Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Medication

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) medication

Erectile Dysfunction ED medication is taken orally, so as to help achieve and maintain an erection; the medicines relax muscles and improve the flow of blood to the penis. Alongside counselling and an improved everyday lifestyle (which can also help relieve ED), the use of medication is commonplace amongst the many patients who have now restored their normal sex lives¹ .

ED Erectile Dysfunction Medication
Credit: Getty Images Ltd.

ED medication effects

Sildenafil (Viagra), is a well-known brand of ED medication, but there are many similar medicines such as tadalafil (Cialis), avanafil (Stendra), vardenafil (Levitra) available that subtly vary in impact, with some becoming effective within just 15 minutes, while others treatments are slower to develop; the duration of their effects also varies widely, with these lasting between 4 and 36 hours. Individual circumstance and dosage will often dictate results.


Patients diagnosed with ED (Erectile Dysfunction) can receive treatment using prescription medication that’s approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and are specifically designed to treat conditions and known causes of ED, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. ED medicines are also interchangeable (although similar results are achieved).


Some situations make the use of medication unviable for patients however; these can include suffering from a heart attack, stroke or dangerously erratic heart rate or blood pressure within the previous 6 months. Patients should always ensure their doctor also knows about any imminent surgical procedures, and use of medication, dietary supplements or herbal remedies.

Unsuitable candidates

Other reasons to avoid using ED medication also include simply allergies, the use of alpha-blockers to treat blood pressure or prostate issues and the use of nitrates (or similar) to treat chest pain. Penis implants and vacuum pumps may be an alternative to those not suitable. Patients should fully understand their prescription and use it safely, as advised and after having all their questions answered and by a doctor or pharmacist.


Those in their fifties who smoke or suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or perhaps most importantly, have issues with their eyes, are also more prone to the rare NAION (Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy) condition; this is known to temporarily impair vision or cause blindness.

Side effects

Although side effects are uncommon, patients could experience back pain, headaches, heartburn, impaired vision or hearing, nasal congestion, stomach upset or warm flushes; urgent secondary treatments could be required if patients should experience burning/itching while urinating, chest pains, fainting, painful erections or rashes (following use).

¹ NHS, Erectile Dysfunction, 26 August 2020

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  1. Thank God there doesn’t seem to be as much taboo about this subject. Hopefully alleviating men to come forward and seek help

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