The devil is in the details: an analysis of the subtleties between phosphodiesterase inhibitors for erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual disorder with numerous etiologies involving multiple organ systems that leads to significant distress and decreased quality of life for the affected men. Fortunately, there are several modalities and interventions for treating ED. Oral medications, intra-urethral compounds, intracorporeal injections, vacuum-assist devices and surgically implanted prostheses are all part of the treatment algorithm. One of the first-lines and certainly the most widely used options for treating ED is the family of oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5I). The introduction of these medications in the late 1990s revolutionized the field of sexual medicine. Currently there are no guidelines and minimal literature to help providers choose among drugs in this class. This review will address differences in efficacy and side effects between various members of the oral selective phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor class of drugs.