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Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

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Erectile Dysfunction: Medicines to Treat ED

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Many men take medicine to treat erectile dysfunction. The prescription drugs that the FDA has approved to treat ED are: 

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

They all work by boosting blood flow to the penis to make erections easier to get.

What Are the Differences Between These Drugs?

Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and Viagra work similarly. There are subtle differences in how long the drug works and how quickly it works.

Levitra works a little longer than Viagra. They both take effect in about 30 minutes. With Levitra, the effects last for about 5 hours. With Viagra, they last about 4 hours.

Cialis works much longer -- up to 36 hours in some cases. Stendra can start doing its thing in as little as 15 minutes, and its effects last up to 6 hours.

Staxyn dissolves in your mouth. It contains the same active ingredient as Levitra, but it should not replace Levitra. It also can begin working in about 15 minutes.

If One of These Doesn’t Help Me, Can I Try Another?

Yes. But because these drugs work the same way, you’re likely to have similar results.

What Precautions Should I Take Before Trying One of These Drugs?

There are situations where these drugs may not be safe. Before you take them, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to any drugs, including other ED medications.
  • About any prescription or nonprescription medications you take and any herbal and dietary supplements.
  • If you are scheduled for surgery, even dental surgery.
  • If you take nitroglycerin or a similar medicine for chest pain. The combination of ED medication and these drugs can cause dangerously low blood pressure.
  • If you take alpha-blockers for blood pressure or prostate problems. These can lower your blood pressure when taken with ED pills. You should not start on Staxyn unless your doctor has prescribed you Levitra before.

Always follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Also make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain anything you don’t understand. Take these drugs exactly as directed.

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