In the past 20 years a number of drugs have been introduced which are able to induce or improve penile erection. There are two main groups of these drugs: the vasoactive drugs applied intracavernously, which cause relaxation of the cavernous smooth muscle and are highly effective in inducing erection, and the 5-phosphodiesterase inhibitors, which may be applied orally. These drugs are designated to treat the disease "erectile dysfunction" and improve sexual health, which is not a severe or life-threatening condition, and treated patients are often otherwise healthy persons; thus, the absence of severe ADEs is essential.
All epidemiological and therapeutic studies agree that the most significant risk factor for the development of erectile dysfunction is age, but also multimorbidity increases the risk.
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