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What medications treat premature ejaculation?

Ian Kerner, PhD
Sexual Health
Just as we have Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), a pill is in the works for premature ejaculation (PE). The drug, dapoxetine hydrochloride, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that’s being tested and marketed specifically as a treatment for PE. Like other SSRIs, dapoxetine appears to increase the ejaculatory threshold and delay orgasm. The difference between dapoxetine and other SSRIs is that it’s short-acting, so you only take it “on demand” an hour or so before sex, similarly to Viagra.

A growing body of evidence suggests that dapoxetine can increase intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT) in men with premature ejaculation (PE). One large study published in the October 29, 2009, issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, for example, found that men with PE who took the drug lasted up to three to four times longer than men who took a placebo (dummy pill), increasing their IELT from an average of 1.1 minutes to 3.9 or 4.2 minutes, depending on the dose. Another 2009 study that looked at men with PE in 22 countries also showed that dapoxetine significantly increased IELT. Dapoxetine has also been shown to reduce distress and relationship difficulties associated with PE. Side effects associated with the drug, such as nausea, headache, and sleepiness, appear to be mild -- and may be diminished even more when it’s taken only as needed.

Despite such benefits, dapoxetine isn’t yet available in the United States. The drug, which is made by Johnson & Johnson, is sold in nine other countries under the brand name Priligy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its application for approval back in 2005, but the increasing amount of new research since then may help dapoxetine get another chance here soon.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.