"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”
A trial to see if the early use of tadalafil can help with sexual function after surgery for cancer of the prostate
We know that this is an especially worrying time for people with cancer and their family and friends. We have separate information about coronavirus and cancer. Please read that information alongside this page. We will update that information as guidance changes.
This trial looked at using tadalafil in men after surgery for prostate cancer. It is for men who had prostate surgery (prostatectomy) that was nerve sparing. After this type of operation some men may have problems getting erections. You may hear this called erectile dysfunction. This means you are not able to get an erect penis, or keep it erect enough for sexual activity.
We know from research that tadalafil helped men with erectile dysfunction between 1 and 4 years after surgery. But doctors were not sure if giving tadalafil sooner after surgery could help.
In this trial the researchers compared tadalafil with a dummy drug (
Summary of results
The trial team found that having tadalafil once a day after prostate surgery helped men to keep their erectile function.
This was a phase 4 trial. Of the 583 men recruited, 423 men were randomised and 422 men had treatment. The men taking part were put into 1 of 3 treatment groups. Neither they nor their doctor could choose which group they were in and neither knew which group they were in. This is called a double blind trial.
- 139 men took tadalafil once a day and a dummy drug (placebo) when they needed it
- 142 men took tadalafil when they needed it
- 141 men took a dummy drug when they needed it
After 9 months of treatment the men stopped treatment for 6 weeks. This was to allow the tadalafil and the dummy drug to come out of their body. After this everyone took tadalafil once a day for 3 months.
At the end of the 9 months treatment, the researchers measured the erectile function of each individual man. In the group of men who had tadalafil every day, a larger number had kept more of their erectile function than in the group who had the dummy drug. This could not have happened by chance and so it was
After the 6 weeks of no treatment, there was no statistical significant difference in the erectile function between the 3 groups of men.
Overall after having tadalafil once a day for 3 months, the erectile function of the men had improved in all groups.
The trial team concluded that having tadalafil once a day after prostate surgery did help men maintain their erectile function.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Mr Hiten Patel
Eli Lilly and Company Limited
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer