Medications for Erectile Dysfunction

Oral medications are a proven treatment for erectile dysfunction. For most men who have trouble keeping an erection, Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis work well and cause few side effects. All three medications result in successful penetrative sex!

The Viagra revolution started by accident. Researchers were optimistic that the new drug sildenafil, can alleviate symptoms of angina pectoris. Unfortunately, the medication did not produce the wanted result. But there was a curious side effect. When the male participants in the trials didn’t return all of the samples, doctors found out about the pronounced side-effect: erections. And the rest is history. Today Viagra is often the first drug the doctor offers. It’s been on the market longest and its side effects and the medications and foods it interacts with are well known. But it’s not the only one.

Erectile dysfunction is a regular difficulty in getting an erection. It’s normal for men, occasionally to have problems. But when successful erections become the exception rather than the rule, that can be a sign something is going on. Impotence can be a warning sign of an undiagnosed health condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or depression.

Maybe there’s another cause, such as being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, certain medications, and stress. Treating those causes may well improve your ED without the need for medications. But even if they aren’t easily reversible, medications for impotence are safe, available, and effective in 70% of cases.

What are PDE5 inhibitors? 

About 50 percent of men older than 40, to some degree have experienced erectile dysfunction. What’s happening with them? For an erection to happen, a chemical called nitric oxide acts as a neurotransmitter to the tissues of the penis, which relaxes and fills with blood. The erection is ended by another messenger, PDE5 (phosphodiesterase-5). Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra belong to a class of drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors. They function by slowing the “off switch”, helping the erection last long enough for satisfying sex.

Successful Penetrative Sex

Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis have all been proven to be safe and effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. There are no studies that directly compare them against each other, but a systematic review and meta-analysis of a few hundred studies found that all three medications result in successful penetrative sex in 65% to 80% of users with ED (compared to 30% with a sugar pill).

  • Viagra (sildenafil)can take effect in 11 minutes. Usually, the maximum effect is achieved after an hour. An erection can be sustained for up to 5 hours. It shouldn’t be taken with food. Ideally, you should wait 1 to 2 hours after eating before taking it. Fatty meals and alcohol can interfere with the effects of Viagra. The starting dose is 50 mg. If side effects appear, it can be cut down to 25 mg. If it’s not working fully, it can be increased to 100 mg.
  • Cialis (tadalafil) Cialis stays in the body for 17 hours, creating a large time window, in which an erection can be achieved. It can start working in as quickly as 14 minutes, but you’ll have to wait 2 hours for it to reach the point when it’s most effective. Cialis is unaffected by food. It can be taken only when you need it, or regularly, every day. The typical starting dose of Cialis for occasional use is 10 mg. It can be dropped to 5 mg or upped to 20 mg depending on how you respond. The daily dose for regular use is 2.5 mg.
  • Levitra (vardenafil)It can start working in as quickly as 14 minutes and reaches maximum effect after around 45 minutes. Then, it will keep working for 4 to 5 hours. Like Viagra, Levitra shouldn’t be taken with food. Ideally, you should wait 1 to 2 hours after eating before taking it, but if that’s not possible, stick to a light, low-fat meal. The normal dose is 10 mg. It can be lowered to 5 mg or increased to 20 mg.

Negligible Side Effects

Overall, users are not bothered by the side effects of these medications, most of which do not last very long. With Viagra, there is a higher risk of vision changes. Cialis has a slightly higher risk of muscle pain.

The most common side effects of all PDE5 inhibitors are:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Flushing
  • Vision changes
  • Nasal congestion

PDE5 inhibitors lower blood pressure. A side effect that could be a problem, if you also happen to be taking blood pressure medication. The greatest danger is with nitrate medications such as nitroglycerin. If you take a nitrate drug, for angina or high blood pressure, you must never use Viagra, Cialis, or any similar medication.

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