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* Reported during post-marketing surveillance only
**Visual colour distortions: Chloropsia, Chromatopsia, Cyanopsia, Erythropsia and Xanthopsia
***Lacrimation disorders: Dry eye, Lacrimal disorder and Lacrimation increased
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product.
Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard
Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via HPRA Pharmacovigilance, Earlsfort Terrace, IRL – Dublin 2; Tel: +353 1 6764971; Fax: +353 1 6762517. Website: www.hpra.ie ; E-mail: email@example.com .
In single dose volunteer studies of doses up to 800 mg, adverse reactions were similar to those seen at lower doses, but the incidence rates and severities were increased. Doses of 200 mg did not result in increased efficacy but the incidence of adverse reactions (headache, flushing, dizziness, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, altered vision) was increased.
In cases of overdose, standard supportive measures should be adopted as required. Renal dialysis is not expected to accelerate clearance as sildenafil is highly bound to plasma proteins and not eliminated in the urine.
5. Pharmacological properties
5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Urologicals; Drugs used in erectile dysfunction. ATC Code: G04B E03.
Mechanism of action
Sildenafil is an oral therapy for erectile dysfunction. In the natural setting, i.e. with sexual stimulation, it restores impaired erectile function by increasing blood flow to the penis.
The physiological mechanism responsible for erection of the penis involves the release of nitric oxide (NO) in the corpus cavernosum during sexual stimulation. Nitric oxide then activates the enzyme guanylate cyclase, which results in increased levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), producing smooth muscle relaxation in the corpus cavernosum and allowing inflow of blood.
Sildenafil is a potent and selective inhibitor of cGMP specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) in the corpus cavernosum, where PDE5 is responsible for degradation of cGMP. Sildenafil has a peripheral site of action on erections. Sildenafil has no direct relaxant effect on isolated human corpus cavernosum but potently enhances the relaxant effect of NO on this tissue. When the NO/cGMP pathway is activated, as occurs with sexual stimulation, inhibition of PDE5 by sildenafil results in increased corpus cavernosum levels of cGMP. Therefore sexual stimulation is required in order for sildenafil to produce its intended beneficial pharmacological effects.
Studies in vitro have shown that sildenafil is selective for PDE5, which is involved in the erection process. Its effect is more potent on PDE5 than on other known phosphodiesterases. There is a 10-fold selectivity over PDE6 which is involved in the phototransduction pathway in the retina. At maximum recommended doses, there is an 80-fold selectivity over PDE1, and over 700-fold over PDE 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. In particular, sildenafil has greater than 4,000-fold selectivity for PDE5 over PDE3, the cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase isoform involved in the control of cardiac contractility.
Clinical efficacy and safety
Two clinical studies were specifically designed to assess the time window after dosing during which sildenafil could produce an erection in response to sexual stimulation. In a penile plethysmography (RigiScan) study of fasted patients, the median time to onset for those who obtained erections of 60% rigidity (sufficient for sexual intercourse) was 25 minutes (range 12-37 minutes) on sildenafil. In a separate RigiScan study, sildenafil was still able to produce an erection in response to sexual stimulation 4-5 hours post-dose.
Sildenafil causes mild and transient decreases in blood pressure which, in the majority of cases, do not translate into clinical effects. The mean maximum decreases in supine systolic blood pressure following 100 mg oral dosing of sildenafil was 8.4 mmHg. The corresponding change in supine diastolic blood pressure was 5.5 mmHg. These decreases in blood pressure are consistent with the vasodilatory effects of sildenafil, probably due to increased cGMP levels in vascular smooth muscle. Single oral doses of sildenafil up to 100 mg in healthy volunteers produced no clinically relevant effects on ECG.
In a study of the hemodynamic effects of a single oral 100 mg dose of sildenafil in 14 patients with severe coronary artery disease (CAD) (>70% stenosis of at least one coronary artery), the mean resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures decreased by 7% and 6% respectively compared to baseline. Mean pulmonary systolic blood pressure decreased by 9%. Sildenafil showed no effect on cardiac output, and did not impair blood flow through the stenosed coronary arteries.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled exercise stress trial evaluated 144 patients with erectile dysfunction and chronic stable angina who regularly received anti-anginal medicinal products (except nitrates). The results demonstrated no clinically relevant differences between sildenafil and placebo in time to limiting angina.
Mild and transient differences in colour discrimination (blue/green) were detected in some subjects using the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 hue test at 1 hour following a 100 mg dose, with no effects evident after 2 hours post-dose. The postulated mechanism for this change in colour discrimination is related to inhibition of PDE6, which is involved in the phototransduction cascade of the retina. Sildenafil has no effect on visual acuity or contrast sensitivity. In a small size placebo-controlled study of patients with documented early age-related macular degeneration (n=9), sildenafil (single dose, 100 mg) demonstrated no significant changes in the visual tests conducted (visual acuity, Amsler grid, colour discrimination simulated traffic light, Humphrey perimeter and photostress).
There was no effect on sperm motility or morphology after single 100 mg oral doses of sildenafil in healthy volunteers (see section 4.6).
