Sildenafil is indicated in adult men with erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to achieve or maintain a penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance.
The recommended dose is 50 mg taken as needed approximately one hour before sexual activity. Based on efficacy and tolerability, the dose may be increased to 100 mg or decreased to 25 mg. The maximum recommended dose is 100 mg. The maximum recommended dosing frequency is once per day. If sildenafil is taken with food, the onset of activity may be delayed compared to the fasted state.
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.