Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Tablets
Overview of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED), sometimes called impotence, is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED is a common condition that affects many men to some degree.
ED affects around 52% of men aged 40-70. However, it is not an inevitable part of aging. Erectile dysfunction has many potential causes, both psychological and physical.
Common physical causes of ED include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
Psychological causes may include:
- Relationship problems
ED can also be caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors. Identifying the underlying cause is an important first step in finding the appropriate treatment.
There are several FDA-approved prescription medications that can help treat erectile dysfunction (ED):
- Sildenafil (Viagra) – Sildenafil was the first oral pill to treat ED. It helps relax blood vessels to improve blood flow to the penis. It’s effective for 4-5 hours and should be taken 30-60 minutes before sex.
- Tadalafil (Cialis) – Tadalafil is another commonly prescribed oral medication that works similarly to sildenafil. It has a longer duration of action, lasting for up to 36 hours. This allows more flexibility on when to engage in sexual activity.
- Vardenafil (Levitra) – Vardenafil is also an oral therapy that blocks an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), which allows blood vessels in the penis to relax. It starts working in 30 minutes and lasts for 4-5 hours.
- Avanafil (Stendra) – Avanafil is the newest oral ED medication. It has a fast onset of action, becoming effective in 15-30 minutes and lasting for 6 hours. Food does not affect its absorption and no restrictions on meals or alcohol are required when taking it.
All of these medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical the body makes to relax smooth muscles in the penis and stimulate increased blood flow. By blocking the action of PDE5, they enable an erection to occur in response to sexual stimulation. These medications are very effective when used properly but they require a prescription and are not suitable for all men with ED.
How ED Medications Work
Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications work by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). This enzyme naturally breaks down a substance called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which regulates blood flow in the penis.
When sexual stimulation occurs, nitric oxide is released in the penis. Nitric oxide activates a signaling pathway that increases production of cGMP. The increased cGMP allows blood vessels in the penis to dilate, increasing blood flow. This leads to an erection.
PDE5 breaks down cGMP too quickly and reduces blood flow, resulting in erectile dysfunction. ED medications inhibit PDE5 to allow cGMP to build up in the penis. The increased cGMP results in increased blood flow and improved erections.
The medications do not cause erections on their own. Sexual stimulation is still needed to initiate the signaling pathway that increases cGMP. But by preventing the breakdown of cGMP, the medications allow erections to occur more easily with sexual stimulation.
The most well-known ED medications – sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) – all work by inhibiting PDE5. This shared mechanism of action allows increased blood flow and erections when taking any of these medications.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications are highly effective for most men when used appropriately. However, there are some differences in effectiveness between the major ED drugs:
- Sildenafil (Viagra) – Studies show Viagra is effective for 80-85% of men with ED when taken in the appropriate dose. It typically starts working within 30-60 minutes and remains effective for 4-6 hours.
- Tadalafil (Cialis) – Cialis has a slightly higher effectiveness rate than Viagra, working for 85-90% of men with ED according to studies. It also has a longer duration of action, remaining effective for up to 36 hours.
- Vardenafil (Levitra) – Levitra is similar to Viagra in terms of effectiveness, working successfully for 80-85% of men based on clinical trials. It starts working in 30-60 minutes and lasts for 4-6 hours.
- Avanafil (Stendra) – Stendra is a newer ED medication that is fast-acting, with onset of action in 15-30 minutes in some men. Studies show it is effective for 80-85% of men. The effects last 4-6 hours.
So in summary, all the major ED drugs are highly effective when used correctly. Cialis may have a slight edge in terms of overall effectiveness rates. But all the medications have success rates of 80% or higher based on clinical evidence. The choice of medication can be based on other factors like onset and duration of action.
While erectile dysfunction (ED) medications like Viagra and Cialis can be effective for improving sexual function, they can also cause side effects. Some of the most common side effects include:
Headaches are one of the most commonly reported side effects of ED medications. They are caused by the medications’ effects on blood vessels, which can induce vascular headaches. Headaches caused by ED drugs tend to be mild and temporary, resolving once the medication leaves your system. If headaches persist or become severe, contact your doctor.
Facial flushing or redness is another common reaction to ED medications. It occurs when the drugs dilate blood vessels, leading to an excess of blood flow under the skin. For most men, flushing is mild and subsides after a few hours. However, for some it can be more noticeable and last longer. Taking medication with food can help minimize flushing for some.
Some people may experience temporary vision changes, such as blurred vision or changes in color perception, after taking ED medications. This is the result of the effect these drugs have on the retina and optic nerve. Vision changes tend to be rare and not long-lasting. If you experience severe or persistent vision changes, seek medical advice promptly.
Muscle aches and back pain have been reported with ED drugs. Researchers believe this may be linked to the effect the medications have on smooth muscles. Back pain from ED drugs tends to be mild and go away on its own. If you have concerns about severe or recurring back pain, talk to your doctor about whether the medication may be contributing.
Let your doctor know if you experience any concerning or severe side effects after taking ED medications. There are often ways to manage side effects or adjust dosing. Most men tolerate ED drugs well, but it’s important to monitor your own reaction. Working with your doctor can help ensure you get the benefits while minimizing unpleasant side effects.
Erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra can interact with many other medications. It’s important to be aware of these interactions before taking ED drugs.