Further information on clinical trials
In clinical trials sildenafil was administered to more than 8000 patients aged 19-87. The following patient groups were represented: elderly (19.9%), patients with hypertension (30.9%), diabetes mellitus (20.3%), ischaemic heart disease (5.8%), hyperlipidaemia (19.8%), spinal cord injury (0.6%), depression (5.2%), transurethral resection of the prostate (3.7%), radical prostatectomy (3.3%). The following groups were not well represented or excluded from clinical trials: patients with pelvic surgery, patients post-radiotherapy, patients with severe renal or hepatic impairment and patients with certain cardiovascular conditions (see section 4.3).
In fixed dose studies, the proportions of patients reporting that treatment improved their erections were 62% (25 mg), 74% (50 mg) and 82% (100 mg) compared to 25% on placebo. In controlled clinical trials, the discontinuation rate due to sildenafil was low and similar to placebo.
Across all trials, the proportion of patients reporting improvement on sildenafil were as follows: psychogenic erectile dysfunction (84%), mixed erectile dysfunction (77%), organic erectile dysfunction (68%), elderly (67%), diabetes mellitus (59%), ischaemic heart disease (69%), hypertension (68%), TURP (61%), radical prostatectomy (43%), spinal cord injury (83%), depression (75%). The safety and efficacy of sildenafil was maintained in long term studies.
The European Medicines Agency has waived the obligation to submit the results of studies with VIAGRA in all subsets of the paediatric population for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. See section 4.2 for information on paediatric use.
5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties
Sildenafil is rapidly absorbed. Maximum observed plasma concentrations are reached within 30 to 120 minutes (median 60 minutes) of oral dosing in the fasted state. The mean absolute oral bioavailability is 41% (range 25-63%). After oral dosing of sildenafil AUC and Cmax increase in proportion with dose over the recommended dose range (25-100 mg).
When sildenafil is taken with food, the rate of absorption is reduced with a mean delay in tmax of 60 minutes and a mean reduction in Cmax of 29%.
The mean steady state volume of distribution (Vd ) for sildenafil is 105 l, indicating distribution into the tissues. After a single oral dose of 100 mg, the mean maximum total plasma concentration of sildenafil is approximately 440 ng/mL (CV 40%). Since sildenafil (and its major circulating N-desmethyl metabolite) is 96% bound to plasma proteins, this results in the mean maximum free plasma concentration for sildenafil of 18 ng/mL (38 nM). Protein binding is independent of total drug concentrations.
In healthy volunteers receiving sildenafil (100 mg single dose), less than 0.0002% (average 188 ng) of the administered dose was present in ejaculate 90 minutes after dosing.
Sildenafil is cleared predominantly by the CYP3A4 (major route) and CYP2C9 (minor route) hepatic microsomal isoenzymes. The major circulating metabolite results from N-demethylation of sildenafil. This metabolite has a phosphodiesterase selectivity profile similar to sildenafil and an in vitro potency for PDE5 approximately 50% that of the parent drug. Plasma concentrations of this metabolite are approximately 40% of those seen for sildenafil. The N-desmethyl metabolite is further metabolised, with a terminal half life of approximately 4 h.
The total body clearance of sildenafil is 41 L/h with a resultant terminal phase half life of 3-5 h. After either oral or intravenous administration, sildenafil is excreted as metabolites predominantly in the faeces (approximately 80% of administered oral dose) and to a lesser extent in the urine (approximately 13% of administered oral dose).
Pharmacokinetics in special patient groups
Healthy elderly volunteers (65 years or over) had a reduced clearance of sildenafil, resulting in approximately 90% higher plasma concentrations of sildenafil and the active N-desmethyl metabolite compared to those seen in healthy younger volunteers (18-45 years). Due to age-differences in plasma protein binding, the corresponding increase in free sildenafil plasma concentration was approximately 40%.
In volunteers with mild to moderate renal impairment (creatinine clearance = 30-80 mL/min), the pharmacokinetics of sildenafil were not altered after receiving a 50 mg single oral dose. The mean AUC and Cmax of the N-desmethyl metabolite increased up to 126% and up to 73% respectively, compared to age-matched volunteers with no renal impairment. However, due to high inter-subject variability, these differences were not statistically significant. In volunteers with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min), sildenafil clearance was reduced, resulting in mean increases in AUC and Cmax of 100% and 88% respectively compared to age-matched volunteers with no renal impairment. In addition, N-desmethyl metabolite AUC and Cmax values were significantly increased by 200% and 79% respectively.
In volunteers with mild to moderate hepatic cirrhosis (Child-Pugh A and B) sildenafil clearance was reduced, resulting in increases in AUC (84%) and Cmax (47%) compared to age-matched volunteers with no hepatic impairment. The pharmacokinetics of sildenafil in patients with severely impaired hepatic function have not been studied.
5.3 Preclinical safety data
Non-clinical data revealed no special hazard for humans based on conventional studies of safety pharmacology, repeated dose toxicity, genotoxicity, carcinogenic potential, and toxicity to reproduction and development.
6. Pharmaceutical particulars
Mechanism Of Action
The physiologic mechanism of erection of the penis involves release of nitric oxide (NO) in the corpus cavernosum during sexual stimulation. NO then activates the enzyme guanylate cyclase, which results in increased levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), producing smooth muscle relaxation in the corpus cavernosum and allowing inflow of blood.
Sildenafil enhances the effect of NO by inhibiting phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), which is responsible for degradation of cGMP in the corpus cavernosum. Sildenafil has no direct relaxant effect on isolated human corpus cavernosum. When sexual stimulation causes local release of NO, inhibition of PDE5 by sildenafil causes increased levels of cGMP in the corpus cavernosum, resulting in smooth muscle relaxation and inflow of blood to the corpus cavernosum. Sildenafil at recommended doses has no effect in the absence of sexual stimulation.
