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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2001 Jul;38(1):149-55.

Potentiation of sildenafil-induced hypotension is minimal with nitrates generating a radical intermediate.

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Albert-Ludwigs-University, Institute for Applied Physiology, Freiburg, Germany.


Recently the new specific phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor sildenafil was introduced into therapy for erectile dysfunction. Because of the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor-induced increases of cyclic GMP in the vasculature, vasodilation in various vascular beds is induced, which in combination with various nitrovasodilators (e.g., when used simultaneously for the treatment of coronary artery disease), may lead to excessive hypotension. Thus nitrovasodilators are contraindicated when sildenafil may be used and reports of a number of accidents have recently been published. We therefore studied the acute interactions of glyceryl trinitrate (GTN), pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), and isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN) with sildenafil in six chronically instrumented conscious dogs for each nitrate to assess the magnitude of blood pressure drops (and compensatory increases in heart rate) during a 24-h nitrate administration (infusion into the pulmonary artery). Sildenafil (3 mg/kg) was given orally (after a 24-h fast) 30 min after start of nitrate infusion. GTN, PETN, or ISDN (which follow different steps of metabolic conversion to nitric oxide) were applied at submaximal dosages leading to 90% of maximal coronary artery dilation at 1.5 microg/kg per min, 0.75 microg/kg per min, or 6 microg/kg per min, respectively. During GTN infusion sildenafil caused a maximum drop in mean blood pressure of 21 +/- 3 mm Hg (rise in heart rate from 117.0 +/- 7.2 to 126.0 +/- 6 .0/min) and during ISDN infusion of 18 +/- 3 mm Hg (rise in heart rate from 115.0 +/- 7.0 to 125 +/- 6/min), which was significantly less (p < 0.01) during PETN (only 6 +/- 1 mm Hg with a rise in heart rate from 107.0 +/- 5.0 to 122.0 +/- 7.0/min). When sildenafil is used during exposure to nitrates (e.g., in coronary artery disease), the PETN-induced drop in blood pressure at equi-effective dosages (with regard to coronary dilation) is substantially smaller compared with that of GTN or ISDN, which is probably because of lesser potentiation of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor-induced effects in the arteriolar bed, thus minimizing critical drops in blood pressure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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