Nitrates are often used to treat chest pain and heart conditions like angina. They work by widening blood vessels to improve blood flow. Taking ED drugs with nitrates can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
Do not take Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra if you regularly use nitrates. Make sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, even those available over the counter. Wait at least 48 hours after using nitrates to take ED medications, and avoid nitrates for at least 48 hours after taking Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra.
Alpha-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure and prostate problems. They work by relaxing certain muscles. When combined with ED drugs, alpha-blockers can reduce blood pressure to unsafe levels.
Using alpha-blockers and Viagra at the same time is not recommended. Cialis and Levitra can typically be used with alpha-blockers, but you may need to start with lower doses under medical supervision.
Some antibiotics like erythromycin and clarithromycin can interact with ED medications and raise the risk of side effects. Do not take Viagra with these antibiotics. Using Cialis or Levitra with erythromycin may require an adjustment in dosage. Always tell your doctor about any antibiotics you are taking before using ED drugs.
It’s important to be aware of any medications or health conditions you have when considering ED drugs. Check with your doctor about potential interactions. Do not alter any dosages or medications without medical guidance. With the right precautions, ED medications can be used safely and effectively.
The recommended starting doses of erectile dysfunction medicines are often lower than the maximum daily dose. Your doctor will prescribe the dose that is right for you, but here are some common dosage guidelines:
- Sildenafil (Viagra) – Starting dose is typically 50 mg taken about 1 hour before sex. Maximum daily dose is 100 mg.
- Vardenafil (Levitra) – Starting dose is 10 mg taken about 1 hour before sex. Maximum daily dose is 20 mg.
- Tadalafil (Cialis) – Starting dose is 10 mg taken at least 30 minutes before sex. Maximum daily dose is 20 mg.
- Avanafil (Stendra) – Starting dose is 100 mg taken about 15 to 30 minutes before sex. Maximum daily dose is 200 mg.
When starting on these medications, it’s recommended to begin with the lowest prescribed dose. This helps your body get used to the medicine with fewer side effects. Your doctor may later increase the dose if needed. But do not exceed the maximum daily dose as that provides no additional benefit and may cause more side effects.
The timing of when to take erectile dysfunction pills is also important. They work best when taken on an empty stomach. After taking them, it requires some time for the medication to be absorbed and take effect. Follow your doctor’s instructions on when to take your dose in relation to sexual activity.
When to Take Them
The timing of when to take erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra is important for ensuring they are most effective. These medications work by increasing blood flow to the penis, which helps you get and keep an erection during sexual stimulation.
You should take erectile dysfunction pills 30-60 minutes before planned sexual activity. This allows enough time for the medication to start working. Viagra and Levitra are faster acting, so you may only need to wait 30 minutes, while Cialis is longer lasting so you may be able to take it up to 6 hours before. Do not take more than one dose per day.
Always follow your doctor’s specific recommendations for when to take erectile dysfunction medications. Taking them at the right time is crucial for them to work properly. Plan ahead with your partner so you can time it right before intimacy.
Discuss with your doctor if you have any questions about the timing or duration of these medications. Be sure to share if you have any other health conditions or medications that could impact the recommendations. Your doctor can provide guidance on when to take erectile dysfunction pills to maximize effectiveness.
Alternatives to ED Medications
For men who don’t want to take ED medications or who find them ineffective, there are other options available. Though not as widely used as pills, some men may find better results from these alternative treatments.
Vacuum devices, sometimes called penis pumps, use suction to draw blood into the penis and produce an erection. A rigid tube is placed over the penis and a hand or battery operated pump creates suction inside the tube, engorging the penis. Once erect, a constriction ring is placed at the base of the penis to maintain the erection. Vacuum devices may be an option for men with neurological causes of ED or following certain surgeries. They may also be used with other treatments like ED medications. However, side effects include numbness, bruising, and ejaculation problems.
Injections of medications into the penis may produce an erection by increasing blood flow. Drugs like alprostadil, papaverine, and phentolamine are injected with a fine needle into the side of the penis. The medications cause blood vessel dilation and smooth muscle relaxation to produce an erection. Though effective, injections can be uncomfortable, need to be properly dosed, and may cause scarring or priapism (prolonged erection).
For men with severe ED who do not respond to other treatments, penile implants may be an option. Implants are either malleable rods implanted in the penis, or inflatable devices with fluid-filled cylinders placed in the penis and a pump implanted in the scrotum. The implants cause an erection either by bending the rods or inflating the cylinders. Though implants have a high satisfaction rate, they involve invasive surgery, have an increased risk of infection, and usually cannot be removed without replacing the entire device.
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes improve mild cases of ED and support other treatments. Quitting smoking, losing excess weight, limiting alcohol use, exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, reducing stress, and improving sleep quality may all benefit erectile function. While not a cure, optimizing overall health can maximize erectile health and responsiveness to other ED therapies. If ED persists despite lifestyle changes, other medical treatments are likely needed.
##Talking to Your Doctor
Having an open and honest conversation with your doctor is key to finding the right erectile dysfunction treatment. Don’t be embarassed to discuss your symptoms and explain how ED is impacting your life. There are many medication options for ED, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Be prepared to try more than one type or dosage of ED medication before finding what works best for you. Let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. Report back on whether the medication helps alleviate your ED symptoms. Also discuss any other health conditions, medications, or lifestyle factors that could be contributing.
Your doctor’s goal is to improve your health and quality of life. The more they know about what you’re experiencing, the better they can tailor a treatment plan. Speaking openly helps take ED from a private struggle to a medical condition that can be treated. Together, you can find an effective and safe way to restore sexual functioning and intimacy.