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Midodrine Improves Orgasm in Spinal Cord-Injured Men: The Effects of Autonomic Stimulation


Jean Gabriel Previnaire, MD, Spinal Unit, Centre Calvé, Fondation Hopale, 72 esplanade Parmentier, Berck sur Mer Cedex, France 62608. Tel: +00333 21 89 31 87; Fax: +00333 21 89 31 40; E-mail:


Introduction.  Orgasm is less frequent in men with spinal cord injury (SCI) than in able-bodied subjects, and is poorly understood.

Aim.  To assess the effect of autonomic stimulation on orgasm in SCI men using midodrine, an alpha1-adrenergic agonist agent.

Materials and Methods.  Penile vibratory stimulation (PVS) was performed in 158 SCI men on midodrine as part of a treatment for anejaculation, after they failed a baseline PVS. A maximum of four trials were performed, weekly, with increasing doses of midodrine.

Main Outcome Measure.  The presence and type of ejaculation, orgasm experiences, and cardiovascular data were collected.

Results.  Ejaculation either antegrade or retrograde was obtained in 102 SCI men (65%). Orgasm without ejaculation was reported by 14 patients (9%) on baseline PVS. Ninety-three patients (59%) experienced orgasm during PVS on midodrine. Orgasm was significantly related to the presence of ejaculation in 86 patients (84%), and more strikingly to antegrade ejaculation (pure or mixed with retrograde), i.e., in 98% of 70 patients. Orgasm was significantly more frequent in patients with upper motor neuron and incomplete lesions who present somatic responses during PVS. There was no effect of the presence of psychogenic erection. There was a significant increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Sixteen patients, mainly tetraplegics, developed intense autonomic dysreflexia (AD) that required an oral nicardipine chlorhydrate.

Conclusions.  Orgasm is the brain's cognitive interpretation of genital sensations and somatic responses, AD, and ejaculation. Intact sacral and T10-L2 cord segments are mandatory, allowing coordination between internal and external sphincters. Autonomic stimulation with midodrine enhances orgasm rate, mainly by creating antegrade ejaculation. Soler JM, Previnaire JG, Plante P, Denys P, and Chartier-Kastler E. Midodrine improves orgasm in spinal cord-injured men: The effects of autonomic stimulation. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.

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