Knowing Your Options: The Top Types of ED Medications

Erectile dysfunction can be frustrating, not just for you, but for your partner as well. If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, or ED, you’re not alone. Over half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 struggle with ED to some extent.

With today’s advancement in medicine, you no longer need to be embarrassed by your ED. ED medication options assist men with producing an erection adequate to perform intercourse.

There are several types of ED medications to choose from, meaning you need to do a little homework.

The goal of most ED medications may be the same, but there are several details to keep in mind. Cost, side effects, duration, and heart health should all be considered when choosing an ED medication.

If you’re thinking about using an ED medication for an added boost in the bedroom, here is what you need to know about the top-rated ED medications on the market.

About ED Medications

Before you jump into your hunt for the best ED medications, there’s some important information you should know about ED treatment options.

All ED medications work by stimulating blood flow to the penis to improve intercourse. Each type of ED medication consists of different chemical make-up which will affect you differently.

The results of ED medications vary depending on the individual. Most men will find one or two types of ED medications will work better than another. Your doctor may have you try a couple of different ones to find the one that works best for you.

A big obstacle you may experience is the cost of ED medications. Health insurance will cover most costs based on a limited amount they will cover. If you go over this limit, you could be paying over $20 per pill out-of-pocket.

How’s your overall health? Do you, or have you experienced any heart-related health issues? Talk with your doctor to see if you’re healthy enough for sexual activity. Side effects of ED medications may cause or augment cardiovascular issues.

If you have done a little research and talked with your doctor to learn more about ED medications, then you’re ready to learn what’s available!


Viagra is a well-known ED medication that has been on the market since 1998. Made with Sildenafil, Viagra is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor. It blocks enzyme activity associated with erectile dysfunction.

With any medication, there is the risk of experiencing side effects. Side effects of Viagra include headaches, stuffy or runny nose, upset stomach, reddening in the face, muscle aches, and blurry vision.

Viagra is an oral medication best taken about an hour before sex. It lasts for about 4 to 5 hours, sometimes longer. Viagra is a great option for those struggling with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.


Another well-known ED medication is Cialis. Tadalafil, the main ingredient in Cialis, improves blood flow throughout the body and is a PDE5 inhibitor like Viagra.

Cialis can be taken about 30 to 45 minutes before sex. Combined with sexual stimulation, Cialis lasts for 36 hours. If taken in smaller doses, Cialis can be taken daily.

A good side effect of Cialis is its ability to decrease urinary issues, such as trouble urinating, due to an enlarged prostate.

Other side effects include headache, stuffy or runny nose, upset stomach, and back pain.

Levitra & Staxyn

Vardenafil, found in Levitra and Staxyn, is an oral ED medication and a PDE5 inhibitor. Levitra can be taken 60 minutes before sex and lasts for about 4 hours. Just avoid high-fat foods as they can slow the absorption of Levitra.

A fast-acting version of Levitra is Staxyn. Staxyn is a similar ED medication that dissolves under the tongue and is ready to go in under an hour.

Side effects are mild and are similar to those of Cialis and Viagra. The only difference being dizziness and back pain.

Both Levitra and Staxyn work well for those who have mild to moderate ED. 


Similar to ED medications above, Avanafil, the main active ingredient in Stendra is also a PDE5 inhibitor. Stendra is also the newest ED medication on the market.

Stendra kicks in after about 15-30 minutes and lasts up to 6 hours. It also has the mildest side effects compared to other PDE5 inhibitors.

Stendra has the risk of the same side effects as the former ED medications described above. The only difference is the possibility of a sore throat and no body aches or upset stomach.

Overall, these ED medications are great options for fairly healthy individuals looking to boost their sex life. If the name brand options discussed here are out of your budget, Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra/Staxyn all have affordable generic options. 


As you age, testosterone, the main sex hormone in males, decreases over time. Lower levels of testosterone in the body may attribute to your erectile dysfunction. Other issues of less testosterone are a lower sex drive, fatigue, reduced sperm count, and weight gain.

To improve these issues and improve your performance in the bedroom, testosterone may be prescribed. Most PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra, Cialis, and others work best with the addition of testosterone therapy.

Side effects of testosterone include prostate growth, moodiness, acne, male breasts, swelling, and sleep apnea. Although these side effects sound scary, your doctor would carefully test you before and during testosterone treatment.

Unlike other ED medications, testosterone comes in more than just an oral format. Testosterone comes in creams, gels, patches, nasal gels, implants and injections in addition to oral capsules.

Improving your ED medications and the effects of a testosterone deficiency make testosterone therapy a good option. 

Heads Up on ED Medications

The ED medications described here are safe with minimal side effects making them the leading types of ED medications on the market.

However, it is important you are aware of your overall health before hopping on an ED medication. PDE5 inhibitors and testosterone therapy cannot be mixed with cardiac medications containing nitrates. Mixing them can cause blood pressure to drop dangerously low and even death.

Knowing about ED medication options is a great start, but there’s still more to learn about erectile dysfunction treatments.

Learn more about ED and other treatment options in our Men’s Health articles. With these tips, you’re guaranteed to liven up the bedroom with confidence!