ED medicines like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra) are popular and widely used prescription drugs.
These medicines are well studied, and we know a lot about how they work, their side effects, how fast they start working, how long they last, and other important factors.
In this blog, we’ll talk about what you can expect from ED medicines, including how they work, how long it takes for them to start working, and the possible side effects you might experience.
How Erectile Dysfunction Medicines Work?
Medicines can help with ED by increasing blood flow to the penis, making it easier to get and keep an erection. One group of medicines used for this is called PDE5 inhibitors, like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra.
They work by stopping an enzyme (PDE5) from breaking down another molecule (cGMP), which helps relax the muscles and let more blood flow to the penis. These medicines work in a similar way but last for different amounts of time.
They’re only for treating ED and shouldn’t be taken with nitrate medicines. Some common side effects include headaches, stomach issues, back pain, muscle pain, and vision problems.
How Long Do Medicines Take To Work?
Most ED medicines take 30 to 60 minutes to work when you’re sexually excited. Avanafil (Stendra) is the quickest, working in about 15 minutes with a moderate to high dose.
Sildenafil (Viagra) usually starts working in about an hour and should be taken around 60 minutes before sex. It often starts showing effects between 30 and 60 minutes after taking it.
Tadalafil (Cialis) takes about 30 to 60 minutes to work, but it can take up to 2 hours for some men or as little as 15 minutes for others.
Vardenafil (Levitra) works at a similar time as sildenafil. Manufacturers suggest taking it about 60 minutes before sex to give it time to work.
No matter which medicine you use, it’s a good idea to take it about an hour before sex. Plan ahead to make sure the medicine works best when you’re with your partner.
If your doctor gives you specific advice on when to take your medicine, be sure to follow it.
You can take any of these four ED medicines with or without food. Most makers recommend taking sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, or avanafil with a glass of water on a somewhat empty stomach or after a normal-sized meal.
Side Effects Associated With The Medicines
Most ED meds work in a similar way, so they often have similar side effects. These side effects usually happen while the drugs are active in your body. Sometimes, side effects can last longer than the medicine itself, especially with drugs like tadalafil, that have a long half-life.
Common side effects of ED meds include:
- Nasal congestion or a stuffy nose.
- Facial flush, ranging from mild redness to bright red skin, often seen with sildenafil.
- Digestive problems, like upset stomach, diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks, and dairy products can make these worse.
- Dizziness, which is usually not severe, can cause discomfort or fainting in people with certain health issues.
- Dyspepsia (indigestion).
- Rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose).
- Vision issues, like temporary blurry vision and blue-tinted vision.
- Mild headaches linked to all ED drugs.
- Muscle aches or back pain.
Avanafil, a newer ED medicine, is more selective in targeting tissues, making it less likely to cause serious side effects like vision changes and certain heart-related issues.
Pay attention to side effects like headaches and dizziness, especially if you have kidney or heart problems.
All ED meds can cause a slight drop in blood pressure due to their effects on smooth muscle and blood flow. This mild drop isn’t dangerous for most men.
However, if you take nitrates or certain high blood pressure meds, the lower blood pressure from ED meds can be risky. If you use nitrates, don’t take sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, avanafil, or similar drugs.