Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition characterized by a consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. ED can cause stress, affect self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. There are two types of medications used to treat ED: oral medications and nonoral medications.
Oral medications used to treat ED include: Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and Avanafil (Stendra) . These medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide, which is a natural chemical produced by the body that relaxes muscles in the penis. In combination with sexual stimulation, these drugs can produce an erection sufficient to initiate and complete intercourse .
Nonoral medications used to treat ED include self-injections using medications such as alprostadil, papaverine, and phentolamine . Alprostadil comes in the form of an injectable solution and penile suppository .
It is worth noting that the oral medications used to treat ED can have varying onset times and durations of effectiveness. For example, Tadalafil (Cialis) can start working in about 15 minutes and remain effective for up to 17 hours . Additionally, Alprostadil is used to treat ED by creating and maintaining an erection .