Sildenafil (Page 3 of 7)


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

Limited published data from randomized controlled trials, case-controlled trials, and case series do not report a clear association with sildenafil and major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes when sildenafil is used during pregnancy. There are risks to the mother and fetus from untreated pulmonary arterial hypertension (see Clinical Considerations). Animal reproduction studies conducted with sildenafil showed no evidence of embryo-fetal toxicity or teratogenicity at doses up to 32- and 65-times the recommended human dose (RHD) of 20 mg three times a day in rats and rabbits, respectively (see Data).

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-Associated Maternal and/or Embryo/Fetal Risk

Pregnant women with untreated pulmonary arterial hypertension are at risk for heart failure, stroke, preterm delivery, and maternal and fetal death.


Animal Data

No evidence of teratogenicity, embryotoxicity, or fetotoxicity was observed in pregnant rats or rabbits dosed with sildenafil 200 mg/kg/day during organogenesis, a level that is, on a mg/m 2 basis, 32- and 65-times, respectively, the recommended human dose (RHD) of 20 mg three times a day. In a rat pre- and postnatal development study, the no-observed-adverse-effect dose was 30 mg/kg/day (equivalent to 5-times the RHD on a mg/m 2 basis).

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Limited published data from a case report describe the presence of sildenafil and its active metabolite in human milk. There is insufficient information about the effects of sildenafil on the breastfed infant and no information on the effects of sildenafil on milk production. Limited clinical data during lactation preclude a clear determination of the risk of sildenafil to an infant during lactation.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and efficacy of sildenafil have been established in pediatric patients 1 to 17 years old, for the treatment of PAH (WHO Group I) to improve exercise ability and, in patients too young to perform standard exercising testing, pulmonary hemodynamics thought to underly improvements in exercise Use of sildenafil for this indication is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies in adults with additional PK and safety data in pediatric patients aged 1 year and older [see Adverse Reactions ( 6.1), Clinical Studies ( 14)]. The safety and effectiveness of sildenafil have not been established in pediatric patients younger than 1 year of age.

During the conduct of the pediatric studies (STARTS-1 and STARTS-2) [see Clinical Studies ( 14)] , an imbalance in the number of deaths was noted: 5/55 (9.1%), 10/74 (13.5%), and 22/100 (22%) in the sildenafil low, medium, and high dose groups, respectively. The causes of death were related to the progression of PAH. This safety observation in pediatrics was not confirmed in a study conducted in adults designed to evaluate this risk (Study A1481324). Given the beneficial effects on clinical worsening and death observed in adults with increasing doses (Study A1481324) and the expected similarity of disease in pediatrics and adults, a causal association for the observed dose-related effect on mortality in pediatric patients is unlikely, and therefore, the available data support dosing in pediatric patients >45 kg up to a maximum of 40 mg three times a day.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of sildenafil did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)].

8.6 Patients with Hepatic Impairment

No dose adjustment for mild to moderate impairment is required. Severe impairment has not been studied [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)].

8.7 Patients with Renal Impairment

No dose adjustment is required (including severe impairment CLcr <30 mL/min) [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)].


In studies with healthy volunteers of single doses up to 800 mg, adverse events were similar to those seen at lower doses but rates and severities were increased.

In cases of overdose, standard supportive measures should be adopted as required. Renal dialysis is not expected to accelerate clearance as sildenafil is highly bound to plasma proteins and it is not eliminated in the urine.


Sildenafil tablet, phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitor, is the citrate salt of sildenafil, a selective inhibitor of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-specific phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5). Sildenafil is also marketed as VIAGRA ® for erectile dysfunction.

Sildenafil citrate, USP is designated chemically as 1-[[3-(6,7-Dihydro-1-methyl-7-oxo-3-propyl-1 H -pyrazolo[4,3- d ] pyrimidin-5-yl)-4-ethoxyphenyl]sulfonyl]-4-methylpiperazine citrate and has the following structural formula:

(click image for full-size original)

Sildenafil citrate, USP is a white to off white crystalline powder slightly soluble in methanol and a molecular weight of 666.70.

Sildenafil tablets are formulated as white to off white, film coated, round tablets for oral administration. Each tablet contains sildenafil citrate, USP equivalent to 20 mg of sildenafil. In addition to the active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, USP, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, dibasic calcium phosphate anhydrous, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, titanium dioxide and triacetin.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Sildenafil is an inhibitor of cGMP specific PDE-5 in the smooth muscle of the pulmonary vasculature, where PDE-5 is responsible for degradation of cGMP. Sildenafil, therefore, increases cGMP within pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells resulting in relaxation. In patients with PAH, this can lead to vasodilation of the pulmonary vascular bed and, to a lesser degree, vasodilatation in the systemic circulation.

Studies in vitro have shown that sildenafil is selective for PDE5. Its effect is more potent on PDE5 than on other known phosphodiesterases (10-fold for PDE6, greater than 80-fold for PDE1, greater than 700-fold for PDE2, PDE3, PDE4, PDE7, PDE8, PDE9, PDE10, and PDE11). The approximately 4,000-fold selectivity for PDE-5 versus PDE3 is important because PDE3 is involved in control of cardiac contractility. Sildenafil is only about 10 times as potent for PDE5 compared to PDE6, an enzyme found in the retina and involved in the phototransduction pathway of the retina. This lower selectivity is thought to be the basis for abnormalities related to color vision observed with higher doses or plasma levels [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.2)].

In addition to pulmonary vascular smooth muscle and the corpus cavernosum, PDE5 is also found in other tissues including vascular and visceral smooth muscle and in platelets. The inhibition of PDE5 in these tissues by sildenafil may be the basis for the enhanced platelet antiaggregatory activity of nitric oxide observed in vitro , and the mild peripheral arterial-venous dilatation in vivo

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