Clinical safety of oral sildenafil citrate (VIAGRATM) in the treatment of erectile dysfunction


Sildenafil citrate has been shown to be effective in a wide range of patients with erectile dysfunction and has been approved in the United States for this indication. The overall clinical safety of oral sildenafil, a potent inhibitor of phosphodiesterase type 5, in the treatment of erectile dysfunction was evaluated in more than 3700 patients (with a total of 1631 years of exposure worldwide). Safety and tolerability data were analysed from a series of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies and from 10 open-label extension studies of sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. A total of 4274 patients (2722 sildenafil, 1552 placebo; age range 19–87 y) received double-blind treatment over a period of up to six months’ duration, and 2199 received long-term, open-label sildenafil for up to 1 y. The most commonly reported adverse events (all causes) were headache (16% sildenafil, 4% placebo), flushing (10% sildenafil, 1% placebo), and dyspepsia (7% sildenafil, 2% placebo) and they were predominantly transient and mild or moderate in nature. These adverse events reflect the pharmacology of sildenafil as a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor. No cases of priapism were reported. The rate of discontinuation due to adverse events (all causes) was comparable for patients treated with sildenafil (2.5%) and placebo (2.3%). In open-label extension studies, 90% of patients completed long-term sildenafil treatment, with only 2% withdrawing due to adverse events. Sildenafil is a well-tolerated oral treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to A Morales.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Morales, A., Gingell, C., Collins, M. et al. Clinical safety of oral sildenafil citrate (VIAGRATM) in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 10, 69–73 (1998).

Download citation


  • erectile dysfunction
  • sildenafil
  • phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor
  • safety

Further reading