ED meds - what are the differences?
Do you have Erectile Dysfunction (ED)? Did you know that there are a few varieties of ED meds you can take orally? ED medications include Viagra(sildenafil), Cialis(tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil), Staxyn(vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil).
Do you know which one of these ED medications is best for your needs? We listed some of the similarities and differences between these medications that might help you and your doctor decide.
How are these medications similar? They are all taken by mouth (orally) and usually in a tablet form. They all work by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. This muscle relaxation allows blood flow to increase and allows you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation. None of these medications should be used if you take nitrates such as nitroglycerin or a similar medication for chest pain. The combination can cause dangerously low blood pressure.
How are they different? Each of these oral medications has a slightly different chemical ingredient which can affect the way it works. For example, how quickly the medication starts working, how long it lasts, and other potential side effects. Your physician, before prescribing, will consider these differences along with the details of your condition and possible drug interactions.
Sildenafil should be taken on an empty stomach for it to have the quickest onset of action – usually about an hour before sex. It is effective for four or five hours or more if you have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
This medication is also most effective when taken one hour before intercourse. It can be taken with or without food, but high fat meals can slow down absorption. This medication is also effective for mild to moderate ED. Vardenafil tends to last a little longer than sildenafil.
The newer form of this medication (Staxyn) which dissolves under the tongue may work faster compared to swallowing a pill.
Tadalafil is the most popular ED medication available (sildenafil is a close second). Tadalafil can be taken with or without food. It can take a little longer to have an effect – up to two hours. However, this medication is effective for up to 36 hours. This medication is often taken at as a smaller daily dose but can also be taken as a larger dose on an as needed basis.
Stendra is the latest addition to the market and can be taken with or without food, 30 minutes before sexual intercourse. This medication is the fastest working of all the ED medications available currently. It can last up to 6 hours.
Generic versions of sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil are available at a cost savings compared to branded medications. Many prefer the branded products even though the active ingredients are the same.
Which ED medication can I use with less to no planning? Stendra or daily use of Cialis would be the closest to an “on demand” erectile medication. The other medications do require a little planning.
What are the most common side effects when taking ED meds? Common side effects in order of most common to least common are headache, flushing, upset stomach, nasal congestion, vision problems, diarrhea, dizziness, and rash. If an erection lasting four hours or more occurs, a visit to the emergency room is required as this can cause permanent damage if not treated.
In a nutshell, all these drugs are similarly effective. However, some patients are showing personal preferences, and some prefer to try different ED medications to find which one works best for them. Other considerations include cost, ease of use, duration of action, and side effects experienced. Please consult your physician to determine the right ED medication for you.