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Saudi J Biol Sci. 2011 Apr;18(2):135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2010.12.007. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

Developmental toxicity of orally administered sildenafil citrate (Viagra) in SWR/J mice.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, College of Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia.


Normal adult inbred SWR/J mice were used to investigate the teratogenic and other possible toxic effects of various dose levels of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) on fetuses. Multiple dose levels of 6.5, 13.0, 19.5, 26.0, 32.5 or 40.0 mg of sildenafil citrate/kg body weight (which correspond to the multiples of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 of human 50 mg Viagra, respectively) were orally administered into pregnant mice on days 7-9, 10-12 or 13-15 of gestation. On day 17 of pregnancy, all fetuses were removed and examined for toxic phenomena (embryo-fetal toxicity) and for external, internal and skeletal malformations. A total of 285 pregnant mice were used in the present study. None of the dams treated with sildenafil citrate at any of the oral dose levels used in the present study died during the experimental period and all dams treated with the drug failed to reveal overt signs of maternal toxicity. Moreover, the results of the present study clearly demonstrate that none of the multiple oral dose levels of the drug at any time interval used has induced any external, internal or skeletal malformations in the fetuses obtained from treated females. However, the dose level of 40 mg/kg body weight of sildenafil citrate has a growth suppressing effect on alive fetuses when it was administered at all the time intervals used in the present study. Furthermore, the dose levels 26.0, 32.5 and 40 mg/kg of the drug have embryo-fetal toxicity when the drug is applied on days 13-15 of gestation. The possible mechanisms involved in the embryo-fetal toxicity and fetal growth suppressing effects of sildenafil citrate were discussed. The results of this study have important implications for the widespread use of this drug.


Developmental toxicity; Embryo-fetal toxicity; Growth suppressing effect; Mice; Sildenafil citrate; Teratogenic effect; Viagra

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