Introduction. Vardenafil is a potent and selective phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor developed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Fixed-dose and flexible-dose studies have previously established the efficacy and tolerability of vardenafil.
Aim. To assess, besides the usual measures of efficacy, the quality of erection, satisfaction with the sexual experience, symptoms of depression, and overall confidence.
Methods. This 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled flexible-dose study assessed patients from the general ED population. Patients underwent a 4-week treatment-free period before randomization to vardenafil or matching placebo. Initial dosage was vardenafil 10 mg for 4 weeks. At 4 weeks, patients could switch to 5 or 20 mg (or corresponding placebo), or remain on 10 mg for an additional 4 weeks; dose switching was also optional for the last 4 weeks. This paper describes per-patient success in satisfaction with hardness of erection, satisfaction with overall sexual experience, effect on overall self-confidence, and an assessment of symptoms of depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.
Results. Mean per-patient satisfaction rates with erection hardness increased after vardenafil treatment to 43%, 59%, and 63% at weeks 4, 8, and 12, respectively, compared to placebo with 10%, 21%, and 23% (all P < 0.005 vs. placebo). Vardenafil also improved mean per-patient overall satisfaction 50–65% over the 4–12 week study period compared with 17–28% for placebo (P < 0.005). Symptoms of depression were statistically significantly reduced compared to placebo (P = 0.02); the effect was observed particularly in patients who were depressed at baseline (P = 0.01). Significantly more patients in the vardenafil treatment group reported improved self-confidence than those who received placebo (P < 0.005).
Conclusions. A flexible-dose regimen of vardenafil improved satisfaction rates, symptoms of depression, and self-confidence, providing patients with an effective ED therapy that contributes to overall improvements in sexual function and confidence.