Erectile Dysfunction Medications - Which Ones Work Best?

If you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED), you might have heard of prescription medications, such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and tadalafil (Cialis).

PDE5 inhibitors work by increasing blood flow to an erection. They’re effective in about 80 percent of men with ED.

Medications for ED

Medications can help you have erections, but it's important to know which ones work best for you. Choosing the right medication for you depends on your lifestyle, sex preferences, and budget.

ED can occur at any age, but it is often more common as men get older. Health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes can reduce the flow of blood into your penis and affect your erections.

The first step is to find the cause of your ED. This may involve a physical exam, tests and referrals to a doctor who specializes in sexual health.

Treatment can include oral medications such as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, which increase the amount of blood that flows into your penis. About 70% of men who take these drugs experience better sex, although results vary from one person to another.

Sildenafil (Viagra)

Fildena 100 (Viagra) is an oral medication that can help treat ED. It works by increasing blood flow to the penis, helping a man get and keep an erection during sexual stimulation.

The drug works by blocking phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), which degrades the molecules that relax smooth muscle tissue. When PDE5 is blocked, Viagra allows the body to send cyclic GMP, which dilates smooth muscle in the penis and increases blood flow to the erectile tissue in the penis.

But before taking Fildena 150, talk with your doctor if you have a heart condition or stroke. This may reduce the effectiveness of the drug or increase your risk of side effects.

Some people who take sildenafil (Viagra) have a higher risk for vision changes, such as blurred or doubled vision, sensitivity to light, or a "blue haze." It's also more common to experience hearing loss. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your provider or go to the emergency room right away.

Tadalafil (Cialis)

Tadalafil (Cialis) is a drug that treats erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; an enlarged prostate). It is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH; high blood pressure in the vessels carrying blood to the lungs), which can lead to shortness of breath, dizziness and tiredness.

Cialis is a member of a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. It works by inhibiting a specific PDE5 enzyme to increase blood flow to your penis during sexual stimulation.

It can take up to 30 minutes for Cialis to start working. That is why it is important to take it at least half an hour before you plan to have sex.

Vardenafil (Levitra)

Vardenafil (Levitra), like Fildena 50 and tadalafil, is a PDE-5 inhibitor. This medication stops PDE5 from constricting the arteries, and it helps nitric oxide to relax the blood vessels in the penis.

When a man is sexually aroused, nitric oxide triggers a chain of reactions that causes the penis to engorge with blood. This engorgement results in an erection.

Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride) is a fast-acting ED medication that works within 60 minutes of taking it. It leaves the system in 4 hours, so it should not be taken for longer than a few hours before sex or intercourse.

The drug is available in tablets that dissolve on the tongue and are quickly disintegrating. It is not recommended to use these rapidly disintegrating tablets if you have fructose intolerance.

Avanafil (Stendra)

When you become sexually aroused, your body releases nitric oxide (NO), which increases blood flow to your penis. This increase in blood flow produces an erection that can last long enough to have sex.

Avanafil (Stendra) is a PDE-5 inhibitor, which means it improves the blood flow to your penis and helps you get an erection. It also helps you stay in a stable erection for longer periods of time.

Stendra is available as a 100 mg or 200 mg pill, taken as early as 15 minutes before you begin sexual activity. It is usually prescribed in conjunction with Viagra or tadalafil.

The most important difference between Stendra and the other ED medications is that it has a higher specificity to phosphodiesterase type 5. This means it is more likely to have fewer side effects than Sildenafil or Tadalafil.