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ED Treatment Guide: How Does An Erectile Dysfunction Drug Work?

UPGUYS > Blog > ED Treatment > ED Treatment Guide: How Does an Erectile Dysfunction Drug Work?
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on June 07, 2022

Did you know that since the COVID-19 pandemic, studies show that sexual dysfunction increased while sexual activity decreased in men and women? 

Stress, depression, and social constraints were some of the leading causes. But what happens when your ability to get or maintain an erection doesn't resolve? 

You have likely wondered, "how does an erectile dysfunction drug work?" Luckily, you don't have to go far. At UPGUYS, we have compiled an all-inclusive guide on erectile dysfunction medications, how they work, and if they can help you. 

UPGUYS Products: Order Viagra online from Canada

Keep reading on and learn more!

In this article, we talk about the following:

  1. How does an erectile dysfunction drug work?
  2. Different types of ED medications
  3. ED drugs and side effects
  4. When should you see a doctor?
  5. Is erectile dysfunction treatment effective?

Read moreYour Guide To Overcoming Erectile Dysfunction And Premature Ejaculation

How Does an Erectile Dysfunction Drug Work?

Have you inquired about how erectile dysfunction drugs work and their mechanism of action? Erectile dysfunction medications fall under the drug classification PDE5 inhibitors. 

In medical terms, PDE5 stands for phosphodiesterase type 5. It is a vasodilating agent that primarily works on penile arteries, although its effects are more systemic. 

Initially, PDE5 inhibitors were studied for their role in hypertension. Instead, they found that many of these patients noted improvements in erection quality. 

PDE5 inhibitors work through a few different mechanisms:

  1. Block PDE5 enzymes
  2. Prevent degradation of cGMP in smooth muscle cells 
  3. Increase availability of cGMP in blood vessels
  4. Increase vasodilation and smooth muscle cell relaxation

The process starts with blocking PDE5. This enzyme degrades cGMP and can result in vasoconstriction and other physical symptoms that result in difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. 

Most ED drugs work within thirty minutes to two hours of taking them. Although, you will still need stimulation.

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide To Effective Delayed Ejaculation Treatment

Different Types of ED Medications

Now that you can answer the question, "how do erectile dysfunction drugs work?" it is time to dive into the different types of medications on the market. For starters, supplements and over-the-counter medications are not as closely monitored as prescription drugs. 

Although, Health Canada does have a stricter framework and regulatory processes than other countries. There are four main PDE5 inhibitors, including:

  1. Viagra (sildenafil)
  2. Cialis (tadalafil)
  3. Levitra (vardenafil)
  4. Stendra

Stendra is the newest medication on this list and likely the most expensive. The first three are the most popular medications available in brand-name or generic versions. 

How can you tell which one you might need?

Read more: 7 Natural Ways To Treat Erectile Dysfunction

First, talk to your doctor if you have tried medication in the past. While each drug has similar mechanisms of action, they each have different active ingredients. 

You might respond better to a different drug even if you had no luck in the past! Viagra and Levitra have similar half-lives. 

They last around four to five hours but should only be taken once daily. Cialis comes in two different forms:

  1. Daily
  2. As-needed

Daily Cialis is a long-term treatment and does not require close monitoring when you take it. Instead, you should take it at the same time, no matter if you are prepping for a night in or not. 

As-needed Cialis functions like Viagra and Levitra, and you should take it within an hour of sexual intercourse. The primary difference is Cialis has an extensive half-life.

It can stay in your system for nearly 36 hours!

Read more: Gabapentin & Erectile Dysfunction: Unraveling The Connection

ED Drugs and Side Effects

Most side effects occur with improper use. You should never combine two PDE5 inhibitors without consulting your physician. 

Additionally, if you aren't noticing symptom relief, don't double your dosage! Rather than a romantic evening, you may end up in the emergency room with priapism. 

Read moreWhen Desire Falters: A Closer Look At ED & Relationship Attraction

Priapism is a long-lasting erection (and often painful) that can cut off blood supply and result in permanent damage. It tends to last longer than four hours and requires medical attention. 

Other common side effects that you might notice when starting a PDE5 inhibitor are:

  1. Headache
  2. Flushed skin
  3. Dizziness
  4. Back or muscle pain

Most side effects are dose-dependent, meaning the more you take, the stronger the chances are that you'll see some of these adverse reactions. These adverse effects are more of a nuisance than anything and are not cause for medical concern. 

If you start experiencing extreme lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat, or vision changes, you should stop taking it immediately and contact a medical facility. 

Read more: The Worst Foods For Erectile Dysfunction

When Should You See a Doctor?

When is it time to start seeing a doctor about your erections? First, erectile dysfunction is not sporadic. You must have ongoing and consistent symptoms.

Next, look at your lifestyle and recent changes. Are you more stressed than usual? Do you have relationship issues?

Stress and anxiety can lead to poor outcomes when it comes to penetrative sex and usually resolves once you take some time to de-stress or start couples therapy. 

However, an inability to get or maintain an erection can be an indicator of more severe health conditions like:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. High cholesterol
  4. Obesity

You should talk to your doctor if your symptoms persist about the next course of treatment. 

Read more: Can Sexual Inactivity Lead To Erectile Dysfunction?

Are ED Medications Expensive?

Brand-name medications are typically more expensive than generic versions. Shopping through an online pharmacy and opting for generic medications are two ways you can save money. 

Most times, insurance won't cover the cost of these drugs. You can save your receipt through UPGUYS and submit it to your insurance since plans and coverage vary between individuals. 

If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED), talk to a practitioner through UPGUYS, to get a prescription!

Is Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Effective?

Yes - treatments to help with erection quality can work!

We use virtual conferencing with qualified physicians that allow you to set up a consultation at your convenience. After reviewing your medical history, symptoms, and current medications, your physician will determine the medication and dosage that is right for you. 

Afterward, simply visit our product site and select your prescription medication to start gaining back your confidence in the bedroom. 

Read moreUnderstanding & Conquering ED: From Science To Solutions

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.