Studies in vitro have shown that sildenafil is selective for PDE5. Its effect is more potent on PDE5 than on other known phosphodiesterases (10-fold for PDE6, > 80-fold for PDE1, > 700-fold for PDE2, PDE3, PDE4, PDE7, PDE8, PDE9, PDE10, and PDE11). Sildenafil is approximately 4,000-fold more selective for PDE5 compared to PDE3. PDE3 is involved in control of cardiac contractility. Sildenafil is only about 10-fold as potent for PDE5 compared to PDE6, an enzyme found in the retina which is involved in the phototransduction pathway of the retina. This lower selectivity is thought to be the basis for abnormalities related to color vision [see Pharmacodynamics ].
In addition to human corpus cavernosum smooth muscle, PDE5 is also found in other tissues including platelets, vascular and visceral smooth muscle, and skeletal muscle. brain, heart, liver, kidney, lung, pancreas, prostate. bladder. testis, and seminal vesicle. The inhibition of PDE5 in some of these tissues by sildenafil may be the basis for the enhanced platelet antiaggregatory activity of NO observed in vitro, an inhibition of platelet thrombus formation in vivo and peripheral arterial-venous dilatation in vivo .
Effects of VIAGRA on Erectile Response
In eight double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover studies of patients with either organic or psychogenic erectile dysfunction, sexual stimulation resulted in improved erections, as assessed by an objective measurement of hardness and duration of erections (RigiScan®), after VIAGRA administration compared with placebo. Most studies assessed the efficacy of VIAGRA approximately 60 minutes post dose. The erectile response, as assessed by RigiScan®, generally increased with increasing sildenafil dose and plasma concentration. The time course of effect was examined in one study, showing an effect for up to 4 hours but the response was diminished compared to 2 hours.
Effects of VIAGRA on Blood Pressure
Single oral doses of sildenafil (100 mg) administered to healthy volunteers produced decreases in sitting blood pressure (mean maximum decrease in systolic /diastolic blood pressure of 8.3/5.3 mmHg). The decrease in sitting blood pressure was most notable approximately 1-2 hours after dosing, and was not different than placebo at 8 hours. Similar effects on blood pressure were noted with 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg of VIAGRA, therefore the effects are not related to dose or plasma levels within this dosage range. Larger effects were recorded among patients receiving concomitant nitrates [see CONTRAINDICATIONS ].
Figure 1: Mean Change from Baseline in Sitting Systolic Blood Pressure, Healthy Volunteers
Effects of VIAGRA on Blood Pressure When Nitroglycerin is Subsequently Administered
Based on the pharmacokinetic profile of a single 100 mg oral dose given to healthy normal volunteers, the plasma levels of sildenafil at 24 hours post dose are approximately 2 ng/mL (compared to peak plasma levels of approximately 440 ng/mL). In the following patients: age > 65 years, hepatic impairment (e.g. cirrhosis ), severe renal impairment (e.g. creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min), and concomitant use of erythromycin or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, plasma levels of sildenafil at 24 hours post dose have been found to be 3 to 8 times higher than those seen in healthy volunteers. Although plasma levels of sildenafil at 24 hours post dose are much lower than at peak concentration, it is unknown whether nitrates can be safely co-administered at this time point [see CONTRAINDICATIONS ].
Effects of VIAGRA on Blood Pressure When Co-administered with Alpha-Blockers
Three double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, two-way crossover studies were conducted to assess the interaction of VIAGRA with doxazosin, an alpha-adrenergic blocking agent.
Study 1: VIAGRA with Doxazosin
In the first study, a single oral dose of VIAGRA 100 mg or matching placebo was administered in a 2-period crossover design to 4 generally healthy males with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Following at least 14 consecutive daily doses of doxazosin, VIAGRA 100 mg or matching placebo was administered simultaneously with doxazosin. Following a review of the data from these first 4 subjects (details provided below), the VIAGRA dose was reduced to 25 mg. Thereafter, 17 subjects were treated with VIAGRA 25 mg or matching placebo in combination with doxazosin 4 mg (15 subjects) or doxazosin 8 mg (2 subjects). The mean subject age was 66.5 years.
For the 17 subjects who received VIAGRA 25 mg and matching placebo, the placebo-subtracted mean maximum decreases from baseline (95% CI) in systolic blood pressure were as follows:
Placebo-subtracted mean maximum decrease in systolic blood pressure (mm Hg)
The mean profiles of the change from baseline in standing systolic blood pressure in subjects treated with doxazosin in combination with 25 mg VIAGRA or matching placebo are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Mean Standing Systolic Blood Pressure Change from Baseline
Blood pressure was measured immediately pre-dose and at 15, 30, 45 minutes, and 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 6 and 8 hours after VIAGRA or matching placebo. Outliers were defined as subjects with a standing systolic blood pressure of < 85 mmHg or a decrease from baseline in standing systolic blood pressure of > 30 mmHg at one or more timepoints. There were no subjects treated with VIAGRA 25 mg who had a standing SBP < 85mmHg. There were three subjects with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30mmHg following VIAGRA 25 mg, one subject with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30 mmHg following placebo and two subjects with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30 mmHg following both VIAGRA and placebo. No severe adverse events potentially related to blood pressure effects were reported in this group.
