What are the Different Erectile Dysfunction Medications?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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There are several different types of erectile dysfunction medications on the market, some of them working very differently from others. Some erectile dysfunction medications utilize oral delivery. A man takes a pill prior to sexual activity that allows him to have an erection. Other erectile dysfunction medications are injected directly into the penis or are slipped into the urethra. Erectile dysfunction drugs are typically prescribed in accordance with a man's needs as well as any health conditions that may make the use of some types of impotence medication dangerous.

Oral erectile dysfunction medications, also known as PDE5 inhibitors, work by blocking enzymes that can inhibit erections. There are several oral impotence medications on the market, such as Cialis®, Levitra®, and Viagra®. While the mechanism of each drug is similar, there are some differences in the usage of each medication. Both Levitra® and Viagra® should be consumed no longer than four hours prior to the desired time of intercourse. Cialis®, on the other hand, can remain effective if taken up to 36 hours before intercourse.

While oral erectile dysfunction medications are popular because they can be consumed discreetly and with minimal interruption to sexual activity, they are not always appropriate for all men. Men who have cardiac conditions or high blood pressure generally should not use these drugs because of the risk of interaction with other medications they may be taking or because they may exacerbate preexisting health conditions. In such cases, doctors will typically look to other erectile dysfunction treatments. Some of these treatments are not pharmaceutical in nature, but are instead mechanical, such as penis pumps or penile implants. There are other medications that work directly on the tissue of the penis that may be more suitable for men who cannot safely use oral medications to treat erectile dysfunction.

Papaverine, alprostadil, and phentolamine are erectile dysfunction medications that can be injected directly into the penis in order to help a man maintain his erection. While this delivery method can be uncomfortable, it may be a better choice for men who are not healthy enough to take oral medications. Alprostadil can also be used in a needle-free method known as the MUSE system by simply placing an alprotadil capsule into the urethra prior to sex. For men who are uncomfortable with needles, the MUSE system can be an excellent alternative to injections.

Another pharmaceutical option for those experiencing erectile dysfunction is testosterone replacement therapy, which can be administered through a skin patch, gel, or injection. This protocol is typically recommended for men who are known to have low testosterone and may not be suitable for men whose hormone levels are normal. This therapy can also have negative side effects, which should be weighed against its benefits.

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