A Feasibility Study Comparing Pharmacist and Physician Recommendations for Sildenafil Treatment


Tara Symonds, PhD, Pfizer Ltd Global Research and Development, Outcomes Research (IPC160) Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9NJ, UK. Tel: +44 (1304) 641553; Fax: +44 (1304) 658823; E-mail: tara.symonds@pfizer.com


Introduction.  In Europe, pharmacists may be an important first point of contact for men with erectile dysfunction (ED) asking for advice and treatment.

Aim.  To determine if European community pharmacists could appropriately recommend suitability for supply of sildenafil 50 mg for the treatment of ED.

Methods.  For this cross-sectional, observational study, the current Summary of Product Characteristics was adapted to create a study drug information sheet for use in a pharmacy setting in which, for certain patients, supply is not suitable and referral to a physician is recommended. After training and with use of a guidance questionnaire, pharmacists assessed the suitability of supply of sildenafil 50 mg for men presenting to their pharmacy. Men with self-reported ED who were not currently using a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor were recruited. Within 7 days of the pharmacist-patient interaction, a physician with experience in the management of ED telephoned the subject to assess suitability. If there was discordance between the pharmacist and physician recommendations, the case was independently reassessed by a physician specialist in sexual medicine.

Main Outcome Measures.  The primary end point was the concordance rate (with 95% confidence intervals) between pharmacist and physician recommendations. Rates were weighted by country sample sizes.

Results.  Concordance (95% confidence interval) was 0.70 (0.66–0.74) between pharmacist and physician recommendation, indicating agreement in 70% of cases, and was 0.90 (0.86–0.94) between pharmacist and physician specialist in sexual medicine. Furthermore, if the cases in which the pharmacist did not put subjects at risk (i.e., gave an acceptable recommendation) are assessed, the success rate is 83.5% (79.6–87.4%) and 92.8% (90.1–95.5%), respectively.

Conclusion.  Pharmacists were accurate in providing suitable treatment recommendation, generally not recommending sildenafil for men without ED and recommending physician assessment when there was any question about cardiovascular health, other comorbidity, or co-medication. Symonds T, Dean JD, Carr A, Carlsson M, Marfatia A, and Schnetzler G. A feasibility study comparing pharmacist and physician recommendations for sildenafil treatment. J Sex Med 2011;8:1463–1471.