A Viagra-Like Condom to Treat an Embarrassing Problem

Published: April 20, 2011

Research suggests that men who have difficulty maintaining an erection when they use condoms are (unsurprisingly) less likely to use them consistently and more likely to have unprotected sex. The solution may be to build a better condom.

As the WSJ reports, a contraceptive aimed at helping men maintain their erections — developed by U.K. biotech Futura Medical and licensed to the maker of Durex condoms, the brand now owned by consumer-products company Reckitt Benckiser — is nearing approval in Europe. The medical purpose: to cut down on the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases (such as HIV, seen at right).

It’s not clear whether the manufacturer plans to apply to the FDA to market the product here, but the agency would certainly require more data reflecting U.S. patients.

The condom is lined with a gel containing a vasodilator that increases blood flow to the penis and so helps maintain erections. Futura came up with a way to deliver the drug in a formulation that wouldn’t weaken the condom and would “immobilize” the drug in the lubricant so it would only affect the wearer, the WSJ says.

While the product has been compared to Pfizer’s Viagra in condom form, that’s not exactly accurate since it’s intended not for men with erectile dysfunction in general, but those who specifically have difficulties keeping an erection when using a condom.

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