The discovery that inhibition of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) reduces the degradation of cGMP, allowing erectile function to occur by relaxation of penile smooth muscle, represents a revolutionary approach or the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Three PDE5 inhibitors (sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil) are clinically available at this time, and extensive drug design efforts are registered for finding agents with a better activity, enhanced selectivity and reduced side effects. Many classes of such compounds have been reported, belonging to diverse chemical entities. The drug design has been very much facilitated after the report of the X-ray crystal structure of the PDE5 catalytic domain in complex with the three clinically used derivatives. PDE5 inhibitor therapy, has been found to be effective in special clinical populations, such as those with prostate cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The duration of action of sildenafil and vardenafil is of about 4 hours, whereas that of tadalafil is of about 36 hours, and the overall safety of the treatments is good. There is a risk of hypotension if nitrates are given concurrently with the PDE5 inhibitors. Common side-effects include headache, facial flushing, nasal congestion, dyspepsia and transient visual impairment. There are pharmacological interactions between these drugs and other medications metabolized by the cytochrome P450 (P3A4 isoform), such as the azole antifungals, erythromycin and the HIV protease inhibitors.