At a Glance
- Same active ingredient found in Viagra®
- Take orally, 30 to 60 minutes prior to intercourse
- Effective for up to 4 hours
- Available in 20mg and 100mg tablets, prescription required
PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type-5) inhibitors like sildenafil work by preventing the body from breaking down the chemicals needed for achieving an erection. This class of oral medications are the American Urological Association’s recommended first-line treatment for ED.
Sildenafil should be taken 30 to 60 minutes prior to sexual activity and requires sexual stimulation to achieve an erection.
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What to know about Sildenafil
How it Works
Sildenafil works by preventing the body from breaking down the chemicals needed for an erection. These chemicals are then able to help dilate the corpora cavernosa of the penis, facilitating blood flow which allows for an erection with stimulation.
Absorption of sildenafil is improved when taken on an empty stomach. In contrast, tadalafil is less affected by meals.
Who is it for?
Sildenafil is recommended for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil may also be prescribed for men who have just had a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer to help in the recovery process.
DO NOT take sildenafil or other PDE5 inhibitors if you take nitrate medications for cardiac conditions. Talk with your physician before taking sildenafil or other PDE5 inhibitors if you take alpha blocker medications for high blood pressure or if you have any of the following conditions:
• Low blood pressure
• Uncontrolled hypertension
• Cardiac failure
Sildenafil is effective for the treatment of ED. In 16 trials that evaluated sildenafil in men with various comorbidities, the mean per-patient percentage of successful sexual intercourse was 69% with treatment (range, 52%–85%) compared with 35.5% for placebo (range, 19%–68%). 1
Absorption of Sildenafil is improved when taken on an empty stomach. In contrast, tadalafil is less affected by meals.
1. NIH National Library of Medicine, Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors In the Management of Erectile Dysfunction
A common practice, off-label prescribing is when a doctor prescribes a drug for a different condition or at a different dosage than the FDA has approved. For Sildenafil, there are few common conditions prescribed off-label. Always consult your physician before beginning a new treatment or modifying your existing treatment.
FDA Approved Use
Sildenafil is often recommended as the first line of treatment for men suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Sildenafil is recommended for some men who suffer from climax control and some studies have found that PDE5 inhibitors have been effective in helping delay orgasm.1
1. NIH National Library of Medicine, Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors for premature ejaculation: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Sildenafil may also be prescribed for men who have just had a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer which helps in the recovery process.
Sildenafil Side Effects
- Facial flushing
- Nasal congestion
- Blurred vision
Good to Know
Sildenafil may fail due to inadequate dosing. Doses higher than 100mg increase the occurrence of side effects; therefore, it is recommended to seek alternative methods of treatment when you reach maximum dosage.
Level Up Your Knowledge
Can A Healthy Lifestyle Improve Your ED?
In this article Dr. Loh-Doyle explains how four key lifestyle changes can not only improve your erectile function, but will help you maintain your overall good health.
Why Can Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
In this article, Dr. Stieglitz discusses how diabetes causes ED in 50% of the men who have it, and why certain ED treatments may be more effective than others.
ED: The Canary in the Coal Mine
In this article Dr. Hakky discusses how erectile function can be an indicator of heart disease and overall men's health.
For instructions and how-to’s, visit our resource center.
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Other devices and medications used to treat erectile dysfunction
Same active ingredient found in Cialis. Taken one hour prior to sexual activity. Effective for up to 36 hours.
Available in 5mg and 20mg tablets or lozenges, prescription required.
Vacuum Erection Devices
The VED is a plastic tube that fits over the penis and is pressed against the base of the penis and pubis. It uses suction to pull blood into the penis to create an erection.
Intraurethral gels are injected into the urethra with a needleless syringe 5-15 minutes prior to intercourse.
Available in 3 formulations, prescription required.