New directions for erectile dysfunction therapies

Karl Erik Andersson, P. Hedlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research in the field of erectile function and dysfunction has continued to expand rapidly. Based on the information available, some directions for future erectile dysfunction therapies can be identified. The first direction is improvement of current therapeutic principles. A second generation of orally active phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors is being introduced, and further developments within this field can be expected. The recent introduction of apomorphine has opened the way for new dopamine receptor agonists. The second direction is combinations of existing therapeutic principles. Combinations of apomorphine and sildenafil and apomorphine and α1-adrenoceptor (AR) antagonists, for example, seem attractive and may have a therapeutic potential in patients not responding satisfactorily to single-drug treatment. Nitrosylated α1-AR antagonists, combining nitric oxide donation and α1- or α2-AR antagonism, are currently being evaluated. The third direction is new targets within the central nervous system. Melanocortin receptor agonists have shown promise not only in animal models, but also in preliminary studies in humans. Other possible targets, such as growth hormone-releasing peptide receptors, are being explored. The fourth direction is new peripheral targets. Rho-kinase antagonism and non-nitric oxide-mediated stimulation of soluble guanylyl cyclase have been suggested as possible new principles for drug development. The fourth direction is gene therapy. Progress has been made in intracavernosal somatic gene therapy and will probably continue. Still, problems remain, and advantages over conventional pharmacological therapies have to be demonstrated. The final direction is prevention strategies. Strategies to prevent cavernosal degeneration and/or to restore cavernosal function will be one of the most exciting challenges for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S82-S92
JournalInternational Journal of Impotence Research
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Combination therapy
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Gene therapy
  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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