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New Drug May Help with Premature Ejaculation

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday May 25, 2011

A new pharmaceutical might soon offer hope to millions of men suffering from a problem prone to lead to anxiety, embarrassment, and frustration: Premature ejaculation.

Indeed, the problem can be self-reinforcing. Anxiety about performance can affect performance, in much the same was as can happen with impotence. In other cases, premature ejaculation may be the result of hormones or other physiological factors. Though most men may experience occasional episodes of premature ejaculation, it is not until there is a constant problem that it becomes a medical (or psychological) matter.

The condition affects many men, and is especially prevalent in the young, although men of any age might experience it. An Answers.comThis text will be the link> article says that common medications, such as heart medicines and anti-depressants, can lead to premature ejaculation. Such medications might also have the opposite effect, causing impotence in some men.

Now a new drug promises to combat the condition, which many men regard as a scourge, Reuters reported on May 23. Ampio Pharmaceuticals company has tested a medication called Zertane. The clinical trials, which took place in Europe, were described by the company as "exceed[ing] our expectations."

The company said that premature ejaculation affects nearly one-quarter of men between the ages of 18 and 75. (The Mayo Clinic website places the number as being possibly as high one-third of men.)

There are various approaches already in use to combat the problem. Some rely on ancient disciplines, such as Chinese qigong, a type of martial art thought to enhance the life energy of the practitioner. Others take a more Western approach, though they may sound similar in some ways, such as "ejaculatory control," a system of re-focusing sexual arousal so that the entire body (and not simply the genitalia) is involved in the pleasurable sensations associated with sexual activity. Breathing and relaxation exercises are also part of the system. The Mayo Clinic also recommends psychological counseling.

Some men resort to topical agents that lessen sensation, but this may not work in some cases--if, for example, the underlying cause is more psychological than physical. Topical applications might also work too well, numbing the penis., which offers an array of prospective solutions, notes of the desensitizing preparations it sells that, "they are not to be mistaken for cures.

"When the penis head is stimulated a neurological message is sent to the brain which triggers ejaculation," text at the site advises readers. "These solutions aid to alter stimulation in the penis head so that the signals sent to the brain are not registered as a sign to ejaculate, thus preventing premature ejaculation. An example of a true cure would be learning to control anxiety during sexual intercourse."

A more muscular approach is the practice of doing Kegel exercises, in which muscles intrinsic to the pelvic floor are contracted and relaxed in much the same way any other muscle would be exercised in order to achieve better tone.

Much like Viagra and similar drugs, Zertane is taken prior to sex, Reuters reported. "The active ingredient in Zertane is tramadol hydrocloride, which has been used for pain relief since the mid-1990s," the Reuters article added. "Ampio specializes in 'repositioning' drugs, that is, in testing previously approved drugs to find treatments for new indications."

American men who find that sexual congress is a swifter process than they might like could, however, find themselves in the ironic position of hoping that the drug hurries up: The Reuters report noted that a media release from the company did not indicate when, or if, the drug might come to the United States.

Meantime, the clinical results gave Ampio optimism about getting its new drug approved for use in Europe.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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