Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem with a prevalence of approximately 50% in men aged 40 to 70. There are several etiologies for ED including vasculogenic, neurogenic, hormonal and /or psychogenic factors; one-fourth of ED cases can be drug-related. Penile erection involves a complex interaction between the CNS and local factors. It is a neurovascular event modulated by psychological and hormonal factors. Pharmacologically, neural modulation and endocrine status are very important to attaining penile erection. There have been several significant advances for the pharmacologic treatment of ED. Treatments include agents that are not only orally effective, but possess either local or central acting mechanisms of action. Apomorphine, a centrally-acting agent, is effective in the treatment of ED. Sildenafil, another orally effective agent, acts by inhibiting cyclic GMP-specific phosphodiesterase Type V. Testosterone can be effective transdermally. Non-orally active agents include alprostadil and papaverine. Phentolamine and trazodone are effective in selected cases. Some agents can interact with other medications. Several pharmacological agents, some with central-acting mechanisms and some with locally-acting vascular effects, are therapeutically useful in the treatment of ED.
The Japanese Pharmacological Society 2002