Men suffering from premature ejaculation can now, for the first time, take a pill that reportedly triples the time to climax, as Janssen-Cilag’s Priligy has become available in the UK via a special Internet service.

While the drug is not specifically licensed to combat premature ejaculation in the UK (a marketing application has not yet been submitted), it is approved for this use in several other European countries and is thus available over here too, but only after an online consultation with a doctor.

As from this week, men suffering from premature ejaculation, which is thought to affect around 30% of the male population at some point in their lives, can get their hands on the Priligy (dapoxetine) by visiting Lloydspharmacy’s Online Doctor service – which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission - for a private prescription for the drug, if suitable.

Originally marketed as an antidepressant, Priligy is a short-acting selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that works by altering the levels of serotonin - the hormone responsible for ejaculation - in the brain to give men a greater degree of control, and trials in more than 6,000 patients showed that it can increase the time to ejaculation by a factor of three.

Before the arrival of Priligy, which comes in packs of three and costs roughly £25 a pill, the only therapies men with premature ejaculation had available to them was a variety of local anaesthetic sprays and creams, condoms (to reduce sensitivity), counselling and certain ‘behavioural techniques’ to help delay orgasm, and so news of a new treatment will be very welcome indeed.

Same potential as Viagra?
“Priligy has the potential to do as much for men’s sexual health as Viagra, as it will give sufferers a chance to improve the quality of their relationships and their general wellbeing,” said Nitin Makadia, head of male sexual health at Lloydspharmacy. “It has been well received by men elsewhere in Europe and we are really pleased to be bringing this treatment to the UK.”

According to findings of a European study, more than half of men suffering from premature ejaculation have not spoken to anyone about their condition, of which almost half said they were too embarrassed to seek help and another 28% felt it wasn’t a ‘proper’ medical condition and therefore untreatable.

But Lloydspharmacy is hoping that, by enabling patients to receive treatment without the need for a face-to-face consultation, more men will be prompted to get help for the condition.