Erectile dysfunction medication use in veterans eligible for medicare part D

Samantha H. Spencer, Katie J. Suda*, Bridget M. Smith, Zhiping Huo, Lauren Bailey, Kevin T. Stroupe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications are therapeutically effective and associated with satisfaction. Medicare Part D included ED medications on the formulary during 2006 and inadvertently in 2007-2008. OBJECTIVE: To characterize phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE-5) medication use among veterans who were dually eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare Part D benefits. METHODS: Veterans aged > 66 years who received PDE-5 inhibitors between 2005 and 2009 were included. Veterans were categorized by PDE-5 inhibitor claims: VA-only, Part D-only, or dual users of VA and Part D-reimbursed pharmacies. T-tests and chi-square tests were applied as appropriate. RESULTS: From 2005 to 2009, the majority (85.2[%]) of veterans used VA benefits exclusively for their PDE-5 inhibitors; 11.4[%] used Medicare Part D exclusively; and 3.4[%] were dual users. The Part D-only group was older, more frequently not black, had a VA copay, and had a higher income (P < 0.03). The VA group was more likely to have comorbidities, smoke, and have a history of substance abuse (P< 0.001). With the inception of Medicare Part D in 2006, the number of patients filling prescriptions for PDE-5 inhibitors (-68[%]) and total number of PDE-5 inhibitor 30-day equivalents dispensed (-86.7[%]) from the VA decreased. Part D prescriptions increased through 2006 (full coverage period) and 2007 (accidental partial coverage) and decreased in 2008. While Part D accounted for only 10[%] of PDE-5 inhibitor 30-day equivalents, it equaled 29.2[%] of dispensed tablets. In October 2007, VA PDE-5 inhibitor use returned to 2005 levels. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of Medicare Part D reduced VA PDE-5 inhibitor acquisition. However, after removal of PDE-5 inhibitors from the Part D formulary, use of VA pharmacies for PDE-5 inhibitors resumed. Medication policies outside the VA can affect medication use. Veterans with access to non-VA health care may obtain medications from the private sector because of VA restrictions. This may be especially true for nonformulary and lifestyle medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-824
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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