Here at Maze Men’s Health, we treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in a variety of ways. The most common way to treat (not cure) ED is with oral medications. These drugs are fast-acting, taking anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours for peak effect. Oral medications are also the least invasive way for achieving an adequate erection, as opposed to penile injections or surgery. These medications are available with a prescription and are relatively inexpensive, now that two of them are available in generic form.
Oral medications belong to a class of drug called Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitor (PDE5). They work by dilating the blood vessels in the penis and increasing blood flow to the region, thus facilitating an erection. As a result, it’s important that these medications not be taken with Nitrates (used to treat high blood pressure). The most common and well known PDE5 is Viagra, which was approved by the FDA in 1998 for the treatment of ED. Others include Levitra, Cialis, and Stendra. All work to achieve the same result but have subtle differences that may influence one’s preference.
Although Viagra has been around the longest and is the most well-known, it also has the greatest potential for negative side effects. All of PDE5’s list headaches, flushing, nasal congestion, bloodshot eyes, heartburn, and abnormal vision as potential side effects. Viagra specifically seems to present the most side effects at one time. However, it also tends to have the most potent effects, which is why it remains a popular choice. It’s important to note that Viagra should not be taken with any food (specifically fatty foods) or alcohol, because it will slow down the absorption and reduce the effects of the medication.
Cialis lists the same side effects as Viagra but generally causes patients the least number of issues and can be taken with food or alcohol. Cialis also remains in your system for a long time before being metabolized and builds up in concentration over time. The advantage of this is that it can be taken as a daily medication at a low dose (5mg) for dependable erections without having to keep a pill/capsule in your pocket for when you need it. That said, Cialis tends to be less potent when compared to Viagra.
The last two medications, Stendra and Levitra, are taken on an as needed basis. Like Viagra and Cialis, these have the same side effects listed but are more selective on receptors, therefore they present fewer side effects than Viagra. The main difference between Stendra and Levitra is that Stendra has its peak effect in 15-30 minutes, while Levitra takes up to an hour. These medications also tend to be less potent than Viagra and Cialis at maximum dose.
If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction and would like to learn more about treatment options, contact us to schedule an appointment.