What are the alternatives to Viagra?
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In 1998, US pharmaceutical company Pfizer launched a ‘little blue pill’ -known as Viagra- which was quickly hailed as a wonder-drug for millions of men suffering from Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and looking to reignite their sex lives. Today it is estimated that impotence affects 140 million men worldwide, many of whom now seek alternatives to Viagra which can often be just as effective.
Viagra is a brand name for Sildenafil Citrate which is a PDE-5 (Phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitor. These inhibitors work by increasing the blood flow into the erectile tissue in the penis. A brand name drug like Viagra, is marketed by a pharmaceutical company which holds the patent. An alternative to Viagra is made with the same active ingredients and the same dosage as the brand version, but is sold under its chemical or ‘generic’ name. This can only happen when the patent expires. In 2013 the patent for the drug held by Pfizer expired, which meant that other drug companies could make the same drug and sell it under the name Sildenafil. Therefore the active chemical make-up of Viagra and Sildenafil is exactly the same, yet Sildenafil is around 75%-85% cheaper.
What alternatives are out there?
Cialis is a PDE-5 inhibitor in the same way as Viagra, and can be taken as and when needed. It can also be taken every day at lower doses of 2.5mg to 5mg. The main benefit of Cialis as an alternative to Viagra is that it lasts for around 36 hours, making this a popular drug for weekend use. It also has a more rapid onset of action- having an effect in around 30 minutes- as opposed to an hour for Viagra. Cialis is the favourite amongst more spontaneous men.
Levitra, another alternative to Viagra and a PDE-5 inhibitor works 30 – 60 minutes after ingestion and lasts 4-6 hours – around the same time as Viagra. This is not the time that an erection lasts for – but the drug will work within this period if you are sexually aroused. There is also some evidence to suggest that Levitra is more effective in diabetics.
We usually suggest starting with Sildenafil (or Viagra), as these drugs have been around the longest and work well for most men. However, it’s perfectly reasonable to try different ED medications, to find exactly the one that suits you best. If you’re unsure, you can take a free assessment and our doctors will prescribe you a starter pack with four Viagra, Cialis and Levitra tablets to try, if suitable.
Sometimes ED can be caused by significant psychological upset, such as childhood trauma or ED itself can cause distress. In these situations talking therapies, such as relationship and psychosexual counselling can help as an alternative to Viagra or other drugs.
There are many natural therapies which claim to be able to treat erectile dysfunction such as acupuncture and homeopathy. However there is little scientific evidence to support these methods.
To achieve an erection, you need a good flow of blood to your penis. High blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes can restrict your blood flow, especially to the penis where vessels are very narrow. This is why in many cases making significant lifestyle changes such as exercising, losing weight, stopping smoking, and managing stress can have a large impact on sexual performance.
If you need some advice on the best ED medication for you, try our free assessment and if suitable, our doctors will prescribe you a starter pack with four Viagra, Cialis and Levitra tablets to test.
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Cialis: Key Information for Irish patients.
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