Whoa there, Poms – a Viagra pop just once a fortnight should be enough

Alf was fascinated to learn that some British GPs are being urged to limit their prescriptions of Viagra to just two pills a month.

The assumption – obviously – is that Pommie blokes feel the need to get it up just once a fortnight.

The advice comes from a panel of National Health Service managers that makes rationing recommendations for several areas including Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

According to the Daily Mail, they told doctors there should be a twice-monthly limit on erectile dysfunction drugs.

Does good medical advice underpin this recommendation?

Not that Alf can see.

NHS guidance – to the contrary – says there ‘appears to be no clinical reason to restrict the number of tablets’ of Viagra prescribed to an individual.

Moreover, the South Central Priorities Committee does note

…that somewhat dated research suggests people aged between 40 and 60 have sex once a week.

The latest document from the committee urges GPs to apply the two-tablet limit to prescriptions for the erectile dysfunction drugs sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis).

But not every bloke with a floppy dick is eligible to get these tablets on the national health.

Erectile dysfunction drugs are restricted to people suffering from conditions such as diabetes, prostate cancer, spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis and polio.

The Daily Mail report goes on to say –

The latest document said the committee ‘has considered the evidence of clinical and cost-effectiveness, and the financial impact on the health economy of treatment for erectile dysfunction’ and recommends patients are treated ‘with a frequency of dosing of two times per month using the drug with the lowest acquisition cost’.

The document also says patients should not be offered counselling for problems in the bedroom.

‘Psychosexual interventions such as counselling and psychotherapy comprise a group of techniques with limited evidence for effectiveness and no evidence of cost-effectiveness,’ it stated.

Oh, and it seems Viagra was originally designed to be a heart drug until scientists noticed the interesting sexual side-effect

Richard Hoey, the editor of Pulse magazine, is not happy with the once-a-fortnight limit.

He is quoted as saying –

‘Ask most doctors and they will say that being able to live a satisfactory sex life is a key part of health and well-being, 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.’

Dunno about New Zealand.

Alf has had no need for these drugs, but he understands they are not available under our public health system.

Maybe it’s time they were made available.

But the idea is unlikely to get far when the cap on government spending is put in place.

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