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Clinical applications of centrally acting agents in male sexual dysfunction


Currently available agents for erectile dysfunction (ED) share the same mechanism of action and pharmacologic properties. Therefore, they share the same limitations, including a principal focus on erection as an end-organ process. One of the relatively unexplored areas of research has been the potential for centrally acting agents to improve male sexual response. A variety of neurohormones and neurotransmitter systems are involved in the male sexual response, including testosterone, dopamine, serotonin and the melanocortin systems. Investigations to determine the utility of centrally acting agents as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy in men with ED or other forms of sexual dysfunction are underway. Bremelanotide, a melanocortin agonist, has been tested in men with ED and may prove to be one of the first centrally acting agents to have clinical utility in male sexual dysfunction.

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This work was supported by a grant from Palatin Technologies, Inc. Editorial support for the development of this paper was provided by Kevin Kehres.

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Correspondence to W J G Hellstrom.

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Dr Hellstrom serves as a consultant/advisor, lecturer and/or clinical trial investigator for the following: VIVUS, Mentor, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Auxilium, King, Palatin, American Medical Systems, Medtronic, GlaxoSmithKline, Coloplast and Sanofi-Synthelabo.

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Hellstrom, W. Clinical applications of centrally acting agents in male sexual dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 20 (Suppl 1), S17–S23 (2008).

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  • male sexual dysfunction
  • erectile dysfunction
  • treatment
  • bremelanotide

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