Avoid taking these ED medications if …
Drugs that treat erectile dysfunction (ED) don’t simply target the penis. Like many medications, the entire body is exposed to the treatment. Fortunately, these drugs are safe for most men – unless they’re experiencing other health issues or taking certain medications.
Most of the popular ED medications – Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Stendra – are phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors that intensify the effects of nitric oxide, a smooth-muscle relaxant. When muscles in the penis become relaxed, circulation increases, significantly improving erectile function. For men with certain medical conditions, however, the side effects can cause serious complications, and occasionally be deadly.
A quick look at ED drugs
A majority of erectile dysfunction medications are chemically similar. But each variation is designed to have slightly different effects:
- Sold under the brand name Stendra, Avanafil kicks in approximately 15-30 minutes after ingestion, and lasts for as long as six hours.
- Known to most of us as Viagra, this blue pill takes effect about 30 minutes after consumption and has about a four to five-hour effect.
- Marketed as Cialis, this variation has a significantly longer running time. One to two hours after being swallowed, Tadalafil can last as long as 36 hours.
- Two brands carry this chemical composition: Levitra and Staxyn. Vardenafil is effective for seven hours and takes up to an hour to activate once ingested.
Who should avoid erectile dysfunction drugs?
These are dangerous days for prescription drugs – Internet sellers often bypass a medical examination before providing the pills. Even men who don’t have specific risk factors should consult with a doctor before consuming ED medications. But erectile dysfunction pills are especially dangerous for men who:
- Are currently on other medications. Nitrates and alpha-blockers can cause dangerously low blood pressure when combined with ED drugs. In general, men on medications for angina (chest pain), an enlarged prostate, or high blood pressure are advised not to use medications to treat ED.
- Have severely low blood pressure or excessively high blood pressure. Hypotension (low blood pressure) and hypertension (high blood pressure) are directly influenced by most erectile dysfunction medications.
- Have had a stroke or heart attack. The impact ED drugs have on the vascular system can cause life-threatening complications for men who’ve had a heart attack within six months of using these medications.
- Have experienced certain other medical conditions. Men with a history of angina, congestive heart failure, low blood pressure, or high blood pressure are advised to be cautious when seeking pharmaceutical solutions for ED.
ED drugs can also cause complications in other, less-common conditions such as severe liver disease and kidney disease.
Common side effects of ED drugs
The typical side effects triggered by erectile dysfunction drugs aren’t life threatening. They include:
- Heartburn and/or indigestion
- Achy muscles
- Increased sensitivity to light, slight color shifts, and/or blurred vision
- Facial flushing
- Nasal congestion or running nose
In rare cases, priapism – an erection lasting longer than four hours – is a more serious side effect. This condition demands immediate medical attention to prevent damage to penile tissue.
Are there other ways to address ED?
While many men find satisfactory results through pharmacological treatments, even individuals who aren’t at risk for more serious side effects may prefer not to take them. Fortunately, there are other options.
If you’d like to learn more about an alternative to treating erectile dysfunction with drugs, take a look at our blog, “Forget About Little Blue Pills: Research on Shockwave Therapy Shows Drug-Free Results”.
GAINSWave® is a non-invasive, in-office procedure that can address erectile dysfunction or proactively improve overall sexual performance. Click here to find a provider.