Sexual dysfunction is an important public health problem in men and is associated with reduced quality of life. It is more common in patients with schizophrenia. It is well-established that antipsychotic drugs cause sexual dysfunction with consequences on the quality of life of patients, adherence to treatment, and public health costs. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors) are indicated for the management of erectile dysfunction. However, there is little information on such treatment in schizophrenic patients. This literature review aimed to summarize the current data on the efficacy and tolerability of PDE-5 inhibitors in the erectile dysfunction in schizophrenic patients.
PubMed, PsycInfo and Cochrane databases were searched for studies published until August 2014.
Only 6 studies met the inclusion criteria. Three were randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled trials and three were open studies. Various scales were used to measure erectile and orgasmic function, desire, satisfaction during intercourse, overall satisfaction, quality of life and intensity of schizophrenic symptoms. In the 3 randomized studies (one with sildenafil 25-50 mg, one with lodenafil carbonate 80 mg/j and the last one with tadalafil 10 mg), the rate of participants who completed the trial was high (around 95 %). All three included patients with schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Patients reported significant improvement on sexual dysfunction. However, no statistical difference was reported between lodenafil and placebo, on different scales, suggesting a very important placebo effect in patients with schizophrenia. All three found a good tolerance of PDE-5 inhibitors. Side effects were rare and were mainly nasal congestion, headaches, nausea and dizziness. There were no major side effects or drug interactions. Considering the 3 open studies, 2 involved sildenafil and one tadalafil. All concluded in improved erectile and orgasmic function, desire, satisfaction during intercourse, overall satisfaction, and even the quality of life when it was studied. However, very few patients were included.
Little data are available on the use of PDE5 inhibitors in schizophrenic patients. The 6 studies included few patients which reduces the power and the scope of their conclusions. There is also an important bias due to the use of self-questionnaires. The methodologies of the studies differ in many aspects which limits the comparability. Inclusion and exclusion criteria, drugs used and scales varied among the studies. However, the management of erectile disorder seems to be a consistent target in an integrative approach for the overall well-being of schizophrenic patients. PDE-5 inhibitors appear to be safe and could improve erectile function in schizophrenic patients.
In total, the current data suggest efficiency and good tolerance of the use of PDE-5 inhibitors in schizophrenic patients with erectile dysfunction. However, further studies focusing on PDE-5 inhibitors are needed to more deeply assess their efficacy and safety in patients with schizophrenia.
L'Encephale. 2016 Sep 19 [Epub ahead of print]
L Bacconi, F Gressier
Service de psychiatrie d'adultes, pôle V(e)-VI(e) arr., CHU Sainte-Anne, 1, rue Cabanis, 75014 Paris, France. Electronic address: ., Inserm UMR 1178, université Paris Sud, service de Psychiatrie d'adultes, CHU de Bicêtre, Assistance publique-hôpitaux de Paris, 78, rue du Général-Leclerc, 94275 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.