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20 September 2004
New Treatment For Premature Ejaculation
by George Atkinson

A researcher from the University of Alberta (U of A) has discovered a potential new treatment for premature ejaculation, using a drug normally used to treat anxiety disorder. Premature ejaculation (PE) is the most common sexual dysfunction in men, even more common than erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Pierre Chue has found success in treating premature ejaculation with the use of gabapentin (brand name Neurontin). Chue's findings appear in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. "This disorder affects almost 40 per cent of males yet it is not talked about much and there has been very little research on it," said Chue.

The nature of the disorder is persistent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation before or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it. PE is believed to be a neurobiological phenomenon involving primarily a disturbance of serotonin receptor function.

Currently, physicians sometimes prescribe SSRIs that delay ejaculation but also come with negative side-effects.

Chue cites a case study in which a 40 year-old man diagnosed with PE received minimal effectiveness from techniques that included condoms with topical anesthetic and different antidepressant drugs. The man "had previously found that alcohol produced satisfactory ejaculatory delay with no loss of erectile capacity, but clearly this was not a feasible regular option," says Chue. A trial of gabapentin taken one to two hours before intercourse proved effective. Higher doses prolonged ejaculation even further but also caused drowsiness.

Dr. Chue is not certain how gabapentin works to relieve PE but believes it has to do with the drug's ability to increase aminobutyric acid (GABA), the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Since there are currently no specific treatments for PE, the use of gabepentin to prolong ejaculation warrants further study, says Chue, particularly for those men where other therapies are ineffective.

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