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A Guide to Choosing the Right Pill to Treat ED

Gina Walters


vardenafil vs tadalafil

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a common worldwide condition that affects a man’s sexual well-being. 

Although the condition is common and troublesome, several medicines exist to treat it. 

If you recently started developing ED symptoms, you may be wondering which medication will help you the most. 

Below is a researched guide to choosing the right pill to treat ED that will help you make an informed decision. 

Pills that treat ED

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mainly approved four pills to treat Erectile Dysfunction

These include Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra), and Avanafil (Stendra). They belong to a group of medicines called Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors. 

These medications improve blood flow to the penis, causing it to become erect in response to sexual stimulation.

Though all PDE5 inhibitors work similarly, they differ in their onset and duration of action. Some pills may be more effective than others but have more side effects. 

Due to this, choosing the right pill to treat ED may be difficult.


Sildenafil, known as Viagra, was the first oral medicine approved to treat Erectile Dysfunction. It works by improving a man’s erections in response to sexual stimulation.

Viagra typically takes effect within 30 to 60 minutes and remains active for 4 to 6 hours. It may be advisable to take the medicine an hour before sexual activity to enjoy peak effects.

The medicine works best when taken on an empty stomach, as high-fat foods can delay absorption. 

Recommended read: Learn how to optimize the effects of Sildenafil. Check out – How to Take Sildenafil: A Comprehensive Guide for Safe and Effective Use

If you wish to eat before taking Viagra, you should consider having a light meal. A light meal is less likely to affect the absorption of the medicine. Learn more about how to take Sildenafil.


Tadalafil, sold under Cialis, is the longest-lasting ED medicine. It is also known as the “weekend pill,” as its effects last around 36 hours

The medicine’s long duration of action allows for greater spontaneity. It can be taken with or without food.


Vardenafil (Levitra) is an FDA-approved oral treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. It typically begins to work within 60 minutes and lasts around 4 to 5 hours. 

Food does not affect Levitra’s mechanism of action. However, a high-fat meal can delay its effects. 

Recommended read: Know to get the best results from Levitra – Know How to Make Levitra More Effective

right pill 1
Man holding a pill


Avanafil, better known by its brand name Stendra, has a rapid onset of action. It can start working within 15-30 minutes and can last up to 6 hours.

It is among the most recent ED medications designed to have fewer adverse effects. 

Onset of action30 to 60 minutes30 minutes60 minutes15 to 30 minutes
Duration of action4 to 6 hours36 hours4 to 5 hours6 hours
Peak effect1 hour2 hours30 to 120 minutes30 to 45 minutes
When to take 1 hour before sexual activity30 to 120 minutes before sexual activity 60 minutes before sexual activity15 to 30 minutes before sexual activity
Overview of ED pills

Choosing the right pill to treat ED: A guide

Choosing the right pill to treat ED requires careful consideration of multiple factors. These factors include:

Effectiveness: Though all ED pills have a high success rate, individual responses may vary. It would help if you discussed the potential benefits of each medication with a doctor. 

Duration of action: Consider how long you want to experience the effects of the medication. Cialis lasts the longest, while other medicines have a limited window of action.

Dosage options: Each ED pill comes in different strengths and dosage options. Your doctor will help determine which dosage is suitable for your requirements. 

You should never exceed the recommended dosage. Experts advise taking only one ED pill within 24 hours.

Cost: Cost is a significant factor to consider when buying ED pills. While brand-name medications can be costly, generic alternatives may be more cost-effective.

Side effects: While all ED medications have similar side effects, Stendra carries a lower risk. On the other hand, Cialis’s long duration of action may pose an increased risk. 

Personal requirement: Some factors like timing flexibility, spontaneity, and personal preferences can influence your decision. Discuss your needs with your doctor. 

The bottom line

When choosing the right pill to treat ED, consulting with a healthcare professional is essential.

They will consider your medical history, medications, and underlying health issues to determine the right ED pill.

Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are the commonly prescribed ED medications. While they have a similar function, their dosing regimens, duration of action, and potential side effects differ.

Your physician will evaluate these factors to help in choosing the right pill for ED that best meets your requirements. They can help ensure the best possible outcome in treating your ED.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common pills used to treat ED?

The common pills used to treat ED are Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra. They work by enhancing blood flow to the penis, which helps produce and maintain an erection.

How do I choose the right pill for ED treatment?

You should consult a healthcare expert to determine the right ED pill. They can evaluate your medical history, current medications, and specific requirements to help you make an informed decision.

Are there any side effects of ED pills?

Common potential side effects of ED pills include headache, flushing, and nasal congestion. 
Serious side effects are rare but possible and require immediate medical attention.

Can I buy ED pills without a prescription?

You cannot buy ED pills without a prescription. If you find ED pills in online pharmacies without a prescription or over the counter, they are likely counterfeit. 

What should I do if ED pills don’t work for me?

If ED pills don’t work for you, consult a healthcare professional. Depending on the underlying cause, they may recommend alternative treatments like injections, vacuum devices, or surgery.

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