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- Erectile dysfunction (impotence) facts
- What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
- What are erectile dysfunction symptoms and signs?
- What is normal penis anatomy?
- How common is erectile dysfunction?
- How does erection occur?
- How is erection sustained?
- What are erectile dysfunction risk factors?
- What causes erectile dysfunction?
- How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?
- What drugs treat erectile dysfunction?
- What is the treatment for erectile dysfunction?
- Oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Vardenafil (Levitra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
- What are intracavernosal injections?
- What are intraurethral suppositories?
- How effective is testosterone in treating erectile dysfunction?
- Can a penis pump (vacuum device) help erectile dysfunction?
- Can low testosterone level be replaced?
- What about psychological therapy for erectile dysfunction?
- Surgery for erectile dysfunction
- Can over-the-counter (OTC) and/or natural or home remedies treat erectile dysfunction?
- Is it possible to prevent erectile dysfunction?
- What is the prognosis for erectile dysfunction?
- What research is being done for erectile dysfunction?
Quick GuideSex-Drive Killers: Recognize These Causes of Low Libido
What drugs treat erectile dysfunction?
Medications for erectile dysfunction include the following:
- Oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors (sildenafil [Viagra], vardenafil [Levitra], tadalafil [Cialis]), avanafil [Stendra])
- Intracavernosal injections (papaverine, phentolomine, and PGE1 [Trimix], alprostadil injection [Caverject, Edex])
- Intraurethral suppositories (MUSE)
A doctor can help decide what medication(s) may be the best for the patient. This is an important step to do so the doctor can help choose the best and safest drug(s) and other treatments so that men with other medical problems can get individualized care appropriate for their medical conditions.
What is the treatment for erectile dysfunction?
The following are treatments for erectile dysfunction:
- Working with doctors to select medications that do not impair erectile function
- Making lifestyle improvements (for example, quitting smoking and exercising more)
- Taking drugs to treat ED such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), tadalafil (Cialis), or avanafil (Stendra)
- Inserting medications into the urethra (intraurethral suppositories: MUSE)
- Choosing treatments and drugs according to each individual’s medical condition
- Injecting medications into the corpora cavernosae (intracavernosal injections)
- Vacuum constrictive devices for the penis
- Penile prostheses
Adjusting medications that may cause or contribute to erectile dysfunction
Many common medications for treating hypertension, depression, and high blood lipids can contribute to erectile dysfunction (see above). Treatment of hypertension is an example. There are many different types (classes) of antihypertensive medications (medications that lower blood pressure); these include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics (medications that increase urine volume), angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Antihypertensives may be used alone or in combination to control blood pressure. Different classes of antihypertensives have different effects on erectile function. Inderal (a beta-blocker) and hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic) are known to cause erectile dysfunction, while calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors do not seem to affect erectile function. On the other hand, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) such as losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan) may actually increase sexual appetite, improve sexual performance, and decrease erectile dysfunction. Therefore, choosing an optimal antihypertensive combination is an important part of treating erectile dysfunction.
Quitting smoking, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, curtailing excessive alcohol consumption, controlling hypertension, and optimizing blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes are not only important for maintaining good health but also may improve or even prevent erectile function. Some studies suggest that men who have made lifestyle improvements experience increased rates of success with oral medications.
Oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors
The common PDE5 inhibitor drugs approved in the United States are sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), tadalafil (Cialis), or avanafil (Stendra). Actual head-to-head trials between these drugs have not been done to date to see which is the superior drug. Details on each of these medications for erectile dysfunction are outlined below.