Sildenafil therapy and exercise tolerance in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Robert M. Jackson, Marilyn K. Glassberg, Carol F. Ramos, Pablo A. Bejarano, Ghazwan Butrous, Orlando Orlando Gómez-Marín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a form of idiopathic interstitial pneumonia characterized by temporally and spatially heterogeneous fibroblast proliferation and poor prognosis. No therapies have been shown in randomized clinical trials (RCT) to influence survival. Twenty-nine subjects were assigned randomly in a pilot study to a double-blind, placebo-controlled, RCT to test sildenafil in patients with IPF with forced vital capacity 40-90% and diffusing capacity 30-90% of predicted. During the 6-month experimental treatment period, patients underwent 6-min walk tests and estimation of dyspnea using the Borg scale at baseline (0 months), 3 months, and 6 months. Participants had moderate impairment of pulmonary function, and there were no significant differences between placebo (n = 15) and sildenafil (n = 14)-treated groups. Sildenafil did not significantly increase 6-min walk test distance (mean distance ± SD after 6-month protocol: placebo 355 ± 82 m, sildenafil 324 ± 41 m; p = 0.256) nor did it lessen dyspnea after exercise (mean Borg score after 6-month protocol: placebo 3.4 ± 1.6, sildenafil 4.1 ± 2.3; p = 0.492). Adverse reactions were few and minor in nature. In this trial, sildenafil did not significantly increase 6-min walk test distance or decrease the Borg dyspnea index in patients with clinically typical IPF. This trial was registered at as NCT00359736.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Sildenafil
  • Vasodilator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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