The blue pill (sildenafil) and its descendants: an overview

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An increasing number of men around the world suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). Indeed, according to the sexuality study conducted by Professor Izdebski, 1 out of 10 men in Poland suffers from ED. The problem is found among men of any age, however, 60% of all patients are between 40 and 60 years old, thus in their prime, and who still want to fully enjoy life. Not only do the effects of ED affect a man, but they have influence on his relationship and partner as well. In spite of a growing awareness within society, the problem remains perceived as embarrassing, which leads patients to treat themselves on their own, delaying a visit to their doctors. Meanwhile, in many cases, ED may be the first symptom of more serious diseases, such as diabetes, or result from the sideeffects of applied drugs. A breakthrough in the oral medication treatment of ED was observed when a new phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE-5-inhibitor) - sildenafil citrate (Viagra®) - was introduced. Nowadays, 5 active substances from this group are being applied. The current medical guidelines recommend PDE-5 inhibitors as the firstline therapy for most men with ED, irrespective of the cause and severity of the disease. Recently, sildenafil at the dose of 25 mg came into the market without prescription. This paper presents an overview and update of the PDE-5 inhibitors.

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