GENERIC NAME: avanafil
BRAND NAME: Stendra
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Avanafil is an oral drug that is used for treating impotence (the inability to attain or maintain a penile erection), also known as erectile dysfunction (ED). It is in a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase inhibitors that also includes tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra). Erection of the penis is caused by the filling of the penis with blood. Filling occurs because the blood vessels that bring blood to the penis increase in size and deliver more blood to the penis, and, at the same time, the blood vessels that take blood away from the penis decrease in size and remove less blood from the penis. Sexual stimulation that leads to an erection causes the production and release of nitric oxide in the penis. The nitric oxide causes an enzyme, guanylate cyclase, to produce cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). It is cGMP that is primarily responsible for increasing and decreasing the size of blood vessels carrying blood to and from the penis, respectively, and causing an erection. When the cGMP is destroyed by another enzyme, phosphodiesterase-5, the blood vessels return to their normal size, blood leaves the penis, and the erection ends. Avanafil prevents phosphodiesterase-5 from destroying cGMP so that cGMP stays around longer. The persistence of cGMP leads to a more prolonged engorgement of the penis with blood. Avanafil was approved by the FDA in April 2012.
Quick GuideErectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes and Treatment
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