There are a number of treatment options for ED. Options range from oral medications to injections to surgical procedures; your doctor will help guide you to the right option for you, depending on the cause and severity of your ED, along with any other underlying health conditions.
Oral medications are the most common first-line medical treatment for erectile dysfunction in men—and are very successful at treating the condition. Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5). This is a class of oral medications that works to relax the muscle cells within the penis to promote blood flow and enhance the length and rigidness of an erection. These medications are extremely effective and produce results in about 80% of men. It’s important to understand that taking one of these medicines will not produce an erection automatically—it just helps the body respond more normally to sexual stimulation. The medications listed below vary in potency and length of impact. Your physician will prescribe based on your particular circumstance, and will work with you to find the right efficacious dose.
The following are the available treatment methods for erectile dysfunction (ED):
Oral PDE-5 medications include:
- Sildenafil citrate (Viagra, Revatio)
- Tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca)
- Vardenafil HCl (Levitra, Staxyn)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
Side effects of PDE-5 medications include:
- Muscle ache
- Cold-like symptoms
- Priapism is a rare but very serious side effect—and is an erection that lasts 4 or more hours, which usually is painful and can be dangerous. If this happens to you or your partner call the doctor immediately
Please not that oral medications for ED may not be right for you if you:
- Have heart disease or heart failure
- Have had a stroke
- Have either uncontrolled high blood pressure or very low blood pressure
Take certain medications like nitrate drugs for chest pain, blood-thinners, certain high blood pressure medications
Testosterone replacement. Some men have erectile dysfunction that might be complicated by low levels of the hormone testosterone. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy might be recommended as the first step.
Self-injection medication. Alprostadil is a medication that is delivered either through self-injections in the side of the penis or intraurethral suppository. This is also a very effective medication, as approximately 85% of men see results.
Possible side effects of alprostradil:
- Unusual penile discharge
- Mild pain the penis, urethra, or testicles
- Back pain
- Itching/warmth/numbness of penis
- Rash on the penis skin
- Cold-like symptoms
Penis pump/vacuum. This is a device that fits over the penis and uses suction to create an erection, and a rubber band at the base of the penis to maintain the erection. About 75% of men who try the penis pump can achieve an erection.
If none of the above treatments are effective, the option of surgical implants may be explored. Surgical implants typically require inflation to achieve an erection, but their more or less permanent nature makes them a good option for men facing serious erectile dysfunction. Penile implants are typically implanted in an outpatient procedure that requires 4 to 8 weeks of recovery.