issued last year, with 14.5 million tablets issued at a cost of about £78 million.

NHS guidance acknowledges that there “appears to be no clinical reason to restrict the number of tablets” but it adds that, according to research, the average person has sex four times a month.  The average frequency of sexual intercourse in the 40 to 60 age range is once a week.”

The new policy is aimed at economising on non-essential treatments, recommending that the minimum effective dose be prescribed “two times per month using the drug with the lowest acquisition cost.”

The guidance applies to sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis).

Richard Hoey, editor of Pulse, said: “Ask most doctors and they will say that being able to live a satisfactory sex life is a key part of health and wellbeing, but the NHS has never recognised that in its policy on treatment for erectile dysfunction.

“Limiting patients to drugs like Viagra just twice a month is to treat sex like an unnecessary luxury, and completely fails to recognise the degree of anguish it can cause some men with erectile dysfunction.”

Erectile dysfunction is very common in middle aged and older men, with an estimated 50 per cent of those between 40 and 70 experiencing the condition to some degree.

Viagra and other medications can be bought privately, but the cost of about £40 for eight pills can be prohibitive, and patients must also pay for a private prescription.

The new prescription guidelines were drawn up by South Central Priorities Committees, which covers primary care trusts (PCTs) in Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Berkshire East, Berkshire West and Buckinghamshire.

«