Of the four subjects who received VIAGRA 100 mg in the first part of this study, a severe adverse event related to blood pressure effect was reported in one patient (postural hypotension that began 35 minutes after dosing with VIAGRA with symptoms lasting for 8 hours), and mild adverse events potentially related to blood pressure effects were reported in two others (dizziness, headache and fatigue at 1 hour after dosing; and dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea at 4 hours after dosing). There were no reports of syncope among these patients. For these four subjects, the placebo-subtracted mean maximum decreases from baseline in supine and standing systolic blood pressures were 14.8 mmHg and 21.5 mmHg, respectively. Two of these subjects had a standing SBP < 85mmHg. Both of these subjects were protocol violators, one due to a low baseline standing SBP, and the other due to baseline orthostatic hypotension .
Study 2: VIAGRA with Doxazosin
In the second study, a single oral dose of VIAGRA 50 mg or matching placebo was administered in a 2-period crossover design to 20 generally healthy males with BPH. Following at least 14 consecutive days of doxazosin, VIAGRA 50 mg or matching placebo was administered simultaneously with doxazosin 4 mg (17 subjects) or with doxazosin 8 mg (3 subjects). The mean subject age in this study was 63.9 years.
Twenty subjects received VIAGRA 50 mg, but only 19 subjects received matching placebo. One patient discontinued the study prematurely due to an adverse event of hypotension following dosing with VIAGRA 50 mg. This patient had been taking minoxidil, a potent vasodilator, during the study.
For the 19 subjects who received both VIAGRA and matching placebo, the placebo-subtracted mean maximum decreases from baseline (95% CI) in systolic blood pressure were as follows:
Placebo-subtracted mean maximum decrease in systolic blood pressure (mm Hg)
VIAGRA 50 mg (95% CI)
The mean profiles of the change from baseline in standing systolic blood pressure in subjects treated with doxazosin in combination with 50 mg VIAGRA or matching placebo are shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Mean Standing Systolic Blood Pressure Change from Baseline
Blood pressure was measured after administration of VIAGRA at the same times as those specified for the first doxazosin study. There were two subjects who had a standing SBP of < 85 mmHg. In these two subjects, hypotension was reported as a moderately severe adverse event, beginning at approximately 1 hour after administration of VIAGRA 50 mg and resolving after approximately 7.5 hours. There was one subject with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30mmHg following VIAGRA 50 mg and one subject with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30 mmHg following both VIAGRA 50 mg and placebo. There were no severe adverse events potentially related to blood pressure and no episodes of syncope reported in this study.
Study 3: VIAGRA with Doxazosin
In the third study, a single oral dose of VIAGRA 100 mg or matching placebo was administered in a 3-period crossover design to 20 generally healthy males with BPH. In dose period 1, subjects were administered open-label doxazosin and a single dose of VIAGRA 50 mg simultaneously, after at least 14 consecutive days of doxazosin. If a subject did not successfully complete this first dosing period, he was discontinued from the study. Subjects who had successfully completed the previous doxazosin interaction study (using VIAGRA 50 mg), including no significant hemodynamic adverse events, were allowed to skip dose period 1. Treatment with doxazosin continued for at least 7 days after dose period 1. Thereafter, VIAGRA 100 mg or matching placebo was administered simultaneously with doxazosin 4 mg (14 subjects) or doxazosin 8 mg (6 subjects) in standard crossover fashion. The mean subject age in this study was 66.4 years.
Twenty-five subjects were screened. Two were discontinued after study period 1: one failed to meet pre-dose screening qualifications and the other experienced symptomatic hypotension as a moderately severe adverse event 30 minutes after dosing with open-label VIAGRA 50 mg. Of the twenty subjects who were ultimately assigned to treatment, a total of 13 subjects successfully completed dose period 1, and seven had successfully completed the previous doxazosin study (using VIAGRA 50 mg).
For the 20 subjects who received VIAGRA 100 mg and matching placebo, the placebo-subtracted mean maximum decreases from baseline (95% CI) in systolic blood pressure were as follows:
Placebo-subtracted mean maximum decrease in systolic blood pressure (mm Hg)
The mean profiles of the change from baseline in standing systolic blood pressure in subjects treated with doxazosin in combination with 100 mg VIAGRA or matching placebo are shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Mean Standing Systolic Blood Pressure Change from Baseline
Blood pressure was measured after administration of VIAGRA at the same times as those specified for the previous doxazosin studies. There were three subjects who had a standing SBP of < 85 mmHg. All three were taking VIAGRA 100 mg, and all three reported mild adverse events at the time of reductions in standing SBP, including vasodilation and lightheadedness. There were four subjects with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30 mmHg following VIAGRA 100 mg, one subject with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30 mmHg following placebo and one subject with a decrease from baseline in standing systolic BP > 30 mmHg following both VIAGRA and placebo. While there were no severe adverse events potentially related to blood pressure reported in this study, one subject reported moderate vasodilatation after both VIAGRA 50 mg and 100 mg. There were no episodes of syncope reported in this study.
Effect of VIAGRA on Blood Pressure When Co-administered with Anti-hypertensives
When VIAGRA 100 mg oral was co-administered with amlodipine, 5 mg or 10 mg oral, to hypertensive patients, the mean additional reduction on supine blood pressure was 8 mmHg systolic and 7 mmHg diastolic.
