An anesthetic spray enables men with premature ejaculation (PE) to delay ejaculation several minutes, European research shows. The spray is expected to become available here this year.

Doctors in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands randomly assigned 54 men (average age 39 years) to the lidocaine-prilocaine spray or an inert spray for 10 weeks. All of the men had a long history of PE. Both the active drugs and the placebo were packaged in metered-dose aerosol devices identical in appearance. The men sprayed their glans penis three times during the 15 minutes before intercourse, which they timed with stopwatches.

The anesthetic spray resulted in a mean intravaginal ejaculatory latency time of 4.9 minutes compared with 1.6 minutes in the placebo group. There were no adverse side effects, but three men reported moderate numbness. “The results suggest that the spray might be useful as a first-line treatment for men with premature ejaculation,” the researchers concluded (BJU Int. 2006;99:369-375).

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The spray is made by Plethora Solutions, a British company that won FDA clearance for the product last year and hopes to launch it in the United States in 2007. One of the study’s co-investigators works for the company.