Fortunately, more and more men of all ages are seeking help, and treatment has advanced rapidly. Helping a patient starts with assessment and it’s here that rating scales play an integral role. This first step is easily done through a questionnaire. The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) is a reliable and multidimensional scale for assessing sexual function in men.
As doctors, Raymond Rosen and Allen Seftel explained: “The rationale behind the IIEF was the need to develop a brief, reliable and self-administered measure of erectile function that was cross-culturally valid and psychometrically sound, with the sensitivity and specificity for detecting treatment-related changes in patients with ED.” (Validated questionnaires for assessing sexual dysfunction and BPH/LUTS published in International Journal of Impotence Research, Volume 20)
However, with 15 questions the full IIEF survey is rather time-consuming to carry out at a busy pharmacy. This is where the abridged 5-item version (IIEF-5) is particularly useful and can quickly and discreetly be completed by the patient. It includes the following questions:
- How do you rate your confidence that you could get and keep an erection?
- When you had erections with sexual stimulation, how often were your erections hard enough for penetration?
- During sexual intercourse, how often were you able to maintain your erection after you had penetrated (entered) your partner?
- During sexual intercourse, how difficult was it to maintain your erection to completion of intercourse?
- When you attempted sexual intercourse, how often was it satisfactory for you?
The five multiple-choice questions have answers rated on a scale of 1-5. The IIEF-5 score is the sum of the ordinal responses to the 5 questions:
22-25: No erectile dysfunction
17-21: Mild erectile dysfunction
12-16: Mild to moderate erectile dysfunction
8-11: Moderate erectile dysfunction
5-7: Severe erectile dysfunction
The IIEF-5 also establishes a baseline that can be used to monitor changes related to treatment.