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Erectile Dysfunction Medication

Some types of medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) are taken orally. These are known as phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. While oral forms of medication improve the response to sexual stimulation, they do not trigger an automatic erection as injections do. Other forms of drugs for ED are injected into the penis or inserted into the urethra.

Erectile Dysfunction Medication: An Overview

Medication for erectile dysfunction (ED) can be taken orally, injected directly into the penis, or inserted into the urethra at the tip of the penis.
In March 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Viagra®, the first pill to treat erectile dysfunction. Since that time, vardenafil hydrochloride (Levitra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), orally disintegrating vardenafil (Staxyn™), and avanafil (Stendra™) have also been approved for erectile dysfunction.
Additional types of oral erectile dysfunction medicines are being tested for safety and effectiveness.

Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors

Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Staxyn, and Stendra all belong to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. Taken an hour before sexual activity, these medications work by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes smooth muscles in the penis during sexual stimulation and allows for increased blood flow.
While oral forms of drugs for erectile dysfunction improve the response to sexual stimulation, they do not trigger an automatic erection as injections do.
None of these PDE inhibitors should be used more than once a day. If you take nitrate-based drugs, such as nitroglycerin for heart problems, you should not use a pill form of erectile dysfunction medication, because the combination can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Also, tell your doctor if you take any drugs called alpha blockers, which are used to treat an enlarged prostate (BPH) or high blood pressure. If you do, your doctor may need to adjust your ED treatment. Taking a PDE inhibitor and an alpha blocker at the same time (within four hours) can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.
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