The Ability of the General Male Public to Assess Their Suitability to Take 50-mg Sildenafil: An Assessment of the Comprehension of Patient Information Materials via Internet Survey


Tara Symonds, PhD, Pfizer Ltd. (IPC 340), Sandwich, Kent CT13 9NJ, UK. Tel: +44 1304 641553; Fax: +44 1304 658823; E-mail:


Introduction.  Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common male sexual dysfunction and has a negative impact on masculinity and self-esteem. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, including sildenafil, are the first-line treatment option for ED. Providing appropriate information regarding suitability for using sildenafil is important.

Aim.  The purpose of this study was to assess whether a broad spectrum of men could appropriately evaluate their suitability for 50-mg sildenafil after reviewing patient information materials.

Main Outcome Measures.  Patient information (Pack) on appropriate use of 50-mg sildenafil and patient information leaflet (PIL), a Web survey including demographics, self-assessed suitability for sildenafil use, and suitability screener.

Methods.  A randomly selected, population-representative Web-based panel of males in the UK was recruited for this study. Eligible men answered a brief sociodemographic questionnaire and then were presented with the Pack. If a participant desired additional information, he could also review the PIL. The participants then rated the Pack and PIL (if reviewed), self-assessed their suitability for sildenafil use, and completed a previously validated screener for suitability.

Results.  A total of 1,275 men aged 40 and above were included in these analyses; the mean age was 57.8 ± 9.9 years. A total of 1,054 men reported ED; 517 men (40.5%) deemed themselves suitable for sildenafil; 504 men (39.6%) deemed themselves unsuitable; and 254 (19.9%) were unsure. The concordance rate between screener-assessed suitability and self-assessed suitability was 70.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 68.1–73.7%). When accounting for men who would not take sildenafil even though they were suitable or would seek additional information from a healthcare professional prior to using sildenafil, the concordance rate was 84.2% (95% CI = 82.2–86.2%).

Conclusion.  The results of this study suggest that men in the general population are capable of using written sildenafil patient education materials to accurately assess their suitability for treatment with 50-mg sildenafil. Symonds T, Coyne KS, Margolis MK, and Schnetzler G. The ability of the general male public to assess their suitability to take 50-mg sildenafil: An assessment of the comprehension of patient information materials via Internet survey. J Sex Med 2011;8:2038–2047.