Effect of VIAGRA on Blood Pressure When Co-administered with Alcohol
VIAGRA (50 mg) did not potentiate the hypotensive effect of alcohol (0.5 g/kg) in healthy volunteers with mean maximum blood alcohol levels of 0.08%. The maximum observed decrease in systolic blood pressure was -18.5 mmHg when sildenafil was co-administered with alcohol versus -17.4 mmHg when alcohol was administered alone. The maximum observed decrease in diastolic blood pressure was -17.2 mmHg when sildenafil was co-administered with alcohol versus -11.1 mmHg when alcohol was administered alone. There were no reports of postural dizziness or orthostatic hypotension. The maximum recommended dose of 100 mg sildenafil was not evaluated in this study [see DRUG INTERACTIONS ].
Effects of VIAGRA on Cardiac Parameters
Single oral doses of sildenafil up to 100 mg produced no clinically relevant changes in the ECGs of normal male volunteers.
Studies have produced relevant data on the effects of VIAGRA on cardiac output. In one small, open-label, uncontrolled, pilot study, eight patients with stable ischemic heart disease underwent Swan-Ganz catheterization. A total dose of 40 mg sildenafil was administered by four intravenous infusions.
The results from this pilot study are shown in Table 3; the mean resting systolic and diastolic blood pressures decreased by 7% and 10% compared to baseline in these patients. Mean resting values for right atrial pressure, pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary artery occluded pressure and cardiac output decreased by 28%, 28%, 20% and 7% respectively. Even though this total dosage produced plasma sildenafil concentrations which were approximately 2 to 5 times higher than the mean maximum plasma concentrations following a single oral dose of 100 mg in healthy male volunteers, the hemodynamic response to exercise was preserved in these patients.
Table 3: Hemodynamic Data in Patients with Stable Ischemic Heart Disease after Intravenous Administration of 40 mg of Sildenafil
Means ± SD
After 4 minutes of exercise
In a double-blind study, 144 patients with erectile dysfunction and chronic stable angina limited by exercise, not receiving chronic oral nitrates, were randomized to a single dose of placebo or VIAGRA 100 mg 1 hour prior to exercise testing. The primary endpoint was time to limiting angina in the evaluable cohort. The mean times (adjusted for baseline) to onset of limiting angina were 423.6 and 403.7 seconds for sildenafil (N=70) and placebo, respectively. These results demonstrated that the effect of VIAGRA on the primary endpoint was statistically non-inferior to placebo.
Effects of VIAGRA on Vision
At single oral doses of 100 mg and 200 mg, transient dose-related impairment of color discrimination was detected using the Farnsworth-Munsell 100-hue test, with peak effects near the time of peak plasma levels. This finding is consistent with the inhibition of PDE6, which is involved in phototransduction in the retina. Subjects in the study reported this finding as difficulties in discriminating blue/green. An evaluation of visual function at doses up to twice the maximum recommended dose revealed no effects of VIAGRA on visual acuity. intraocular pressure. or pupillometry.
Effects of VIAGRA on Sperm
There was no effect on sperm motility or morphology after single 100 mg oral doses of VIAGRA in healthy volunteers.
VIAGRA is rapidly absorbed after oral administration, with a mean absolute bioavailability of 41% (range 2563%). The pharmacokinetics of sildenafil are dose-proportional over the recommended dose range. It is eliminated predominantly by hepatic metabolism (mainly CYP3A4) and is converted to an active metabolite with properties similar to the parent, sildenafil. Both sildenafil and the metabolite have terminal half lives of about 4 hours.
Mean sildenafil plasma concentrations measured after the administration of a single oral dose of 100 mg to healthy male volunteers is depicted below:
Figure 5: Mean Sildenafil Plasma Concentrations in Healthy Male Volunteers
Absorption and Distribution
VIAGRA is rapidly absorbed. Maximum observed plasma concentrations are reached within 30 to 120 minutes (median 60 minutes) of oral dosing in the fasted state. When VIAGRA is taken with a high fat meal, the rate of absorption is reduced, with a mean delay in Tmax of 60 minutes and a mean reduction in Cmax of 29%. The mean steady state volume of distribution (Vss) for sildenafil is 105 L, indicating distribution into the tissues. Sildenafil and its major circulating N-desmethyl metabolite are both approximately 96% bound to plasma proteins. Protein binding is independent of total drug concentrations.
Based upon measurements of sildenafil in semen of healthy volunteers 90 minutes after dosing, less than 0.001% of the administered dose may appear in the semen of patients.
Metabolism and Excretion
Sildenafil is cleared predominantly by the CYP3A4 (major route) and CYP2C9 (minor route) hepatic microsomal isoenzymes. The major circulating metabolite results from N-desmethylation of sildenafil, and is itself further metabolized. This metabolite has a PDE selectivity profile similar to sildenafil and an in vitro potency for PDE5 approximately 50% of the parent drug. Plasma concentrations of this metabolite are approximately 40% of those seen for sildenafil, so that the metabolite accounts for about 20% of sildenafil’s pharmacologic effects.
After either oral or intravenous administration, sildenafil is excreted as metabolites predominantly in the feces (approximately 80% of administered oral dose) and to a lesser extent in the urine (approximately 13% of the administered oral dose). Similar values for pharmacokinetic parameters were seen in normal volunteers and in the patient population, using a population pharmacokinetic approach.
