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Erectile Dysfunction Medicine

erectile dysfunction medicine

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 anay 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.

But the main challenge to finding the best ED drug for you may turn out to be health insurance rules—not biochemistry. It's a common practice among insurers to limit the number of pills you can obtain per month. After you hit your limit, the out-of-pocket cost for a single pill can be as high as $20. "The main obstacle in my practice is the cost," Dr. Liou says. You'll need to work with your doctor to get the pill you need at a price you can afford.

How long do ED pills last?

The ED drugs break down at different rates in the body. The durations of action range from four hours to more than a day (for Cialis in the higher doses). Each dose should be sufficient to provide a full cycle of intercourse, from erection to climax.

"Will it last through another cycle? It's not guaranteed," Dr. Liou says. To have sex more than once a day, Cialis is your best bet.

Oral medications

Oral medications are a successful erectile dysfunction treatment for many men. They include:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)

Sildenafil (Viagra)

Sildenafil, better known by the brand name Viagra, is one of the most common and widely used erectile dysfunction treatments available today.Originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure, sildenafil was approved as an ED drug in the late 1990s. From its introduction until 2007, Viagra was by far the most widely used erectile dysfunction drug on the market, accounting for 92% of global sales in 2000.

Tadalafil (Cialis)

Developed in the 1990s and approved by the FDA in 2003, tadalafil is a longer-lasting ED drug that provides similar effects to sildenafil.

Tadalafil is better known by the brand name Cialis. With a 17.5 hour half life, tadalafil remains active for up to 36 hours after it's taken, making it the longest acting of the erectile dysfunction drugs available today.

Vardenafil (Levitra)

Vardenafil is another ED drug that works similarly to sildenafil and tadalafil. Like tadalafil, it was introduced in the early 2000s as an alternative to sildenafil with a slightly longer half life, making it a longer lasting ED treatment.

The most common brand name for vardenafil is Levitra. Like sildenafil and tadalafil, vardenafil is available as a prescription medication in most countries.

Which ED Treatment is Best For You?

All three of the ED treatments listed above -- sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil -- are widely used and scientifically proven to treat ED. The main differences between each drug are the amount of time it takes to become effective and the total amount of time it lasts in the body.

Ultimately, the best ED drug for you depends on your needs. If you’re interested in treating ED but don’t know which drug is the best choice, you should speak to an experienced ED doctor to learn more about the potential benefits and side effects of each treatment option.

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