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  1. Turkoski, Beatrice B.


Knowledge of the drugs currently approved to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) is important for nurses who care for male patients, especially those men of middle age or older and those who have concurrent health problems or are taking medications that may contribute to ED. This article provides a very basic look at ED and the drugs currently approved and used for treatment. Informed nurses can increase patient understanding of ED, make suggestions for necessary referrals, and help patients and their sexual partners understand the appropriate use and cautions associated with drugs used to treat ED. On the surface, one might question why orthopaedic nurses would need knowledge about drugs currently used to treat ED. However, when one considers that a large proportion of patients in any orthopaedic setting are men, the need for knowledge about the use and safety of these medications becomes a valid component of total patient care. This is an especially important subject today, when media advertising has heightened public awareness of the medications used to treat ED but has not provided much toward a basic understanding about ED or the safe use of the advertised therapeutic agents. Nurses who have some knowledge about ED and the medications used to treat ED are better able to serve as a patient resource for education and referral.