All pills we offer work by relaxing your muscles and boosting blood flow to your penis, making erections easier to get and maintain.
Some men with erectile dysfunction, or ED, find they can return to an active sex life by treating an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, or with counseling and lifestyle changes. But others find they may need medication to get and keep an erection.
The FDA has approved several prescription drugs you take orally to treat ED. All of these work by relaxing your muscles and boosting blood flow to your penis, making erections easier to get and maintain.
What are the most commonly used ED drugs about?
Although they work in similar ways, each oral medication has a slightly different chemical makeup. These minor differences affect the way each medication works, such as how quickly it takes effect and wears off, and the potential side effects.
- Sildenafil (Viagra). This medication is most effective when taken on an empty stomach one hour before sex. It’s effective for four to five hours or more if you have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
- Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn). This medication also is most effective when taken one hour before sex and can be taken with or without food. A high-fat meal might keep it from absorbing as quickly. Vardenafil is effective for four to five hours or more if you have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. A newer form of the drug that dissolves on the tongue might work faster than the pill that you swallow.
- Tadalafil (Cialis). This medication is taken with or without food about one to two hours before sex. It’s effective for up to 36 hours. It can be taken in a small dose daily or in a larger dose as needed.
- Avanafil (Stendra). This medication is taken with or without food 30 minutes before sex, depending on the dose. It lasts up to six hours.
Because these drugs are similarly effective, the American College of Physicians recommends that the choice be based on your preferences, including cost, ease of use, how long the drug’s effects last and side effects. There are generic versions of sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil available.
Are there differences between them?
These medications all work similarly to each other. However, there are subtle differences in how long they stay effective and how quickly they begin to work.
Levitra takes about 30 minutes to start working and the effects last a little longer than Viagra, about 5 hours.
Staxyn dissolves in your mouth. It contains the same active ingredient as Levitra and can begin working in about 15 minutes.
Viagra takes around 30 minutes to become effective and lasts about 4 hours.
Cialis lasts much longer — up to 36 hours in some cases.
Stendra can start doing its thing in as little as 15 minutes, and its effects last up to 6 hours.
Can I make a switch?
Yes. You may find that one works better for your schedule or that there are differences in the side effects for you. But these medications work the same basic way, so you’ll have similar results.
What precautions should I take?
Again, do not use these ED medications if you take nitrates, such as nitroglycerin or a similar medicine, for chest pain. But there are other situations that may make these medications unsafe as well. Before you take Viagra or one of the others, tell a doctor:
- If you are allergic to any medications, including other ED medications.
- About any prescription or nonprescription medications you take, as well as any herbal and dietary supplements.
- If you are scheduled for surgery, even dental surgery.
- If you take alpha-blockers for blood pressure or prostate problems. These can lower your blood pressure when taken with ED pills.
Always follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Also, make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain anything you don’t understand. Take these drugs exactly as directed.
To ask any additional questions concerning the medications for treating erectile dysfunction, please contact us by filling out this form.