Anesthetic spray shows promise for premature ejaculation

The first U.S. trials of a spray-on anesthetic for the penis showed that it increased the time to ejaculation nearly fivefold, providing the first good solution for premature ejaculation, researchers reported Thursday.

Premature ejaculation is thought to affect as many as one in three U.S. men ages 18 to 59, about twice as many as those who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Some physicians prescribe anesthetic creams for off-label use to delay ejaculation, but such creams require 45 minutes to work and the man must use a condom to prevent the anesthetic from numbing his partner.

Now, Plethora Solutions of London and Sciele Pharma Inc. of Atlanta have developed a spray anesthetic, called PSD502 or Tempe, that contains lidocaine and prilocaine dispensed by a metered aerosol. The new trial, led by Dr. Michael G. Wyllie of Plethora, enrolled 256 patients at 38 centers in the U.S., Canada and Poland. Their average duration of intercourse was less than 36 seconds. Two-thirds of the participants used PSD502; the rest were given a placebo.

Wyllie reported Thursday at a San Diego meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America that men receiving the drug increased their intercourse time to an average of 2 minutes, 36 seconds, compared with an increase to only 48 seconds in the placebo group. The benefits persisted for the three months of the study, and both men and women reported greater satisfaction with their sexual experiences. No significant adverse effects were observed.

The findings are very similar to those obtained in a European study released in April.

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