There have been reports of increased sales of erectile dysfunction (ED) medications in the UK and the US during the pandemic.

The Scottish Sun reports that there have been recorded numbers of men aged 80 and over, including one 102-year-old man, using drugs such as sildenafil, better known by the brand name Viagra, to help keep sexually active during the pandemic, and prescriptions for ED medications have increased by 42 per cent in the last five years.

In 2020, there were 180,000 prescriptions for ED treatments issued to men in their 80s, and another 5,000 to men in their 90s, and records of ED medications prescribed to men aged 99, 100, and 101.

A total of 4.4 million prescriptions for ED medications were recorded in 2020, at a cost of £21.3 million to the NHS, however, that figure was down by 3 per cent in 2019, but the figures for men over 80 have bucked the trend, and have continued to rise.

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, said: “I’m not surprised that the number of men over 80 who are using Viagra to maintain a semblance of a sex life is at an all-time high.

“In a world where just about anything is sexualised old-timers are under unprecedented pressure to keep it up.”

Meanwhile, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh found sales of erectile dysfunction drugs soared after March 2020, when the US went into a nationwide lockdown, according to Futurity magazine.

Sales of the prescription-only daily-use treatments have risen fairly steadily since, suggesting men with erectile dysfunction are not slowing down.

The ‘stay at home’ order in the US meant many couples were spending much more time under the same roof, and one study suggested people in poor relationships were more likely to be depressed during the height of lockdown.

However, some unions may have benefited from the extended alone time, with some men wanting to always be ready.

Study author Dr Benjamin Davies said: “People’s sexual lives contribute to the psychosocial fabric of society,” said study author Dr Benjamin Davies.

“We saw a huge spike in sales of daily use erectile dysfunction drugs, which suggest some people were having more spontaneous sex than ever. With their partners at home, they wanted to always be ready.”

The Pittsburgh researchers reviewed data from the National Sales Perspective. The results, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, revealed that prescriptions of daily-use erectile dysfunction drugs soared shortly after the US went into lockdown.

It was suggested that the increased sales were a proxy for the amount of sexual activity men with erectile dysfunction were having. Sales of other medications, such as those that treat urinary issues, did not change after the start of the pandemic.

Sales of erectile dysfunction medication initially slightly dipped between March and April 2020, but have risen steadily since. Sales of tadalafil specifically – a once-a-day drug that ‘helps with spontaneous sexual activity’ – nearly doubled from February to December 2020.

“Changes in sales of erectile dysfunction drugs can indicate important problems and point out issues in people’s general wellbeing,” said Dr Davies.

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