Purpose: We assessed the efficacy and safety of sildenafil citrate as treatment for erectile dysfunction.
Materials and methods: A total of 433 completely evaluated men with chronic erectile dysfunction were treated with sildenafil citrate. Response was assessed prospectively by baseline and followup physician interviews, and by a patient self-administered 15-item questionnaire on the domains of patient treatment response and satisfaction, partner treatment satisfaction, comparative previous treatment satisfaction, adverse effects, and patient and partner quality of life.
Results: Of the 304 men (70.2%) who completed the questionnaire 278 received sildenafil, including 186 who previously had undergone treatment for erectile dysfunction, principally involving intracavernous injection therapy. A response was elicited by a median dose of 100 mg. in 188 patients (67.6%) who achieved erection suitable for sexual intercourse. Those with psychogenic erectile dysfunction responded significantly better than those with organic dysfunction (p <0.001). Erection suitable for intercourse was attained by 30.8% of patients with erectile dysfunction after radical prostatectomy and 80% with cavernous veno-occlusive dysfunction. Of previous intracavernous injection responders 29.9% were refractory to sildenafil, while 33. 3% of previous intracavernous injection nonresponders responded to sildenafil. The sildenafil response was considered inferior to the intracavernous injection response by 43.6% of the men who previously responded to intracavernous injection, of whom 51.5% continued to receive intracavernous injection as the only treatment (19.5%) or as an alternative to sildenafil (32%). Adverse effects in 53.6% of cases were assessed as mild in 56.4%, moderate in 38.3% and severe in 5.3%. Multiple adverse effects were reported by 62.4% of patients, while 17 (6.1%) discontinued sildenafil as a direct result of intolerable adverse effects. The most common adverse effects were facial flushing in 33.5% of cases, headaches in 23.4%, nasal congestion in 12.6%, dyspepsia in 10.1% and dizziness in 10.8%. Baseline patient and partner quality of life scores significantly improved after sildenafil treatment (p <0.001), while significantly improved quality of life was noticed by 51.5% and 43.1%, respectively.
Conclusions: Sildenafil citrate is effective oral first line treatment for erectile dysfunction. Although more than 50% of men reported adverse effects, most were considered mild and rarely resulted in treatment cessation. There was a trend in those on intracavernous injection who responded to sildenafil to continue intracavernous injection as the only therapy or as an alternative to sildenafil. Also, we noted that some cases refractory to sildenafil responded to intracavernous injection. These findings imply that intracavernous injection remains an effective erectile dysfunction treatment option.