Falling flat in the bedroom? A new gel you rub on your penis might give you just the boost you need, according to research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
In the study, 232 men with erectile dysfunction participated in two separate, four-week trials. In one, they used a new topical gel called MED2005—containing 0.2 percent glyceryl trinitrate, or nitroglycerin—before sex. In the other, they used a placebo gel.
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In each trial, they rubbed a pea-sized amount of the gel onto the head of the penis right before sex.
The researchers discovered that nearly 1 in 4 men reported a significant improvement in their sexual functioning score—a questionnaire including measures like confidence getting and keeping an erection, hardness of erections, and satisfaction with sex—after the treatment with the nitroglycerin gel, compared to just 14 percent of men who used the placebo gel.
What’s more, the nitroglycerin gel worked fast: 70 percent of men noticed the start of an erection within 10 minutes, and 44 percent reported an erection in five minutes or less.
That’s much faster than the time it generally takes for oral erectile dysfunction drugs to work. In fact, if you’re taking Viagra or Cialis, you need to wait an hour before getting busy, since that’s how long it takes for the drugs reach their peak effectiveness in your system, Jacob Rajfer, M.D., professor of urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA told us previously.
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Now, part of the reason the drug works so quickly might be due to the fact you’re massaging it directly onto the head of your penis, the researchers say. And even that short amount of stimulation (15 seconds), can help boost arousal. But since the guys using the nitroglycerin drug showed more improvement in their erections than the men using the placebo gel did, that shows something about the drug itself is responsible, too.
It’s likely due to how nitroglycerin works, by boosting a neurotransmitter called nitric oxide in your body, the researchers believe. This relaxes the smooth blood vessels in your penis, helping you get and maintain an erection (A few outlets have referred to this as a ‘dynamite’ gel because nitroglycerin is traditionally associated with its use in explosives. But nitroglycerin in small, diluted doses has been used as an active ingredient in many medications, including blood pressure meds, as The Telegraph reported).
The nitroglycerin gel was most effective in guys with mild forms of erectile dysfunction. So more studies using different dosages of the meds are necessary to see how the gel can help men with moderate or severe ED more, too, the researchers say.
Still, there are some pretty big plusses to this new ED treatment, besides the fact it works quickly. Since the drug is topical, you don’t have to worry about one of the big drawbacks of oral ED meds—the fact that eating a big, fatty meal beforehand can mess with its absorption, leaving you unable to get hard. Because Viagra and Cialis work best on an empty stomach, you should wait two to three hours after a big meal to take them, as Dr. Rajfer told us previously. With this new topical drug, you can get right down to business as soon as dinner’s done.
Originally published on menshealth.com