Vardenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction

Author(s): Davide Arcaniolo, Ciro Imbimbo, Marco Grillo and Ferdinando Fusco

Vardenafil is a highly selective phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE‑5) inhibitor approved for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. PDE‑5 inhibition determines the increase in intracellular cGMP in the corpora cavernosa that, in response to sexual stimuli, results in enhanced erections. It has been found to be effective in a high percentage of patients and a broad spectrum of underlying conditions. In particular, a high percentage of men suffering from diabetes, hypertension, patients with cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease, as well as patients with spinal cord injury or depressive disorders, were found to respond to vardenafil treatment. An improvement in sexual function seems to contribute to quality of life and improve satisfaction in couples. The drug’s overall tolerability and safety profile is acceptable, with headaches, flushing, rhinitis and dyspepsia being the major reported side effects. Of particular importance, its tolerability and safety in cardiovascular patients seems to be adequate with no significant increase in cardiovascular events that could be directly attributed to the pharmacologic agent.