Men with gout are at higher risk for erectile dysfunction (ED), researchers say. And this risk might be apparent before a gout diagnosis is even made.
While past studies have shown an association between gout and ED, they have not focused on quantified risk. In the current study, researchers looked at over ten years of data from men with gout in the United Kingdom.
The scientists consulted the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), a database of primary care records for patients in England and Wales. They identified 9,653 men between the ages of 18 and 64 who were first diagnosed with gout between 1998 and 2004 and followed until 2015. The date of the gout diagnosis was considered the index date.
Men who had been diagnosed with ED or prescribed ED medications before the study were excluded.
A comparison group of 38,218 age-matched controls without gout was also identified.
The researchers also considered lifestyle habits and comorbidities. They discovered that the men with gout were more likely to drink more than 10 units of alcohol each day, more likely to be overweight, and more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic renal disease, and depression. Smoking was more common in the control group.
Overall, 5,860 men were diagnosed with ED during the study period. This included 1,736 of the men with gout and 4,124 men in the control group.
“Overall we found the risk of ED post-diagnosis to be 2% per year. Whilst those with gout were 31% more likely to consult their general practitioner for ED compared to those without gout, the excess absolute risk was 0.6% per year,” the authors wrote.
Having over 6 months of urate lowering therapy as part of gout treatment did not appear to affect ED reporting.
The researchers also found an increased relative risk of ED in the year before gout diagnosis. They noted that “it may be more reasonable to suspect hyperuricaemia [elevated levels of uric acid in the blood] as one of the underlying cause[s] of ED among men with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia” who have not yet developed “clinically apparent gout.”
They concluded that, based on their findings, men with gout are at higher risk for ED than men in the general population and that risk is similar when comorbidities are accounted for.
The study was published in June in Arthritis Research & Therapy.
Arthritis Research & Therapy
Sultan, Alyshah Abdul, et al.
“Gout and subsequent erectile dysfunction: a population-based cohort study from England”
(Full-text. Published: June 6, 2017)
“Gout Patients Face Increased Risk for Erectile Dysfunction”
(June 17, 2017)