J&J's potential entry would likely appeal to younger men, who most often suffer this malady. Competitors in the category--Pfizer's Viagra, Eli Lilly's Cialis, and GlaxoSmithKline/Bayer's Levitra--all address erection issues, which are more prevalent in older men.
Premature ejaculation--the most common male sexual dysfunction--affects between 27 and 34 percent of all men, according to the American Urological Association.
The potential pill, dapoxetine, was developed by J&J's Alza Corp. and is actually an antidepressant compound, classified as an SSRI (as are Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil). Dapoxetine was rejected by the Food and Drug Administration last October, so it's uncertain when, or if, it will actually make it to the U.S. market. But J&J plans to submit another drug application.
According to a study published in the medical journal Lancet, if taken one to three hours before intercourse, dapoxetine delayed ejaculation by a couple of minutes in affected men. The drug also "improved patients' perceptions of control over ejaculation, satisfaction with sexual intercourse and overall impression of change in condition," said the study's lead researcher, Jon Pryor of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
J&J is already a leader in the over-the-counter and prescription women's health segment through its Ortho-McNeil unit, which markets diaphragms and birth control brands such as Ortho Evra, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and others.