Achieving treatment optimization with sildenafil citrate (Viagra) in patients with erectile dysfunction

Urology. 2002 Sep;60(2 Suppl 2):28-38. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(02)01688-6.


Since its approval in 1998, sildenafil citrate (Viagra) has been shown to be efficacious in >100 clinical trials involving >8000 men with erectile dysfunction (ED). In clinical practice, however, many men do not continue long-term use of sildenafil for a variety of reasons; thus, 6 different aspects of optimizing treatment with sildenafil are described here. (1) Intercourse success rates, considered a reflection of real-world effectiveness, were assessed in 1276 patients with ED. Results indicated that the cumulative probability of achieving intercourse success with sildenafil increased with the number of attempts, reaching a plateau after approximately 8 attempts. (2) A comprehensive disease management approach that included a medical history, physical examination, educational material about ED, modifications of risk factors/lifestyle changes, and counseling resulted in successful intercourse in 74% of 111 patients taking sildenafil. (3) A survey conducted among primary care physicians revealed that almost 50% did not routinely question their patients about ED symptoms, although it is known that most patients would prefer their physician to take the initiative. (4) Overall, 55% of 137 men who were previously not successful with sildenafil became successful after reeducation and counseling, which included information on patient and partner expectations, how to properly take the drug, titration to maximum dose, and a minimum trial of 8 attempts for efficacy assessment. (5) Many men with ED have underlying comorbidities or take multiple medications that are risk factors for ED. Controlling these risk factors in 521 men from a multispecialty clinic led to an overall intercourse success rate of 82%; patients with multiple risk factors were less likely to have intercourse success than men with only 1 risk factor. (6) Finally, treatment satisfaction is a pivotal factor in maintaining long-term ED therapy. In an open-label trial, 82% of 443 subjects reported treatment satisfaction with sildenafil. In summary, these findings highlight how important it is for physicians to take a more comprehensive, proactive approach when treating men with ED, including control of risk factors, instructions on how to properly take the drug, partner involvement, and follow-up visits. Using these recommended measures, most men with ED, including those whose treatment was previously unsuccessful, can be treated successfully with sildenafil.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Coitus
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Interactions
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Purines
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Sildenafil Citrate