PL 07. Icariin for the managment of sexual health concerns in men
Podium Lecture

PL 07. Icariin for the managment of sexual health concerns in men

Alan Shindel

UC Davis Department of Urology, Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center, 4860 Y Street, Suite 2200, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA

Plants of the genus Epimedium (also known as " y in yang huo" or "horny goat weed") have been utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. Typically consumed as a tea in combination with other herbal products, these supplements are purported to be useful in the treatment of arthritis, osteoporosis, and heart disorders. However, as the colloquial name suggests, the most widely known utilization of these medications is for problems of sexual function.

A likely mediator of this effect is icariin, a flavonol extract of Epimedium species. In addition to potentially anti-oxidant and vasoprotective actions, icariin possesses inhibitory activity against phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). PDE5 is the enzyme primarily responsible for breakdown of penile cGMP and subsequent penile detumescence. Ergo, there is a sound scientific rationale for the potential efficacy of icariin as a treatment for ED.

A number of studies have investigated use of icariin in rat model systems of erectile dysfunction. In this talk we will discuss existing evidence supporting the use of icariin as a treatment for erectile dysfunction in men and discuss future directions in use of this traditional remedy in contemporary medical practice.

DOI: 10.3978/j.issn.2223-4683.2012.s222

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