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Erectile Dysfunction Medication Over The Counter

erectile dysfunction medication over the counter

Can You Treat ED with OTC?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) concerns millions of men around the world. In the United States alone, over 30 million men suffer from ED. Men over 70 are more likely to have ED, but even men in their 20s can experience ED.

Fortunately, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can help with this condition.

Types of Treatment

Many treatment options are available for ED management, including:

  • oral medications
  • injectable or suppository drugs
  • medical devices
  • penile implants
  • surgery

Three prescription medications listed as effective by the Mayo Clinic are:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • vardenafil (Levitra and Staxyn)

What Precautions Should I Take?

Again, do not use these ED medications if you take nitrates, such as nitroglycerin or a similar medicine, for chest pain. But there are other situations that may make these medications unsafe as well. Before you take Viagra or one of the others, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to any medications, including other ED medications
  • About any prescription or nonprescription medications you take, as well as any herbal and dietary supplements
  • If you are scheduled for surgery, even dental surgery
  • If you take alpha-blockers for blood pressure or prostate problems. These can lower your blood pressure when taken with ED pills.

Always follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Also, make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain anything you don’t understand. Take these drugs exactly as directed.

Which drug for erectile dysfunction?

What are the differences between erectile dysfunction drugs? About half of men ages 40 to 70 have erectile dysfunction (ED) to some degree, although only one in 10 report a complete inability to have erections. Taking an ED drug produces an erection sufficient to start intercourse in about 70% of otherwise healthy men.

Does it make any difference which of the four drugs for erectile dysfunction you take? "Yes, there can be differences," says Dr. Louis Liou, chief of urology at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston. "For new patients, I have them try different ones to see what works best."

Sildenafil (Viagra) is often the first drug your doctor offers. It's been on the market longest and its side effects and the medications and foods it interacts with are well known.

Erectile dysfunction drugs

Experts feel that treating erectile dysfunction on your own, without consulting a doctor, is unsafe. "If you have ED, the first thing you need is a diagnosis," says impotence expert Steven Lamm, MD, a New York City internist and the author of The Hardness Factor (Harper Collins) and other books on male sexual health. He says men with severe erectile dysfunction probably need one of the prescription ED drugs, which include Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) as well as Viagra. But, he says, mild ED -- including the feeling that "you're not as hard as you could be" -- often responds to natural remedies.

Other treatment options

There are several other treatment options for ED aside from oral medications and supplements. These options include:

  • self-injections - medication is injected directly into the penis
  • alprostadil urethral suppository
  • testosterone replacement
  • penis pump penile implants
  • blood vessel surgery

Before taking any medicine, it is important for a person to talk to their doctor. Currently, herbal medications are not viable treatments due to a lack of regulation and evidence that they work.

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