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Erectile Dysfunction Medications

erectile dysfunction medications

What are oral ED drugs?

The current five oral ED drugs all belong to the same drug class; that is, phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, or PDE-5. Generally they work by blocking one or more of the five different types of the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which in turn prevents the inactivation of certain chemical messengers. This inhibiting action then improves blood supply to the penis. When ED drugs are used along with sexual stimulation, they can produce an erection that is sufficient to initiate and complete sexual intercourse.

What Medications Are Available?

All of these work by relaxing your muscles and boosting blood flow to your penis, making erections easier to get and maintain. They are:

  • avanafil (Stendra)
  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

Caution: Do not use these ED medications if you take nitrates, such as nitroglycerin or a similar medicine, for chest pain. The combination can cause dangerously low blood pressure.

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.

How well do ED pills work?

ED drugs produce an erection sufficient for intercourse in about 70% of men. But the results vary quite a bit from one individual to another. A man with nerves or arteries damaged by prostate surgery, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease will not respond as strongly to ED drugs. "There are some men in whom none of these drugs work,"

How to use ED pills properly

Dr. Liou says that some men come to him after getting a prescription from their primary care doctors, claiming that the drug doesn't work. Sometimes it's because they used it incorrectly. "The biggest misconception is that these drugs are an on/off switch for erections," Dr. Liou says. But the drugs don't work well without sexual stimulation. "During that time, you need to be with your partner and have foreplay," Dr. Liou says. "Don't take it, do the taxes or the dishes, and then meet at the bedroom thinking you'll be ready to go. It's not like that."

Treatment

The first thing your doctor will do is to make sure you're getting the right treatment for any health conditions that could be causing or worsening your erectile dysfunction.

Depending on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction and any underlying health conditions, you might have various treatment options. Your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and will consider your preferences. Your partner's preferences also might play a role in your treatment choices.

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