Two new studies may help debunk the notion that the multi-billion-dollar impotence pills are simply "lifestyle drugs."
Researchers report in the new issue of the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology" that erectile dysfunction in Type-2 diabetics is a "powerful predictor" that they could develop serious heart trouble.
In one of the studies, more than twice as many diabetic men with ED could be expected to have a heart problem within a year versus those who weren't impotent.
An editorial in the same issue says the studies should convince doctors to talk to their diabetic patients about ED and to "aggressively treat" cardiovascular risk factors.
It also claims "the time has come" for researchers to study ED drugs as preventive medicine for the heart.
Urologists and the impotence drugmakers (Pfizer , Eli Lilly , GlaxoSmithKline , Schering-Plough and Bayer ) have been trying to get the message across for years that ED could be a symptom of life-threatening conditions and to get men to open up with their physicians about it. Because of lingering stigma though, most men stay silent on the subject and go untreated.