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Am J Cardiol. 1999 Sep 9;84(5B):11N-17N.

Cardiovascular effects of sildenafil citrate and recommendations for its use.

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University of Southern California, The Heart Institute of the Hospital of the Good Samaritan, Los Angeles 90017, USA.


Sildenafil citrate is the first orally active therapy proved to be effective and safe treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). Because men with cardiovascular disease are at increased risk of developing ED, and because ED and cardiovascular disease share important risk factors, attention has focused recently on the use of sildenafil in these men. When used in combination with nitroglycerin and other nitric oxide (NO) donors, sildenafil may potentiate major drops in blood pressure. Use of nitrate antianginal agents are an absolute contraindication to sildenafil use. In normotensive men and in men receiving antihypertensive medications evaluated in Phase II/III clinical trials, sildenafil use at the recommended doses (25-100 mg 1 hour before sexual intercourse and no more than once daily) was associated with modest, transient reductions in blood pressure and negligible effects on heart rate. In a more recent study, sildenafil was well tolerated in patients receiving antihypertensive medications and was not associated with major decreases in blood pressure. From the time of its approval in the United States in March 1998 through mid-November 1998, with approximately 6 million prescriptions written, 130 deaths were reported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Seventy-seven of the men who died had documented cardiovascular events. Sixteen men took or were administered nitroglycerin or an organic nitrate; 3 others had nitroglycerin in their possession. Physician prescribing guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) recommend caution when prescribing sildenafil to men with certain cardiovascular conditions, liver or kidney disease, and to those taking medications that may prolong sildenafil's half-life (e.g., erythromycin or cimetidine). Those with known or suspected coronary artery disease may benefit from an exercise test to determine whether resumption of sexual activity with use of sildenafil is likely to be associated with an increased risk of myocardial ischemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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