The effect of sildenafil on quality of life

Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;25(1):3-10.


Background: Antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction affects approximately 50% of patients taking antidepressants. Previous research has explored sildenafil's effectiveness in treating various forms of erectile dysfunction, but there is no research supporting sildenafil's use for improving the quality of life for patients with sexual dysfunction linked to antidepressant use. The authors of this article aimed to assess the improvements in quality of life in patients taking sildenafil to treat antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.

Methods: One hundred and two out of 2,239 male and female patients in the follow-up phase of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression antidepressant trials who complained of sexual dysfunction were given sildenafil, 50 to 100 mg, as needed. After 12 months, we measured patients' change in libido, sexual drive, family relationships, overall well-being, satisfaction with treatment, and overall contentment with items on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire, 30-item Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, and 12-item Short Form Health Survey.

Results: There was a significant association between sildenafil use and improvement in libido and sexual drive by month 6. There was no significant improvement in the quality-of-life scores we examined, but treatment satisfaction and overall contentment increased over time.

Conclusions: Despite no direct association with sildenafil use and quality-of-life scores, sildenafil may be a beneficial treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of sildenafil in antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction is needed to further explore its potential benefits.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents / classification
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Piperazines / administration & dosage*
  • Purines / administration & dosage
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / chemically induced
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / drug therapy
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological* / psychology
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones / administration & dosage*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Sildenafil Citrate