Pharmacokinetics in Special Populations
Geriatrics : Healthy elderly volunteers (65 years or over) had a reduced clearance of sildenafil, resulting in approximately 84% and 107% higher plasma AUC values of sildenafil and its active N-desmethyl metabolite, respectively, compared to those seen in healthy younger volunteers (18-45 years). Due to age-differences in plasma protein binding, the corresponding increase in the AUC of free (unbound) sildenafil and its active N-desmethyl metabolite were 45% and 57%, respectively [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION . and Use In Specific Populations ]
Renal Impairment : In volunteers with mild (CLcr=50-80 mL/min) and moderate (CLcr=30-49 mL/min) renal impairment, the pharmacokinetics of a single oral dose of VIAGRA (50 mg) were not altered. In volunteers with severe (CLcr < 30 mL/min) renal impairment, sildenafil clearance was reduced, resulting in approximately doubling of AUC and Cmax compared to age-matched volunteers with no renal impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION . and Use In Specific Populations ].
In addition, N-desmethyl metabolite AUC and Cmax values significantly increased by 200% and 79%, respectively in subjects with severe renal impairment compared to subjects with normal renal function.
Hepatic Impairment : In volunteers with hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A and B), sildenafil clearance was reduced, resulting in increases in AUC (85%) and Cmax (47%) compared to age-matched volunteers with no hepatic impairment. The pharmacokinetics of sildenafil in patients with severely impaired hepatic function (Child-Pugh Class C) have not been studied [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION . and Use in Specific Populations ].
Therefore, age > 65, hepatic impairment and severe renal impairment are associated with increased plasma levels of sildenafil. A starting oral dose of 25 mg should be considered in those patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ].
Drug Interaction Studies
Effects of Other Drugs on VIAGRA
Sildenafil metabolism is principally mediated by CYP3A4 (major route) and CYP2C9 (minor route). Therefore, inhibitors of these isoenzymes may reduce sildenafil clearance and inducers of these isoenzymes may increase sildenafil clearance. The concomitant use of erythromycin or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g. saquinavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole) as well as the nonspecific CYP inhibitor, cimetidine, is associated with increased plasma levels of sildenafil [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ].
In vivo Studies
Cimetidine (800 mg), a nonspecific CYP inhibitor, caused a 56% increase in plasma sildenafil concentrations when co-administered with VIAGRA (50 mg) to healthy volunteers.
When a single 100 mg dose of VIAGRA was administered with erythromycin, a moderate CYP3A4 inhibitor, at steady state (500 mg bid for 5 days), there was a 160% increase in sildenafil Cmax and a 182% increase in sildenafil AUC. In addition, in a study performed in healthy male volunteers, co-administration of the HIV protease inhibitor saquinavir, also a CYP3A4 inhibitor, at steady state (1200 mg tid) with Viagra (100 mg single dose) resulted in a 140% increase in sildenafil Cmax and a 210% increase in sildenafil AUC. Viagra had no effect on saquinavir pharmacokinetics. A stronger CYP3A4 inhibitor such as ketoconazole or itraconazole could be expected to have greater effect than that seen with saquinavir. Population pharmacokinetic data from patients in clinical trials also indicated a reduction in sildenafil clearance when it was co-administered with CYP3A4 inhibitors (such as ketoconazole, erythromycin, or cimetidine) [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and DRUG INTERACTIONS ].
In another study in healthy male volunteers, co-administration with the HIV protease inhibitor ritonavir, which is a highly potent P450 inhibitor, at steady state (500 mg bid) with VIAGRA (100 mg single dose) resulted in a 300% (4-fold) increase in sildenafil Cmax and a 1000% (11-fold) increase in sildenafil plasma AUC. At 24 hours the plasma levels of sildenafil were still approximately 200 ng/mL, compared to approximately 5 ng/mL when sildenafil was dosed alone. This is consistent with ritonavir’s marked effects on a broad range of P450 substrates. VIAGRA had no effect on ritonavir pharmacokinetics [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and DRUG INTERACTIONS ].
Although the interaction between other protease inhibitors and sildenafil has not been studied, their concomitant use is expected to increase sildenafil levels.
In a study of healthy male volunteers, co-administration of sildenafil at steady state (80 mg t.i.d.) with endothelin receptor antagonist bosentan (a moderate inducer of CYP3A4, CYP2C9 and possibly of CYP2C19) at steady state (125 mg b.i.d.) resulted in a 63% decrease of sildenafil AUC and a 55% decrease in sildenafil Cmax. Concomitant administration of strong CYP3A4 inducers, such as rifampin, is expected to cause greater decreases in plasma levels of sildenafil.
Single doses of antacid (magnesium hydroxide/aluminum hydroxide) did not affect the bioavailability of VIAGRA.
In healthy male volunteers, there was no evidence of a clinically significant effect of azithromycin (500 mg daily for 3 days) on the systemic exposure of sildenafil or its major circulating metabolite.
Pharmacokinetic data from patients in clinical trials showed no effect on sildenafil pharmacokinetics of CYP2C9 inhibitors (such as tolbutamide, warfarin), CYP2D6 inhibitors (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants ), thiazide and related diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers. The AUC of the active metabolite, N-desmethyl sildenafil, was increased 62% by loop and potassium-sparing diuretics and 102% by nonspecific beta-blockers. These effects on the metabolite are not expected to be of clinical consequence.
