Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of sildenafil citrate (Viagra, Pfizer Inc., USA) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation study over a period of 26 weeks in men with erectile dysfunction of a broad spectrum of aetiology.
Patients and methods: In all, 315 patients from five countries were randomized to receive treatment with placebo (156 men) or sildenafil (159 men). Significant concomitant medical conditions were hypertension (20%), a history of pelvic surgery (19%), diabetes mellitus (15%), and ischaemic heart disease (10%). Patients randomized to treatment received a starting dose of 25 mg of sildenafil or matching placebo, which could be increased to 50 mg and then to 100 mg of sildenafil, based on efficacy and tolerability. Assessments of efficacy comprised the 15-item International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), including question three (ability to achieve an erection) and question four (ability to maintain an erection), a partner questionnaire, an overall efficacy question, and event-log data.
Results: After 12 weeks of treatment, 26%, 32% and 42% of patients were taking 25, 50 and 100 mg of sildenafil, respectively. A similar distribution of doses was reported after 26 weeks of treatment. Treatment with sildenafil significantly improved the patients' abilities to achieve and maintain an erection compared with treatment with placebo (P < 0.001). Scores for four of the five sexual function domains of the IIEF (erectile function, orgasmic function, intercourse satisfaction and overall satisfaction) also improved significantly (P < 0.001). There was a significant improvement in the mean score for the erectile function domain, regardless of the aetiology of erectile dysfunction (P < 0.001). After 12 weeks and 26 weeks of treatment, 82% and 79% of patients receiving sildenafil reported improved erections, compared with 24% and 23% of patients receiving placebo, respectively (P < 0.001). Treatment-related adverse events were mild to moderate and occurred in 27% of patients receiving sildenafil, compared with 8% of patients receiving placebo.
Conclusion: Sildenafil is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for men with erectile dysfunction of a broad spectrum of aetiology.