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New Drug Spray May Help Premature Ejaculation

Rating

5 Star

New Drug Spray May Help Premature Ejaculation

Our Review Summary

There was a lot we liked about this story.  Appropriate caveats. Even the headline said "may help" instead of hyping results.  Lots of detail on the evidence. Maybe WebMD is starting to listen to us?

 

Why This Matters

The story ended with this note which we had not seen before on a WebMD story:

  • This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

We applaud this addition. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story explains that "No price has been set."  We give it credit for thinking about cost and addressing it – even if the answer is uncertain at this point.  70 percent of the stories we review fail to adequately address costs.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The "ejaculatory control scale" wasn’t explained very well.  But the numbers were there. 

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Again, this was the most complete story of the three reviewed in discussing side effects:

  • "A total of 6.1% of the men and 6.7% of their partners suffered at least one side effect. In men, the most frequent side effect was loss of erection; it occurred at least once in 3.1% of men. In the partners, the most frequent side effect was burning in the vulvovaginal area; 5% of women reported it at least once."

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The story gave a great deal of detail about how the study was done – most of the three stories we reviewed.

It also included this italicized note at the end: 

  • This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

We had not seen that before on a WebMD story and we applaud it.  WebMD, are you listening to us? 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story includes the important caveat – "Not all men with premature ejaculation suffer to the same degree as the men in the study" – although did they really need to use the term "suffer"???

It did not question the oft-cited statistic that "Up to 30% of men suffer some degree of premature ejaculation" as the Wall Street Journal did, but we’ll give it a satisfactory grade on this nonetheless because of the caveat above. 

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

One researcher’s financial links to the drug company were disclosed.  One independent expert was interviewed.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t provide the context on other research in this area that the Wall Street Journal story provided:

  • "The field suffered a setback in 2005, when the FDA rejected an application from Johnson & Johnson to market a drug called Priligy; the agency doesn’t typically reveal its reasons for such decisions publicly. To date no treatment has won the FDA’s nod for use in premature ejaculation. The J&J drug, which works similarly to antidepressants such as Prozac, has been approved for use in 12 countries, including Germany and South Korea. A company spokeswoman says Johnson & Johnson is "evaluating its path forward in the U.S." for Priligy. In the U.S., men can try certain antidepressants or numbing creams, which aren’t FDA-approved for premature ejaculation, or work with a sex therapist or psychologist. These are "less-than-perfect alternatives," says Anthony Smith, a urologist at the University of New Mexico who was not involved in the research on PSD502."

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story explains that "The drug is so new that the company has yet to give it a name under which it will be marketed…. the company is preparing to apply for FDA approval based on the results of the new research."

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

It’s clear from the story that the drug "contains two common painkillers" and that "this is the first time a drug is being rigorously tested for men with really serious premature ejaculation problems."

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

It’s clear that the story did not rely solely on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory

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