Medication For Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a devastating situation for any man to experience. About one out of every two or one half of men ages 40 to 70 will have some degree of ED with about one in 10 who will have a complete inability to have an erection. 

Fortunately, there are medications designed to help a man achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.  Currently, there are four different ED drugs on the market that a doctor can choose from in which to prescribe to a man with ED. 

It can be challenging for some men to find the right ED medication that not only works for the desired result of what he is trying to achieve but also one in which his medical insurance will cover.  Men need to discuss with their doctor which ED medication is right for him and will help him the most in getting an erection for sex. 

What ED medications are available?

At this time there are four medications approved by the Food and Drug Administraion (FDA) in the United States – Viagra, Cialis, Stendra, and Levitra.  Each of the medications come in a pill form that improve blood flow to the penis that when in conjunction with sexual stimulation can help a man achieve and maintain an erection to have sex.  Levitra does have a fast-dissolving form called Staxyn that is put under the tongue.

Cialis has been FDA approved to provide doses of 2.5 or 5 milligrams that help to produce erections on demand.  This same drug can help a man who is experiencing difficulty starting a urine flow due to having an enlarged prostate.

Is one ED medication better than the others?

Each of the ED drugs available is effective in about 70% of the men who use them.  But each man is unique – some men may have had arteries or nerves damaged by prostate surgery, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease making it difficult for them to respond as well to an ED medication. 

It is really a matter of a man and his doctor researching each medication to see which one is the best choice.

Depending on the ED medication, they take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes to work.  Some like Viagra and Levitra will not work at all if they are taken right after a meal as their absorption is blocked.  The best ED drugs working better “on demand” are Cialis and Stendra while the others will require more planning.

How to use ED medications

The main thing for men to know about getting the results they want from an ED medication is that they do not act like a light switch.  In other words, a man simply doesn’t take one and then can expect to get an erection right away.  Without sexual stimulation, the drugs do not work well.  There needs to be foreplay and a partner in order for a man to achieve the erection he needs for sexual intercourse.

Most of the ED drugs available will have a duration of action from four hours to more than a day with Cialis being the best one offering a man the possibility of having sex more than once a day. 

What side effects can they have?

There are and can be side effects from using an ED drugs.  The most common side effects include the following:

·         Headaches

·         Flushing

·         Upset stomach

·         Nasal congestion

·         Urinary tract infections

·         Vision problems

·         Diarrhea

·         Dizziness

·         Rash

·         An erection lasting more than four hours – in this case, a man needs to go to a hospital or will risk permanent damage

Certain ED medications can have their own particular side effects:

·         Cialis can possibly produce backaches and muscle aches

·         Levitra and Viagra have been associated with blue-tinged vision

·         Stendra has been shown in lab test to be the least likely of the ED medications to cause any side effects

Any man who is taking nitrates for cardiovascular issues should not take ED drugs.  ED drugs can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.  Alpha blockers taken for urinary symptoms are another medication that can lower blood pressure and they need to be taken at least four hours apart from ED drugs.

Take home message

Choosing an ED medication is really a matter of which one will best produce the desired results a man is seeking with as few of side effects as possible, one that does not interact with other medications he is taking, and one his medical insurance covers the most.