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An overview of erectile dysfunction tablets

Aysha

Medically reviewed on October 15, 2019

by Dr. Aysha Butt, Medical director

Dr. Aysha Butt is the Medical Director of FromMars, and is a GP Partner at Woodcote NHS Medical Practice.... read more

Erectile dysfunction is common, so it’s comforting to know the tablets used to treat it work for over 80% of men. But Viagra, which contains the active ingredient sildenafil, is just one treatment available to men living with ED. There are other types of erectile dysfunction tablets that fall under the category of PDE5 inhibitors. And while that abbreviation may sound complicated, we promise this guide won’t be. If you’re new to erectile dysfunction medication or just want advice, this blog post will give you a full breakdown of the merits and purposes of each.

What are PDE5 inhibitors?

PDE5 inhibitors allow blood to flow freely through your vessels and into your penis, which causes an erection. Erectile dysfunction occurs because not enough blood gets pumped into the penis, or the blood that does get pumped in leaves too quickly — often when it matters most. PDE5 inhibitors prevent this from happening.

Viagra is one of the most common PDE5 inhibitors available. Sold as a diamond-shaped blue pill, it has been prescribed to over 25 million men. But while most men have heard of Viagra, it isn’t the only type of erectile dysfunction medication that exists. For men whose bodies do not respond as well to the active ingredient sildenafil, there are prescription-only drugs like Cialis (active ingredient tadalafil) or Levitra (active ingredient vardenafil). 

Tadalafil

Some men like tadalafil because the effects last longer than other erectile dysfunction pills (often up to 36 hours). By this, we mean you should still be able to get an erection the next time you have sex. Being erect for 36 hours straight is dangerous — even an erection that lasts over four hours requires urgent medical attention.

How does tadalafil work?

Tadalafil helps boost blood flow to the penis, which in turn helps you to get hard. Sexual stimulation causes a chemical called CGMP to be released into the penis, which carries blood to the area and causes an erection. A while later, PDE5 is released, which destroys the CGMP and causes blood vessels to return to their normal size. Tadalafil stops PDE5 from doing its job properly, which helps your erection last longer.

Remember though, it will only work if you’re already sexually stimulated.

When should you take tadalafil?

You should take it two hours before you have sex.

What does tadalafil look like?

It’s yellow and egg-shaped.

Vardenafil

Vardenafil is the active ingredient in Levitra, a prescription only ED medication that lasts for up to 4 hours.

How does vardenafil work?

It works by relaxing the arteries in the penis, to enhance the blood flow and help you get hard.

When should you take vardenafil?

Vardenafil can be taken 20 to 60 minutes before sex.

What does Levitra (vardenafil) look like?

Levitra is round and yellow.

Risks – Should I take ED drugs?

While erectile dysfunction medicine is low risk when taken correctly, there are side effects to be aware of. Some men may experience back pain or nausea; others may be more susceptible to body aches or an upset stomach. If you have an existing illness, you must disclose this information to our doctors and they will determine the correct medication for you.

Many of the medicines used to treat chest pains and high blood pressure are similar to those used to treat ED. By doubling your dose, you could see your blood pressure fall to dangerous levels. The impact of this can be nausea, dizziness or fainting. Never take ED medication with nitrates, beta-blockers or blood-thinning medicines unless advised.

Common questions about erectile dysfunction tablets

1. What is the safest drug for erectile dysfunction?

There’s no standout drug for ED because all are safe when taken correctly. Speak to our doctors for advice on dosage and what strength to take, as these will differ per medication. Remember to avoid nitrates and other blood-thinners.

2. Can erectile dysfunction be cured completely?

Erectile dysfunction can be cured by finding the underlying problem causing your ED, but that’s not always the case. A person with type 2 diabetes may never be cured of their ED, but someone experiencing trauma or psychological illness may overcome ED. Sildenafil, or any of the ED tablets mentioned above, are mainly used to treat symptoms.

3. Which works better tadalafil or sildenafil?

The main benefit of tadalafil is that it can last up to 36 hours. In comparison, sildenafil can last up to four hours depending on the strength or dosage. Our doctors will asses your medical history to determine which medication will be best for you.

Can I purchase erectile dysfunction tablets FROM MARS?

Yes, you can. Start an online consultation today and our doctors will determine if it is medically appropriate for you to take ED medication. If approved, your prescription plan will be sent to you within two hours. All of our ED meds are packed in discreet packaging.

Remember, you’re not alone in what you’re going through. Men can experience ED at any age, and over 4.5 million UK men do. However, most men go on to successfully manage their situation, and lead happy sex lives. So, while you may think an erection is out of reach, you’ll be surprised how far medicine has come over the years.