Mild to moderate erectile dysfunction (ED) affects about half of men in their 50s. As the years pass, that percentage continues to rise. If you have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection, you are not alone—and finding an erectile dysfunction medicine that works for you can help.
In this article, we explain what erectile dysfunction is and compare three medications that treat ED.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a condition characterized by a regular difficulty in achieving and maintaining an erection for the purposes of sexual intercourse. It is normal for men to experience occasional trouble in this regard, but once the problem becomes a regular occurrence, medical advice may be required.
ED can have several causes, both psychological and physiological. While the condition is usually harmless outside of the bedroom, in a minority of cases, it can signal a more serious problem, like heart disease, high blood pressure, or depression.
Seeking medical help is essential in discovering the underlying cause of ED. In some cases, treating the underlying causes is enough to clear up symptoms, making ED medication irrelevant.
What Is the Best Erectile Dysfunction Medicine?
Some patients, however, will require medicine to treat ED. The most well-known medications on the market that treat this condition are known as PDE5 inhibitors—or phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor. PDE5 is a chemical that occurs in the body to signal to the male genitals that an erection is no longer needed. In short, PDE5 inhibitors, keep the body from responding to this chemical signal, making an erection last longer.
The three most common PDE5 inhibitors are sildenafil (commonly known as Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis). Here is a breakdown of how they compare.
For men who only need to use erectile dysfunction medicine occasionally, sildenafil is an excellent starting place. While sildenafil is safe and effective, taking it with food or alcohol can reduce its effectiveness. Wait one to two hours after eating before taking it.
Sildenafil can start working in as little as 11 minutes, but peak efficacy usually takes about an hour to achieve. It remains effective for three to five hours.
Like sildenafil, vardenafil should not be taken with food or alcohol to increase its effectiveness. It should be taken as the need arises and can start working in as little as 14 minutes, with peak efficacy taking about 45 minutes. Vardenafil remains effective for four to five hours.
Sildenafil and vardenafil are excellent for occasional use, but for men who would like to take their erectile dysfunction medicine regularly, tadalafil is the best option. Tadalafil can be taken with food, and begins working in as little as 14 minutes, with peak efficacy taking two hours. Tadalafil stays in the body much longer than sildenafil and vardenafil, helping with erections for as long as 17 hours.
Need to Fill Your Erectile Dysfunction Medicine Prescription?
If you are experiencing ED, speak to your doctor about which medication is right for you. Let us know if we can help you fill your prescription.