Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to obtain or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. One in 10 men worldwide experiences erectile dysfunction, according to the Minnesota Men’s Health Center, making pharmaceutical treatment a lucrative over-the-counter business and also for prescription drugs. Currently, there are three drugs available that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which work similarly and have similar efficacy ratings.

Viagra

Viagra, the brand name of sildenafil citrate, revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction with its approval in 1998. It works by blocking PDE5, a chemical that causes an erection to disappear. It relaxes the smooth muscles of the blood vessels, increases blood flow to the penis and results in an erection. Viagra begins to work between 30 and 60 minutes after administration and lasts up to four hours. The results of clinical studies indicate that Viagra is effective in 60% or 70%. If you are taking other prescription medications, please consult your doctor, as Viagra can cause serious risks along with heart medications that contain nitrates.

Cialis

Cialis, whose generic name is tadalafil, also works by inhibiting PDE5, as well as inducing and prolonging erection. Cialis was approved by the FDA in 2003 and is similar to Viagra with about 70% effectiveness. Cialis, however, begins to work in 20 or 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 that have nitrates. Consult your doctor before starting any new medicine.

Levitra

Levitra, the brand name for vardenafil, was approved by the FDA in 2003. This medication also works by blocking PDE5, and by dilating the blood vessels of the penis to increase blood flow and cause an erection. Levitra works in 30 to 60 minutes after administration and lasts up to 5 hours. It is as effective as Cialis and Viagra, being 70% effective in the treatment of patients with erectile dysfunction. As with the previous two medications, you should be careful if you are taking any cardiac medications, especially nitrates.

Uprima

Uprima, known generically as apomorphine hydrochloride, is an oral medication that is currently only available in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The medication works differently than the other three prescription medications since it acts in the hypothalamus region of the brain to stimulate dopamine and trigger sexual arousal. As it dissolves under the tongue, it enters the bloodstream quickly, taking effect from five to seven minutes. A clinical study on Uprima found that more than 60% of patients experienced a lasting erection after taking Uprima. This medication is not only effective but also safe for patients at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Without a prescription

Over the counter medications, which are mainly herbal supplements, do not have solid clinical evidence to support their effectiveness. Many people who take these supplements claim that they are effective, however, according to the University of Michigan Medical Center the placebo that responds to this type of medication is 25% to 50%. Measuring the actual efficacy of supplements such as Extagen, ArginMax, and Enzyte, therefore, is not possible without controlled clinical studies.

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