Erectile dysfunction may heighten risk of depression
There appears to be a link between depression and erectile dysfunction (ED), though further research of higher quality is needed, according to a recent meta-analysis.
A total of 48 studies (n=169,927) were eligible for the analysis of ED based on the exposure to depression. Pooled analysis revealed a statistically significant positive overall effect size (odds ratio [OR], 1.39; 95 percent CI, 1.35–1.42; p=0.000), though heterogeneity was significant (p<0.001).
Subgroup analyses showed that studies where the mean age of the participants was ≤45 years had significantly higher effect sizes (p<0.001 for interaction), as did studies that included patients who had no comorbidities (p<0.001). The same was true for cohort studies and those conducted in developed countries (p<0.001 for interaction for both).
Notably, no significant changes in the overall effect sizes (range: 1.28–1.51) were observed as a result of the exclusion of any one study.
In comparison, five studies were included in the analysis of the risk of depression based on the exposure to ED. The pooled analysis showed a similarly significant and positive effect size (OR, 2.92; 2.37–3.60) with no significant heterogeneity (p<0.257). This finding was likewise robust to sensitivity analyses.
“Although our conclusions may be weakened by heterogeneity among studies, the results of our meta-analysis indicate that ED increases the risk of depression and that depression also increases the risk of ED. Therefore, to improve overall patient care, clinicians and policymakers should attend to the interrelationship between depression and ED,” said researchers.