The Role of Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors in COVID-19: An Exploration of Literature From Similar Pathologies

J Intensive Care Med. 2020 Sep 10;885066620957951. doi: 10.1177/0885066620957951. Online ahead of print.


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a devastating impact on the ability of highly trained healthcare providers to render sufficient care, due to both the significant demand on resources and the unique nature of this disease that make it resistant to traditional therapies. This review sought to determine the potential role of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5) in the management of COVID-19 by extrapolating relevant data and clinical studies from other related disease states, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute lung injury, and high altitude pulmonary edema. Following a literature search, 4 reports were analyzed and included in this review. While the heterogenicity of data and the small number of trials included limit the interpretation and applicability, it was consistently demonstrated that PDE-5 inhibitors lowered pulmonary arterial pressures. The overall benefit of these agents is seemingly dependent upon the etiology of the respiratory failure, which warrants expanded clinical investigation for COVID-19.

Keywords: Acute respiratory distress syndrome; acute lung injury; coronavirus disease 2019; high altitude pulmonary edema; phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor; pulmonary arterial hypertension.