Open Access Research article

Oral sildenafil (Viagra™) in male erectile dysfunction: use, efficacy and safety profile in an unselected cohort presenting to a British district general hospital.

Krishnamurthy Sairam1*, Elena Kulinskaya2, Damian Hanbury1, Gregory Boustead1 and Thomas McNicholas1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, Lister Hospital Coreys Mill Lane, Stevenage SG1 4AB, UK

2 Reader in Medical Statistics, Health Reasearch & Development Support Unit (HRDSU) Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK

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BMC Urology 2002, 2:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-2-4

Published: 18 April 2002



Sildenafil (Viagra®) is one of the drugs used in the first line therapy of male erectile dysfunction (MED). We have recorded outcomes, adverse events and acceptability of Sildenafil (Viagra) therapy in an unselected group of men presenting with ED to a British district general hospital.


In this prospective observational study, 147 men with ED were seen since Oct 1999. Study patients were reviewed at 4, 12 and 52 weeks. All the patients filled the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire and were asked about their willingness to pay (WTP) for treatment.


All suitable men accepted Viagra as first line therapy. 91% of our patients found sildenafil treatment successful. 80% of these patients were willing to continue with sildenafil therapy. Side effect profile of sildenafil was different in this study with much higher incidence of headache, dyspepsia, flushing and abnormal vision. 92% of men with ED expect to be treated by the NHS. Of those men eligible for treatment in the NHS, 30% qualify under the clinical categories and 18% under the 'distress' category. Only 55% of those with cardiovascular risk factors qualify for NHS treatment.


Sildenafil is widely accepted as first line therapy among British men with ED and has a success rate of 91%. Nearly half of men with ED qualify for NHS treatment. Nearly half of those with vascular risk factors do not qualify for NHS treatment. Most men with ED could possibly be managed in primary care.