There are more erectile dysfunction treatments on the market today than ever before. But with so many options, how can you decide which one is right for treating this common male condition?

We’ve put together a comparison of two of the best known medications – Viagra and Cialis – to help you gain a better understanding of the options.

What is Viagra?

Viagra is without doubt the best-known erectile dysfunction treatment. Viagra is in fact the brand name for a medication containing the active ingredient Sildenafil Citrate. Until 2013, Viagra was the only impotence treatment of its kind on the market as the pharmaceutical company Pfizer had a patent registered. Today, however, there are a number of other drugs like Viagra, known as PDE-5 (Phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors. A prescription is required to purchase Viagra.

What is Cialis?

Cialis is also a PDE-5 inhibitor. Like Viagra, Cialis is the name given to a branded product, and in this case it contains an active ingredient known as Tadalafil. In recent years, the popularity of Cialis has grown due to the fact that the treatment promises particularly long lasting results. It is also only available on prescription.

How do Viagra and Cialis work?

Both Viagra and Cialis work by maintaining the level of cGMP in the smooth muscle cells. This causes the dilation of blood vessels and allows blood to flow more freely to the penis. The result of this widening of the blood is that the erectile tissue can more easily fill with blood, resulting in a firm erection.

It is also important to clarify that neither Viagra nor Cialis cause a man to be sexually aroused; instead they respond to arousal and enable a hard erection to be achieved and maintained when sexually stimulated.

How long do they take to work?

Both drugs typically start working in under an hour of taking them. Viagra can take as little as 20 minutes to take effect, while Cialis can be expected to take 30 minutes to work.

How long do the effects last?

Viagra usually lasts between four and six hours, whereas Cialis can last for up to 36 hours. It is important to clarify that this does not mean that an erection will be retained consistently for this period of time, rather that the penis will be able to achieve a hard erection reliably during this period of time.

What are the side effects?

Both treatments carry minimal side effects. However, the more common of these can include headaches, facial flushing. Lowered blood pressure and, in more rare circumstances, back-pain. However, Viagra can also occasionally cause diarrhea and temporary vision problems.

For patients who suffer from pre-existing low blood pressure, it is important to look more closely at the associated side effects and seek medical advice from your doctor before taking either of these medications.

Daman Bhamra, Head Pharmacist at Express Pharmacy, offers this advice:

“First and foremost it is important for anyone suffering from impotence to understand that their condition is a common one, and not something to be overly embarrassed about. Secondly, it is worth noting that the fear of being unable to achieve a satisfactory erection can have an impact on the confidence and self esteem of a man, so shying away from the issue is far more of a problem in the long term than simply seeking help from a health professional.”

“Once a patient has explained the symptoms of their problem, a pharmacist will be able to prescribe a treatment based on a number of factors. These may include any existing medical conditions a patient has (such as low blood pressure) and also the requirement of that individual – whether they anticipate needing fast, effective treatment that lasts a few hours or a longer term treatment that offers a 36 hour window of effectiveness.”

Talk to one of our qualified pharmacists today to discuss which option might be best for you, on 0208 123 0703.