Minoxidil versus nitroglycerin: a prospective double-blind controlled trial in transcutaneous erection facilitation for organic impotence

J Urol. 1991 Jul;146(1):50-3. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)37712-1.


A new type of topically applied drug (minoxidil) to facilitate erection is presented. Minoxidil acts directly on arterial smooth muscles via relaxation. This drug (1 ml. of a 2% solution) was studied under strict laboratory conditions in a double-blind controlled trial on 33 patients (4 with neurogenic plus arterial, 10 with neurogenic and 19 with arterial impotence) and compared to placebo and nitroglycerin (2.5 gm. of a 10% ointment). The application sites were the penile shaft (nitroglycerin) or glans penis (minoxidil and placebo). Increases in diameter and rigidity were measured with the RigiScan device and arterial flow was evaluated by conventional Doppler sonography. Side effects were considered as well. This drug proved to be more active than nitroglycerin and placebo in increasing diameter, rigidity and arterial flow of the penis. The highest activity proved to occur in neurogenically impotent patients. Fewer side effects also were found with minoxidil than with nitroglycerin. For these reasons minoxidil is proposed as a long-term therapeutic agent for organic impotence.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minoxidil / administration & dosage*
  • Minoxidil / adverse effects
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation
  • Nitroglycerin / administration & dosage*
  • Nitroglycerin / adverse effects
  • Ointments
  • Penile Erection / drug effects*
  • Penis / blood supply
  • Penis / drug effects
  • Prospective Studies


  • Gels
  • Ointments
  • Minoxidil
  • Nitroglycerin