8 Things to do Before Taking Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

MedShadow offers tips so patients can make informed treatment choices

NEW YORK CITY, NY, October 9, 2014 – An estimated 30 million men in the US — and as many as 100 million worldwide —suffer from Erectile Dysfunction (ED), a condition which occurs when a man is unable to achieve — and sustain — the kind of erect penis needed for successful sexual intercourse.

Accounting for prescription drug sales of $4 to $5 billion annually, including the popular Viagra and Cialis, ED is treatable in most cases. To help patients make educated decisions and understand the side effects of ED drugs, the Medshadow Foundation, an online patient advocacy resource, today published “8 Things to Do Before Taking Erectile Dysfunction Drugs,” written by Sana Siwolop, a noted health writer and New York Times contributor.

“Some men are not candidates to cure their ED from popular drugs because of their health history and possible drug interaction,” explains Su Robotti, founder and president, MedShadow Foundation. “Some drugs that patients may already be taking — antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and statins, among them — can actually increase the likelihood a person could develop ED,” she warns. The report includes an  ED drug comparison chart. An abbreviated version of the “8 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Erectile Dysfunction Drugs” follows.

  1. Address existing medical problems and lifestyle issues as ED can be a sign of other, potentially more serious health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure (present in about 20% of men with ED), and severe heart disease (found in about 5% of ED sufferers).
  2. 2. Some drugs patients are already taking can increase the chances that ED will develop. Talk to your doctor as some over-the-counter and prescription medicines can actually lead to ED. These include antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety drugs, diuretics, high blood pressure drugs, antiarrhythmic, muscle relaxants, prostate and chemotherapy drugs, some NSAIDS, some antacid and heartburn medications as well as Parkinson’s drugs.
  3. ED drugs are highly effective and there are options based on personal preferences. The most commonly prescribed ED medications are called phosphodiesterase inhibitors (PDE-5) because they turn off an enzyme that blocks the formation of an erection. As a group, such drugs allow about 7 out of every 10 men to have successful sexual intercourse. Other options include penile injections, penile suppositories, testosterone replacement therapy and penile creams.
  4. Side effects of ED drugs are often minimal but some men need to avoid them entirely because of their medical history. As depicted in advertising, ED medications often appear to come with a long list of side effects. Most of these side effects are moderate, yet approximately 5% of men need to steer clear of these drugs because of pre-existing conditions and their interaction with other drugs they are taking.
  5. Compliance and regular commitment to taking ED drugs can be challenging. Men often find it challenging to comply with a plan to take erectile dysfunction drugs; sometimes the problem is the effectiveness of the drug itself, but it can also be a matter of unrealistic expectations or a need for more spontaneity.
  6. Men need to be aware of potential drug interactions. In some cases, drug combinations can worsen the side effects of one or more drugs.
  7. Fill ED prescriptions from a trusted pharmacist and beware of imitators and counterfeit versions. It’s wise to buy oral ED drugs from an accredited local pharmacy or an accredited online pharmacy.
  8. Consider alternative, non-drug therapies such as vacuum erection devices, penile implants, or vascular surgery. While some of the alternatives require surgery, many are highly effective.


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