More and more Bedfordshire men being prescribed Viagra

Less stigma surrounding the condition may have contributed to the rise
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More and more men in the county are being prescribed erectile dysfunction drugs, 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 61,522 prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs were given out in the former NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG area in the year to June.

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 Bedfordshire, it fell from £491,000 to £208,000 over this timeThe 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 Bedfordshire, it fell from £491,000 to £208,000 over this time
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 Bedfordshire, it fell from £491,000 to £208,000 over this time
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This was up slightly from 61,346 the year before, and more than 65,390 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.

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 Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, it fell from £491,000 to £208,000 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."