Effects of intracavernosal trazodone hydrochloride: animal and human studies

J Urol. 1990 Nov;144(5):1277-82. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)39719-7.


Trazodone hydrochloride is an oral antidepressant agent which has been associated with the improvement of erections in impotent men and the development of prolonged erections or priapism in potent men. An in vivo study in animal and human subjects was performed to gain experience with the effect of intracavernosal trazodone. In the anesthetized New Zealand White rabbit, intracavernosal trazodone or its major metabolite m-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP) produced full penile erection in 76% and 84% of animals studied respectively with doses ranging from one to 15 mg. On the other hand, intracavernosal administration of five mg. papaverine resulted in a prolonged erection in 90% of animals studied. In 13 selected volunteer patients, intracavernosal trazodone caused tumescence but not full penile erection with corporal body pressures of 28.2 +/- 5.8 mm. Hg. Intracavernosal papaverine or papaverine and phentolamine in these subjects resulted in significantly higher corporal body pressures of 58 +/- 18 mm. Hg (p less than .05). Intracavernosal administration of alpha adrenoceptor agonists but not normal saline resulted in complete detumescence of trazodone- or m-CPP-induced prolonged erection in the animal studies. Intracavernosal trazodone results in erectile activity that appears in part based on its local alpha blocking activity but like other intracavernosal alpha-blocking agents is not as effective in initiating penile erections as are intracavernosal agents that directly induce smooth muscle relaxation.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penile Erection / drug effects*
  • Penis / drug effects
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Trazodone / administration & dosage
  • Trazodone / pharmacology*


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Piperazines
  • 1-(3-chlorophenyl)piperazine
  • Trazodone