Drugs for Erectile Dysfunction: Facts

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When a man can’t get or keep a penile erection, he is suffering from erectile dysfunction. But while this problem is more common among older men, erectile dysfunction isn’t necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process, according to MedlinePlus. A number of factors such as stress, alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medications and depression can cause erectile dysfunction in men of any age. The Mayo Clinic recommends three types of prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction.


Viagra, the brand name for the drug sildenafil, is probably the best-known prescription remedy for sexual difficulties. While some men choose to buy the drug online without a prescription, this practice may not be entirely safe, warns the Mayo Clinic. Viagra can cause a number of side effects such as vision problems, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, headache and an erection that won’t go away. Some users of Viagra have problems distinguishing the differences between blue and green colors. Men taking medications for heart or blood pressure problems may not be able to safely use Viagra, warns MedlinePlus.

A Viagra dose should be taken without food no more than once a day. It’s a good idea to take the pill at least one hour before a sexual encounter. The effects of the drug usually last about four hours.


Levitra, the brand name for vardenafil, is another prescription drug that can help increase blood flow to the penis and at least temporarily alleviate sexual dysfunction. This pill should be taken no more than once a day without food. The man should take Levitra at least 30 minutes before intimate encounters; the effects should last about four hours.

Potential Levitra side effects include difficulty distinguishing between blue and green colors, vision problems at night, flu-like symptoms, upset stomach, heartburn and dizziness. Serious symptoms which require immediate medical help include sudden hearing problems, hoarseness or swelling in other body parts such as the face, eyes, lips, legs or hands.


Tadalafil is the active ingredient of Cialis, another popular drug for treating sexual dysfunction. Unlike the other popular prescription remedies, you can take Cialis with food if you so choose. But it’s also fine to take the drug without food, according to the Mayo Clinic. The effects of Cialis also potentially last longer than competing drugs such as Viagra and Levitra; Cialis effects can be felt up to 36 hours after taking the pill. For maximum effect, the medication should be taken at least 30 minutes before sex.

But like other drugs for erectile dysfunction, Cialis users run the risk of experiencing unwanted side effects. Rashes, blisters, erections lasting longer than four hours and vision problems all require immediate medical help. Less serious side effects associated with tadalafil include nausea, heartburn and coughing.


Erectile Dysfunction: Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.com/print/erectile-dysfunction/MC00029/METHOD=print

Erectile Dysfunction: MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/erectiledysfunction.html

Sildenafil: MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a699015.html

Tadalafil: MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a604008.html

Vardenafil: MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a603035.html