More north West London men being prescribed Viagra

North West London has seen a rise in the number of erectile dysfunction drugs being prescribed to men, figures show.

North West London 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 118,914 prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs were given out in the former NHS North West London CCG area in the year to June.

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    This was up 2% from 116,647 the year before, and more than 126,828 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 north West London, it fell from £1.7 million to £583,000 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.

    At just 14 prescriptions per 100 adult males, North West London had the lowest rate in the country – while Blackpool had the highest, with 36 per 100.

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