Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to obtain and maintain an erection for and during intercourse. One out of every 10 men in the world experiences erectile dysfunction, according to the Minnesota Men's Health Center, making pharmaceutical treatment a lucrative business both for nonprescription and prescription medications. There are currently three FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved medications available which all work in a similar fashion and have similar ratings on effectiveness.
Viagra, the trade name for sildenafil citrate, revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction with its approval in 1998. Viagra works by blocking PDE5, a chemical that makes an erection subside. It relaxes the smooth muscles of the blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the penis and resulting in an erection. Viagra begins working between 30 and 60 minutes after administration and lasts for up to 4 hours. Clinical study results indicate Viagra is 60 to 70 percent effective. If you are taking any other prescription medications, please consult your doctor, as Viagra may cause severe risks in conjunction with heart medications including nitrates.
Cialis, generic name tadalafil, also works by inhibiting PDE5, thereby inducing and prolonging erections. Cialis was approved by the FDA in 2003 and is similar to Viagra with about 70 percent effectiveness. Cialis, however, begins working within 20 to 30 minutes after administration and the effects can last up to 36 hours. Cialis should also not be taken if you are taking certain cardiac medications including nitrates. Consult your doctor before beginning any new medications.
Levitra, the trade name for vardenafil, was approved by the FDA in 2003. This medication also works by blocking PDE5 and dilating the blood vessels of the penis to increase blood flow and result in an erection. Levitra works within 30 to 60 minutes of administration and lasts for up to 5 hours. Levitra is as effective as both Cialis and Viagra, being 70 percent effective in treating patients with erectile dysfunction. Just as with the previous two medications, take caution if you are taking any cardiac medications especially nitrates.
Uprima, generically known as apomorphine hydrochloride, is an oral medication currently only available in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The medication works differently than the other three prescription medications as it acts on the hypothalamus region of the brain to stimulate dopamine and trigger sexual arousal. Because it dissolves under the tongue, it enters the bloodstream quickly, taking effect within 5 to 7 minutes. A clinical study involving Uprima found that greater than 60 percent of patients experienced a durable erection after taking Uprima. This medication is not only effective, but is also safe for patients at risk of heart attack and stroke.
Nonprescription medications, which are mostly herbal dietary supplements, have no solid clinical evidence to support their effectiveness. Many taking these supplements claim they are effective, however according to the University of Michigan Medical Center the placebo response to this type of medication is 25 to 50 percent. Measuring the actual effectiveness of supplements such as Extagen, ArginMax and Enzyte is therefore not possible without controlled clinical studies.