Most men are familiar with ED medications like Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra (vardenafil) because they have been available since the 1990s and have been heavily marketed by the pharmaceutical companies that make them.  The oral medications are a great first option for guys who want to improve their erectile function and they work well for many men.  These ED medications all work to help you achieve an erection when they are taken before engaging in sexual activity.  

How Do ED Medications Work?

All of these ED medications work by the same mechanism but they do vary in how long their effects last and their effectiveness for individual men. The pills increase the amount of nitric oxide present in erectile tissue when it is released by penile nerve endings during sexual stimulation. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate which increases blood flow into the erectile tissue, producing an erection. The drug’s effect wanes as it is metabolized in the body.  The effects of sildenafil and vardenafil last about the same amount of time (approximately 1-3 hours) while those of tadalafil persist much longer (about 36 hours).  Not all men experience the same results from each of the medications with many men finding that one works better for them while another may have little effect.

What are the Side Effects of ED Medications?

As with most medications, there can be side effects from using these pills. The vast majority of men experience mild side effects or none at all but in men with high blood pressure, and especially those who take nitrate medication to treat coronary artery disease, the oral medications can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure and potentially even a heart attack. In rare cases, the use of these medications can result in an erection that lasts too long and needs to be treated as a medical emergency.

What is the Cost of ED Medications?

Health insurance plans do not always cover the cost of these medications, or they are covered only in limited quantities. Fortunately, most of them have become available as generics in the last few years which has greatly reduced the cost of using them.  At The Prime Clinic, I am always happy to work with my patients to find the best prices for the ED medications I prescribe.


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*Please note that most of our services are not covered by health insurance and we do not file insurance claims for our patients. We are happy to provide the proper diagnostic codes if you wish to file a claim. Payment is expected at the time of service.