Effects of VIAGRA on Other Drugs
In Vitro Studies
Sildenafil is a weak inhibitor of the CYP isoforms 1A2, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1 and 3A4 (IC50 > 150 μM). Given sildenafil peak plasma concentrations of approximately 1 μM after recommended doses, it is unlikely that VIAGRA will alter the clearance of substrates of these isoenzymes.
In Vivo Studies
No significant interactions were shown with tolbutamide (250 mg) or warfarin (40 mg), both of which are metabolized by CYP2C9.
In a study of healthy male volunteers, sildenafil (100 mg) did not affect the steady state pharmacokinetics of the HIV protease inhibitors, saquinavir and ritonavir, both of which are CYP3A4 substrates.
VIAGRA (50 mg) did not potentiate the increase in bleeding time caused by aspirin (150 mg).
Sildenafil at steady state, at a dose not approved for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (80 mg t.i.d.) resulted in a 50% increase in AUC and a 42% increase in C max of bosentan (125 mg b.i.d.).
In clinical studies, VIAGRA was assessed for its effect on the ability of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) to engage in sexual activity and in many cases specifically on the ability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual activity. VIAGRA was evaluated primarily at doses of 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg in 21 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of up to 6 months in duration, using a variety of study designs (fixed dose, titration, parallel, crossover). VIAGRA was administered to more than 3,000 patients aged 19 to 87 years, with ED of various etiologies (organic, psychogenic, mixed) with a mean duration of 5 years. VIAGRA demonstrated statistically significant improvement compared to placebo in all 21 studies. The studies that established benefit demonstrated improvements in success rates for sexual intercourse compared with placebo.
Efficacy Endpoints in Controlled Clinical Studies
The effectiveness of VIAGRA was evaluated in most studies using several assessment instruments. The primary measure in the principal studies was a sexual function questionnaire (the International Index of Erectile Function -IIEF) administered during a 4-week treatment-free run-in period, at baseline, at follow-up visits, and at the end of double-blind, placebo-controlled, at-home treatment. Two of the questions from the IIEF served as primary study endpoints; categorical responses were elicited to questions about (1) the ability to achieve erections sufficient for sexual intercourse and (2) the maintenance of erections after penetration. The patient addressed both questions at the final visit for the last 4 weeks of the study. The possible categorical responses to these questions were (0) no attempted intercourse, (1) never or almost never, (2) a few times, (3) sometimes, (4) most times, and (5) almost always or always. Also collected as part of the IIEF was information about other aspects of sexual function, including information on erectile function, orgasm. desire, satisfaction with intercourse, and overall sexual satisfaction. Sexual function data were also recorded by patients in a daily diary. In addition, patients were asked a global efficacy question and an optional partner questionnaire was administered.
Efficacy Results from Controlled Clinical Studies
The effect on one of the major end points, maintenance of erections after penetration, is shown in Figure 6, for the pooled results of 5 fixed-dose, dose-response studies of greater than one month duration, showing response according to baseline function. Results with all doses have been pooled, but scores showed greater improvement at the 50 and 100 mg doses than at 25 mg. The pattern of responses was similar for the other principal question, the ability to achieve an erection sufficient for intercourse. The titration studies, in which most patients received 100 mg, showed similar results. Figure 6 shows that regardless of the baseline levels of function, subsequent function in patients treated with VIAGRA was better than that seen in patients treated with placebo. At the same time, on-treatment function was better in treated patients who were less impaired at baseline.
Figure 6: Effect of VIAGRA and Placebo on Maintenance of Erection by Baseline Score
The frequency of patients reporting improvement of erections in response to a global question in four of the randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled fixed dose studies (1797 patients) of 12 to 24 weeks duration is shown in Figure 7. These patients had erectile dysfunction at baseline that was characterized by median categorical scores of 2 (a few times) on principal IIEF questions. Erectile dysfunction was attributed to organic (58%; generally not characterized, but including diabetes and excluding spinal cord injury ), psychogenic (17%), or mixed (24%) etiologies. Sixty-three percent, 74%, and 82% of the patients on 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg of VIAGRA, respectively, reported an improvement in their erections, compared to 24% on placebo. In the titration studies (n=644) (with most patients eventually receiving 100 mg), results were similar.
Figure 7: Percentage of Patients Reporting an Improvement in Erections
The patients in studies had varying degrees of ED. One-third to one-half of the subjects in these studies reported successful intercourse at least once during a 4-week, treatment-free run-in period.
In many of the studies, of both fixed dose and titration designs, daily diaries were kept by patients. In these studies, involving about 1600 patients, analyses of patient diaries showed no effect of VIAGRA on rates of attempted intercourse (about 2 per week), but there was clear treatment-related improvement in sexual function: per patient weekly success rates averaged 1.3 on 50-100 mg of VIAGRA vs 0.4 on placebo; similarly, group mean success rates (total successes divided by total attempts) were about 66% on VIAGRA vs about 20% on placebo.
During 3 to 6 months of double-blind treatment or longer-term (1 year), open-label studies, few patients withdrew from active treatment for any reason, including lack of effectiveness. At the end of the long-term study, 88% of patients reported that VIAGRA improved their erections.
