Erectile Dysfunction Treatments Medicinal Methods

The medical and commercial success of Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) has sparked a flurry of research into impotence medicine. This is wonderful news for men who have erectile dysfunction. The range of erectile dysfunction medicines is increasing steadily, providing men with more treatment options and alternatives.

Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate)

Viagra revolutionized the field of impotence medicine. Because Viagra was the first of its kind, the drug’s entry into the market in 1998 was accompanied by a great deal of commercial hype. As a result many people have unrealistic expectations of what the drug is supposed to do. Viagra does not improve libido, but it does successfully produce erections in 80 percent of impotent men.

Levitra (Vardenafil HCl)

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in August 2003, Levitra is the second FDA-approved oral drug designed to treat male erectile dysfunction. The majority of the participants in clinical trials of Levitra found that the drug worked quickly, improved sexual response the first time it was taken, and worked consistently.

The manufacturer expects Levitra to be available in the United States sometime this year.

Viagra and Levitra: How They Work and Side Effects

The active ingredients in Viagra (sildenafil citrate) and Levitra (vardenafil HCl) increase blood flow to the penis. The drugs, accompanied by appropriate stimulation, help most men with erectile dysfunction get and maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. Viagra and Levitra have a positive effect on sexual response in men with medical conditions, such as diabetes, and in men who have had their prostate removed (prostatectomy). Neither drug is an aphrodisiac.

Some of the common side effects of the drugs are temporary flushing, headache, dizziness and stomach upset. An uncommon side effect that requires immediate medical attention is an erection that lasts more than four hours (priapism).

Men who are taking any medication or drug containing nitrates, such as nitroglycerine (commonly prescribed for angina symptoms), should not use Viagra or Levitra. The combination can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure that can result in dizziness, fainting or heart attack.

Yohimbine

Yohimbine therapy is a possible erectile dysfunction treatment. The drug works best for cases of impotence where a physical cause is unknown, or where the cause is psychological in nature. It acts by stimulating the nervous system. It has been suggested the medication also raises libido levels.

Yohimbine does not boast a particularly high success rate: only ten to twenty percent of men who have taken it reported an improvement in their ability to achieve an erection. It does not work fast: yohimbine must be taken for six to eight weeks before results can be seen. Side effects may include dizziness, headaches, an increased heart rate and nausea. When used to treat psychologically based erectile dysfunction, the drug may be prescribed in combination with the antidepressant trazodone.

The Testosterone Patch

Testosterone holds an ambiguous place in erectile dysfunction treatment. It has been known to increase sex drive, but only a few men suffering from erectile dysfunction appear to benefit from testosterone therapy. It is most often recommended for men who exhibit signs of hypogonadism (low testosterone levels).

The testosterone patch is one of the best ways to administer the hormone. The patch is less painful than administration by injection, and tends to have fewer side effects than oral administration. Side effects can be serious: the liver, heart and prostate can be adversely affected. Less serious side effects include dizziness, muscle pain, weakness and flu-like symptoms. Breathing difficulty, changes in skin color, nausea, swelling of limbs and persistent erections should be reported to your health professional immediately.

The testosterone patch is available in two forms: scrotal and non-scrotal. Scrotal patches should only be applied to the scrotum, and non-scrotal patches should never be applied directly to the genitals. If you’re using a patch, wash your hands immediately after administering the patch, and remember that skin-to-skin contact can transfer the medication to your partner.

The Future: Apomorphine and Cialis (Tadalafil)

In time, an increasing number of new medications will become available for erectile dysfunction treatment. Apomorphine HCl, not yet available in the United States, has been approved to treat impotence in many parts of Europe. Apomorphine is taken in a tablet form that dissolves on the tongue, just twenty minutes before intercourse. The drug stimulates dopamine in the brain, which, in turn, encourages an erection. Clinical trial studies are also determining the effectiveness of nasal administration of apomorphine with early results being positive.

Cialis® (tadalafil) is one of the many medications currently being investigated for impotence treatment. Tadalafil’s effect is reported to last up to 36 hours, according to researchers. Cialis is currently undergoing clinical testing.

Disclaimer

Use of testosterone or other prescription drugs to treat erectile dysfunction requires the involvement of a trained health professional. If you wish to pursue any of the treatments outlined on this page, please consult your doctor.

Resources

Apimall. (nd). Ixense (Uprima in the US and Canada) (apomorphine) approved by the European Health Authorities. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.stores.yahoo.com/apinet/xupinusandc.html.

Federal Drug Administration. (Updated 2000). Viagra. Retrieved September 24, 2002, from www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/druginfo /Viagra.htm.

Livitra.com (2003). Levitra (vardenifil HCl). Retrieved September 9, 2003, from www.levitra.com/consumer/index.htm.

Pharmaceutical Journal. (2002). New drug for erectile dysfunction. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.pharmj.com/Editorial/20020601/news/erectile.html.

Pfizer. (2002). About Viagra. Retrieved September 24, 2002, from www.viagra.com/about/index.asp.

Uprima-and-Viagra.com. (nd). Uprima vs. Viagra. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.uprima-and-viagra.com/uprima_vs_viagra.html.