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Medication for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction or impotence; two words that spell embarrassment to men. It makes them feel as if they have lost their manliness, their masculinity and more importantly their dignity. One should not worry and bottle up their feelings. Instead, speak to a doctor as erectile dysfunction has a treatment. These treatments include surgical as well as non-surgical methods. The non-surgical methods, the ones we are going to discuss in this article includes medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Combating Erectile Dysfunction with Medications

Those who seek medical help will be asked to give a detailed medical history as well as describe their experience related to erectile dysfunction. One may be asked personal as well as intimate questions, which may sound embarrassing, but will help decide the course of your treatment. After conducting the physical examination, your first line of treatment, that is, medications will be decided.

One should inform the doctor beforehand about any medications, drugs or recreational drugs taken by them. This is because many drugs interact with medications for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and lead to severe complications such as sudden drop in blood pressure. To avoid such health complications and medical emergencies, be honest and forthright with the doctor regarding any prescription or recreational drugs used by you.

Medications for Treatment of Impotence

The most common drugs prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction includes:


This was the first erectile dysfunction drug approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration in 1998. Sildenafil, is the generic name of this phosphodiesterase type 5 or PDE5 inhibitor. The drug works within an hour and its effects last for about 3 to 4 hours. People who take nitrate medications for heart conditions such as nitroglycerine or alpha blockers for high blood pressure should not use Viagra. This is because the cocktail of these medications is very dangerous and can lead to rapid low blood pressure.

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Vardenafil hydrochloride or Levitra is also a PDE5 inhibitor. It works after an hour of ingestion and its effects last for about 4 hours. The same drug is also available under the brand name of Staxyn. This drug dissolves on the tongue, and there is no need to swallow the pill. Men who use nitrate medications should never use vardenafil as it can lead to life-threatening low blood pressure.


Tadalafil, the generic name for Cialis is a PDE5 inhibitor. The drug takes effect within 30 minutes and its effects last for about 17-18 hours. Side effects include headache, stomach pain, acid reflux, muscle aches, back pain, flushing, etc. Avoid use of organic nitrates along with tadalafil as it can lead to hypotension.

Intracavernosal Injections

Medications that can be directly injected to maintain erections are called as intracavernosal injections. The drugs are injected directly into the corpora cavernosa. The drugs injected include:

  • Papaverine
  • Phentolamine
  • Prostaglandin E1

Injection therapy can help with erectile dysfunction in 80% of the cases. However, these are painful injections and lead to many complications.

Intraurethral Suppositories

Intraurethral suppositories are a pellet form of medications that can be inserted into the urethra. As they dissolve inside the body, it helps one attain erections. Prostaglandin E1 or MUSE is a form of these suppositories. However, this method is not very popular as these drugs lead to many side effects. These include pain in penis, testicles as well as mild urethral bleeding. Prostaglandin can also cause side effects in the female sexual partner. It can lead to vaginal itching, uterine contractions, etc. Thus, men should avoid the drug when having sex with a pregnant partner after using this suppository without condom or other barriers.

These are some of the drugs used for treatment of erectile dysfunction. Never take these drugs without a consultation of an expert medical practitioner. These drugs, including Viagra have many side effects; some even fatal. Speak to a doctor and find  cure for ED or impotence and make sure you report any side effects to get a change in dose or medication.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 06, 2015

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