Frequently Asked Questions about Erectile Dysfunction Medications

What are these drugs and how do they work?

The effect on erection was discovered accidently. It was initially tested for heart disease, but failed. When researchers asked for it back, many of the test patients refused to return it. The researchers soon realized the unexpected side effect of improving erection.

They work by prolonging smooth muscle relaxation (and hence erection) and widening, and improves blood flow to the erection chambers within the penis, and to the pelvic area in general.

What should I worry about?

In general, you should know there is a degree of risk to the heart with any physical activity. A thorough medical history and physical examination by a physician can rule out other diseases that can be present and contributing to your erection problems, and to be sure that you can handle the physical exertion of sex.

They should not be combined with other medications for treatment of erection problems; safety studies have not been done yet. There are also unsafe drug combinations. Be completely open and honest with your physician and pharmacist, and please only take these drugs with a prescription by your physician. Do not buy them over the internet, or borrow from your friend.

How much to take and when to take it.

Each of these medications has a specific dosage, reaction time to the drug and longevity of drug response. Please check with your physician about your particular prescription.

Important stuff you should know.

They are not aphrodisiacs. They will not increase your sexual desire. They are not a sexual device or stimulant.

They improve the erectile function of your penis, but still requires appropriate sexual stimulation to help bring about a useful erection for intercourse. Taking a tablet with little additional sexual stimulation is unlikely to lead to a good erection. All the good, old inputs are necessary and might include your partner, your mood, the setting, music, aroma, and other erotic stimuli. Each of these may enhance the quality of the erection and the overall experience.

Please do yourself a favour, don’t just pop one pill, get a poor erection, and feel the medication and you have failed. You need to give the medication four or five tries to have a good idea whether it will help you or not. Anticipation, the anxiety of the situation, and expectations for your performance can make the first attempts less than perfect.

Can a woman use them?

The drug has not been approved for use by women, but some doctors will prescribe it. A study was started to examine whether it would help women with their sexual desire. It was soon found that it did not help with libido, and the study was stopped. Anecdotally, some women who have tried them report a sensation of warmth and openness, probably resulting from increased blood flow to the pelvic area, which has given them an additional, pleasurable response to genital stimulation and intercourse.

Call your physician if you have any questions or problems.

© Dr. David Hersh