The middle-aged should do it just once a week! Doctors urged to limit patients” Viagra pillsErectile dysfunction drugs are already restricted on the NHS to people suffering from conditions such as diabetes

GPs are being urged to prescribe men who need Viagra just two pills a month on the assumption they will only have need of them once a fortnight.

A panel of NHS managers that makes rationing recommendations for several areas including Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, told doctors there should be a twice-monthly limit on erectile dysfunction drugs.

This is despite NHS guidance saying there “appears to be no clinical reason to restrict the number of tablets” of Viagra prescribed to an individual.

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It”s been a fortnight darling: Health experts recommend men should only take Viagra at most twice a month (posed)

The South Central Priorities Committee does note, however, that somewhat dated research suggests people aged between 40 and 60 have sex once a week.

In the latest document from the committee, GPs are urged to apply the two-tablet limit to prescriptions for the erectile dysfunction drugs sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis).

Erectile dysfunction drugs are already restricted on the NHS to people suffering from conditions such as diabetes, prostate cancer, spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis and polio.

The latest document said the committee “has considered the evidence of clinical and cost-effectiveness, and the financial impact on the health economy of treatment for erectile dysfunction” and recommends patients are treated “with a frequency of dosing of two times per month using the drug with the lowest acquisition cost”.

The document also says patients should not be offered counselling for problems in the bedroom.

“Psychosexual interventions such as counselling and psychotherapy comprise a group of techniques with limited evidence for effectiveness and no evidence of cost-effectiveness,” it stated.

The findings were uncovered by Pulse magazine.

Viagra was originally designed to be a heart drug until scientists noticed the interesting sexual side-effect

Viagra was originally designed to be a heart drug until scientists noticed the interesting sexual side-effect

Dr Paul Roblin, representing GP medical committees in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, said the guidance was “getting in the way of GPs having a sensible dialogue with patients about their requirements”.

“Local priorities committees don’t understand the only restrictions on GP prescribing come from the national black list and grey list,” he said.

“They sometimes portray recommendations as a rule that has to be obeyed, and that’s not true.”

A spokesperson for NHS Oxfordshire, one of the trusts covered by the policy, told Pulse: “Any decision made by the PCT cannot prohibit prescribing, but will form a recommendation to GPs.”

An NHS Berkshire East spokesperson said: “Existing patients are prescribed four tablets a month, but new patients are treated in line with the policy.”

Richard Hoey, editor of Pulse, said: “Ask most doctors and they will say that being able to live a satisfactory sex life is a key part of health and well-being, but the NHS has never recognised that in its policy on treatment for erectile dysfunction.

“Limiting patients to drugs like Viagra just twice a month is to treat sex like an unnecessary luxury, and completely fails to recognise the degree of anguish it can cause some men with erectile dysfunction.”