Top 3 medications for erectile dysfunction are Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to obtain an erection, or to maintain an erection sufficiently hard to have sexual intercourse. It is referred to on occasion as impotence. Most men have problems with erections from time to time.
Erectile dysfunction affects as many as 30 million men in the United States. Its prevalence increases substantially with age. It affects only 4% of men between 50 and 60 years old, but 17% of men between 60 and 70; among men over 75, almost half suffer from erectile dysfunction.
There are a wide range of causes of ED, including stress, aging, lack of exercise, smoking, diabetes and kidney failure.
Reflecting the range of causes, many treatments for ED are available. Some of the more widely used include prescription pills, prescription topical creams, injections, pumps and prosthetic implants. For most men, however, oral medications prescribed by their doctor are the safest and most effective way to treat ED.
Treatments for erectile dysfunction
Given the wide range of causes of ED, the appropriate treatment varies from case to case. Here, we will compare ED medications that are currently available for use in the United States. Get your free samples of top 3 medications for erectile dysfunction!
ED medications taken orally
Oral medications are typically the first line of treatment for ED. For most men, these tend to work well and cause relatively few side effects. Oral erectile dysfunction medications are all known as PDE5 inhibitors. They work by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide, which is a natural chemical produced by the body that relaxes muscles in the penis. The relaxation of muscles in the area increases blood flow, which facilitates erections.
Although oral medications do broadly work in similar ways, they vary in some respects. Some of the differences between them include the potential side effects, how long the effect of the medication lasts, the cost, the dosage necessary to achieve the desired result and the length of time between ingestion and the medication taking effect.
In contrast to many alternative treatment options, the FDA-approved drugs compared below do not cause unwanted erections. People who are sexually stimulated find it much easier to get a firm erection if they have taken Sildenafil, Vardenafil or Tadalafil, but these drugs do not cause erections to arise when they are not wanted.
For new patients, doctors frequently recommend trying more than one ED drug to see which works best for them. However, patients are strongly discouraged from trying to take more than one kind of drug at once. Patients should also be aware that all of these drugs require a prescription.
In order to compare ED medications available, here are three that have been approved by the FDA for oral administration:
Sildenafil (brand name Viagra) has been on the market in the US since 1998. It works well for about 92 – 94% of people. The effects last for approximately four or five hours. It takes about 30 minutes to take effect. It can be prescribed in doses of 100 mg, 150 mg or 200 mg. If you want to, you can delay the effects somewhat by eating a meal. But be careful – if that meal contains a high fat content, you could reduce the effects. Sildenafil is a safe and effective choice for a one-night experience. Some insurers are prepared to cover a regular dose of Sildenafil.
An interesting fact about Sildenafil is that it has positive effects on high blood pressure; in several regions of the world it has been approved as a treatment for arterial hypertension.
Some of the more common side effects of Sildenafil can include facial flushing, headache and indigestion. Less common side effects include altered vision, dizziness and nasal congestion. Sildenafil has also been known to cause blue-green shading in vision lasting for a short period of time.
You should only use Sildenafil as prescribed by your doctor, but millions have used it safely for over a decade.
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Vardenafil (brand name Levitra) works well for about 90% of people. It has been available in the US since 2003. Similar to Sildenafil, the effects last for about four or five hours. It takes effect in just 25 minutes, a little more quickly than Sildenafil. You can delay the effect if you eat a meal that contains a significant amount of fat. Like Sildenafil, Vardenafil is a safe and effective choice for a shorter experience. Some insurers are prepared to cover the cost of Vardenafil as part of a regular treatment plan.
Some of the more common side effects of Vardenafil include facial flushing and headaches. Less common side effects include indigestion, nausea, dizziness and nasal congestion. You should only use Vardenafil as prescribed by your doctor, but millions have used it safely since 2003.
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Tadalafil (brand name Cialis) works well for about 91% of people. It can be taken in doses of 5 mg, 10 mg or 20 mg. This one is very different from Sildenafil and Vardenafil, and is available in two forms.
The first form of Tadalafil has been available since 2003. The effects of the first form last for a gigantic 36 hours! This one is ideal for a special weekend or vacation, though it might be less well-suited to a single night. It’s also helpful that if you have Tadalafil in your system, you don’t need to plan sex with your partner(s); you can enjoy yourselves together at any time up to 36 hours from taking it. It has quite a wide window of time in which it could take effect – this can be anything from 16 to 45 minutes after ingestion. Some insurers are prepared to cover regular doses of the first form of Tadalafil.
