Technology Suicides among Swedish men decreased after Viagra became more affordable

Technology Depression often leads to a decrease in libido. What about the opposite? What is the likelihood of depression being caused by a lack of intimate sexual relationships in your life? Recent research suggests that the affordability of generic Viagra may be linked to suicide among men. This could indicate that there is a causal relationship between lack of sexual intimacy and mental decline.

In July 2013, the patent rights to Sildenafil (generic Viagra) ended in Sweden. 12 tablets of Viagra used to cost about 1200 SEK (180 USD) in the country. After the patent rights ended, sildenafil was priced 300 SEK (45 USD) – a dramatic drop of 75% in the price of Viagra.

“The number of Swedish men using sildenafil averaged 62,000 per year from 2007 to 2012. That number increased to 101,000 for the years 2014-2017”

The study by Ralph Catalano et al. used the monthly counts of suicide among Swedish men aged 50-59 (a proxy for mental health in the population) and examined whether it changed after Viagra became more affordable. Researchers found two reasons why this age group was selected.

  1. This age group saw the fastest increase in prescriptions for Sildenafil to treat Erectile Dysfunction compared to any other, after 2013.
  2. Historically, most number of suicides have been reported in this age group compared to any other.

Data from 120 months (January 2005 – December 2014) indicate that in the months following the patent lapse (July 2013), the suicide counts decreased. Researchers calculated that on average, 65 fewer suicides occurred each month after the drop in Sildenafil prices. The association was not due to shared trends, seasonality, bias samples or reverse causation, according to statistical checks by researchers.

“Our finding would appear by chance fewer than once in 10 000 experiments (i.e., point estimate of -4. 66 with a standard error of 0. 94)”

According to the researchers, the findings suggest that a healthy sex life offers some protection against depression, besides fostering greater happiness, feelings of belonging, desirability & self-worth, and satisfaction with life. You can read more about the study done by Ralph Catalano and Sidra Goldman–Mellor as well as Terry Hartig.

https://sapienjournal.org/suicides-among-swedish-men-decreased-after-viagra-became-more-affordable/, Hacker News
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