Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibition in essential hypertension

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2008 Feb;10(1):52-7. doi: 10.1007/s11906-008-0011-4.


Phosphodiesterase (PDE) 5 inhibitors reduce cyclic guanylate monophosphate breakdown, promoting vascular relaxation in the corpora cavernosa and penile erection during sexual stimulation. Sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil were approved as effective treatments for male erectile dysfunction. Because PDE5 is present in artery and vein smooth muscle cells throughout the body, PDE5 inhibitors have mild systemic vasodilatory effects and thus the potential to impact the vascular system. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved PDE5 inhibitors for treating pulmonary hypertension. Moreover, their systemic vasodilating properties theoretically make these drugs suitable for treating hypertension. Studies indicate that PDE5 inhibition may be an option for reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Additional benefits may be related to improved arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction, two early vascular abnormalities characterizing essential hypertension. More investigation is needed on PDE5 inhibitors as antihypertensive drugs, especially with slow-release formulations or compounds with long half-life. Studies on safety during long-term administration, interactions with antihypertensive and nonantihypertensive drugs, and effect on target organ damage are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Carbolines / therapeutic use
  • Endothelium / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Imidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors*
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use
  • Purines / therapeutic use
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones / therapeutic use
  • Tadalafil
  • Triazines / therapeutic use
  • Vardenafil Dihydrochloride


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Carbolines
  • Imidazoles
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Triazines
  • Vardenafil Dihydrochloride
  • Tadalafil
  • Sildenafil Citrate