The second form of Tadalafil was approved by the FDA in 2008, and it is designed to be taken on a daily basis. This is unique among FDA-approved ED drugs. It means that you are ready to perform whenever you want to be, without having to plan. However, it can take up to four or five days to fully take effect in your system.
A possible advantage of the daily dose of Tadalafil as compared to occasional doses of other drugs is that on average the side effects may be less significant: since the daily dose is smaller, this alleviates some of the dose-dependent side effects that come with a 10 milligram or 20 milligram dose taken on the spur of the moment. However, for patients who need higher doses of medication to achieve a firm erection in the first place, they may be better off taking occasional doses of an ED drug with short-term effects rather than the daily form of Tadalafil.
A further point about the second form of Tadalafil is that currently no insurers will cover its daily use, so patients who choose to fill a prescription for the daily form of Tadalafil have to pay for it out of their own pockets.
Studies have shown that the daily form of Tadalafil also has significant benefits in terms of its effect on urinary function among men with an enlarged prostate; the symptoms it has been shown to reduce include poor urine flow, the need to urinate frequently and urinary leaking.
Unlike Sildenafil and Vardenafil, you can’t delay the effects of either form of Tadalafil by eating.
Some of the more common side effects of Tadalafil include headaches and indigestion. Less common side effects include back pain, muscle aches, nasal congestion, facial flushing and dizziness. One thing to note about Tadalafil is that in the very unlikely event that anything goes wrong, the side effects last much longer than Vardenafil and Sildenafil. You should only use Tadalafil as prescribed by your doctor.
All three medications have the advantage that they do not normally cause an erection at inappropriate times – that is, that they act only in response to sexual stimulation.
Although the list of side effects attached to each drug is long, all of these side effects are relatively uncommon. Moreover, all of these drugs are safe and have been through a rigorous testing process to become FDA-approved. Whether you want a pill every day so you can perform at any time or just a great evening every once in a while, there is a safe ED drug that can help you. Talk to your doctor about which one might work best for your needs.
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Other ED treatments
There are numerous other treatments for ED available, ranging from herbs and topical medications to injections and vacuum pumps. However, oral medications prescribed by a doctor are the safest and most effective first thing to try for people with erectile dysfunction. Consumers should be aware that the FDA cautions men against purchasing supplements or creams over-the-counter, or online remedies that claim to treat ED. This is because studies have shown that these drugs frequently contain prescription medicines or other harmful ingredients.
Why treat erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can have a very substantial impact on all aspects of a patient’s wellbeing. For many men, the ability to obtain and/or retain an erection is a significant part of their identity. Since gender is at the center of many people’s identity, the loss of this ability can evoke a sense of having lost an important part of one’s identity, which can be profoundly upsetting for many patients.
Given that ED tends to be more prevalent among older men, for many people this can feel like an important sign of aging – that of a part of the body weakening and no longer being operational – and is often a cause of major psychological distress as a result.
Obviously, ED can interfere with lovemaking. It should be noted that many patients with ED are able to regain a full and satisfying sexual dimension in their lives, either through treatment or through finding other ways for themselves and their sexual partners to reach sexual satisfaction. However, for many people, ED can be a significant barrier to sexual intimacy as they know it and like it.
Erectile dysfunction can impede greatly on relationships. Although, as above, it can be resolved through treatment, ED frequently causes feelings of inadequacy on the part of the person in question. For the partner(s), it can give rise to the feeling of being unwanted, or not enough to sexually satisfy the person in question, which can be deeply upsetting for many.
Erectile dysfunction can impede on health. Only one in two younger adults and one in four older adults exercises regularly. For many, sex is a substantial component of the aerobic exercise that is obtained on a regular basis. Quite aside from emotional wellbeing, both those suffering from ED and their partners often experience a substantial drop in their fitness as a result of declining sexual activity. Sex is well-known to be among the best forms of exercise for general health, especially for cardiovascular health. In addition, regular exercise is widely acknowledged by medical authorities to be a key contributor to psychological health, physical health, strengthening the immune system and promoting longevity. Therefore the significant reduction in exercise that can often result from untreated erectile dysfunction often causes substantial unrecognized physical and emotional problems beyond the first-order results of the ED itself.
Research and future treatments for ED
Given the huge number of people affected by ED and the profit potential represented by such a large market with a problem patients will pay to solve, a great deal of research is taking place to find drugs and treatments to combat ED. Researchers in the USA are working on gene therapy that involves the injection of a so-called transfer gene into the penis.
A study from the Medical College of Georgia found that venom from the Brazilian wandering spider, which is currently rated by Guinness World Records as the most venomous spider in the world, contains a toxin that causes erections. Scientists believe that blending this substance with any one of a number of ED medications could give rise to an effective treatment.
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