Men with untreated ED had relatively low baseline scores for all aspects of sexual function measured (again using a 5-point scale) in the IIEF. VIAGRA improved these aspects of sexual function: frequency, firmness and maintenance of erections; frequency of orgasm; frequency and level of desire; frequency, satisfaction and enjoyment of intercourse; and overall relationship satisfaction.
One randomized, double-blind, flexible-dose, placebo-controlled study included only patients with erectile dysfunction attributed to complications of diabetes mellitus (n=268). As in the other titration studies, patients were started on 50 mg and allowed to adjust the dose up to 100 mg or down to 25 mg of VIAGRA; all patients, however, were receiving 50 mg or 100 mg at the end of the study. There were highly statistically significant improvements on the two principal IIEF questions (frequency of successful penetration during sexual activity and maintenance of erections after penetration) on VIAGRA compared to placebo. On a global improvement question, 57% of VIAGRA patients reported improved erections versus 10% on placebo. Diary data indicated that on VIAGRA, 48% of intercourse attempts were successful versus 12% on placebo.
One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, flexible-dose (up to 100 mg) study of patients with erectile dysfunction resulting from spinal cord injury (n=178) was conducted. The changes from baseline in scoring on the two end point questions (frequency of successful penetration during sexual activity and maintenance of erections after penetration) were highly statistically significantly in favor of VIAGRA. On a global improvement question, 83% of patients reported improved erections on VIAGRA versus 12% on placebo. Diary data indicated that on VIAGRA, 59% of attempts at sexual intercourse were successful compared to 13% on placebo.
Across all trials, VIAGRA improved the erections of 43% of radical prostatectomy patients compared to 15% on placebo.
Subgroup analyses of responses to a global improvement question in patients with psychogenic etiology in two fixed-dose studies (total n=179) and two titration studies (total n=149) showed 84% of VIAGRA patients reported improvement in erections compared with 26% of placebo. The changes from baseline in scoring on the two end point questions (frequency of successful penetration during sexual activity and maintenance of erections after penetration) were highly statistically significantly in favor of VIAGRA. Diary data in two of the studies (n=178) showed rates of successful intercourse per attempt of 70% for VIAGRA and 29% for placebo.
Efficacy Results in Subpopulations in Controlled Clinical Studies
A review of population subgroups demonstrated efficacy regardless of baseline severity, etiology, race and age. VIAGRA was effective in a broad range of ED patients, including those with a history of coronary artery disease. hypertension. other cardiac disease, peripheral vascular disease. diabetes mellitus, depression, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG ), radical prostatectomy, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and spinal cord injury, and in patients taking antidepressants /antipsychotics and anti-hypertensives/diuretics.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/3/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
I take 25mg on an empty stomach with a tall glass of water at 8:00AM. It takes effect in 15 minutes on the average and out love-making session goes for over an hour every time. – Age 65, Florida
I decided to try a 25mg Viagra pill. I could feel my penis get erect within 15 minutes, getting harder than usual and lasting longer too – YT, Age 45, Nigeria
A full 100 mg. will give you a Ginsu carving knife that, if put to ultimate use, will render her suitable for burial in a Y-shaped coffin. For most of us, 50 mg. is plenty, ensuring that you can return to a deflated state between orgasms, if so desired. But you may have to picture your grandmother naked, to do so.
The effects last 3 or 4 hours, and it takes 30 to 45 minutes to kick in. 25 or 50 mg tabs work the same for me, no difference. Go for it. – Art, Age 62, Texas
I bought a pill cutter at the grocery store and cut a 50 mg pill in half. It worked faster than a 1/2 hour and I had the first complete sexual experience in over 6 YEARS! William, Age 42, Texas
25mg is best for me and I have found that Viagra makes me a super stud and the girl rides me and always has an orgasm or two. – Pablo, 42, Texas
I find that 25 mg two hours prior to sex is best for me, and allows sensitivity, to remain at its peak. When trying 50 or 100,mg, it took away much of the feeling, and you need stimulation to maintain erection. More is definitely not better, in my case. – Phil, Age 60, California
25mg begins to work in about 15 minutes to a half an hour and lasts for 3 hours or so, Able to have an erection and intercourse more than once in a few hours. – Age 65, New York City
My doctor prescribed 50 mg Viagra. Wow. Instant hard on that lasts for a long time. I take 50 mg about three times a week.
I have tried 100mg from time to time but actually seem to do better with the smaller doses. – JR, Age 65
You have to experiment with the dosage and time lag. I started with 50 mg (good to rev my engine, I think) but ultimately found that 25 mg about 90 minutes before sex is ideal for me. Lower dosage means less nasal congestion and more feeling during sex. But 25 mg still leaves me rock hard and able to hold off climaxing just about as long as I want.
I have experimented with dosage and now find that 25 mg about one half hour before sex is perfect for me. I’m rock hard and can go forever.
I have the pharmacist split a 100 mg pill in four for me so I take 25 mg at a time. When I want to go all night I take the full 100 mg.
I cut a 50 mg in half and find that to be enough.
We came at the same time, and boy did I cum. What force! What makes this whole experience ever better is that I only used half of a 50 mg pill.
I started off with 25 mg, and have reduced it down to 12.5 mg (roughly – I split the 100 mg pill to 8) and find that with this reduced dose, I can still have a rock hard erection as well as a greatly reduced headache.
I have since realized I only need 25mg to keep and maintain an erection. But originally, that night, I took 50mg. – Bill, Chicago, Age 42