Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Comparison Chart

This chart compares 6 major erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs currently on the market: Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Staxyn, Stendra, Caverject injections, and the MUSE suppository. 

 

Name of Drug
When to Take
Dose
Dietary Restrictions
Viagra (sildenafil)
Take between 30 and 60 minutes (and up to 4 hours) before sex; works for up to 4 hours.
Recommended dose for most men is 50 mg; after that, dosage may go to as high as 100 mg, or as low as 25 mg, which may be prescribed for men over 65.

 Quickly absorbed by the body; slower absorption after a high-fat meal and best taken on an empty stomach. Avoid grapefruit juice, which can make side effects worse.

Name of Drug
When to Take
Dose
Dietary Restrictions
Levitra (vardenafil)
Take 1 hour before sex; works for about 4 hours, and may work slightly more quickly than Viagra
Starting dose for most men is 10 mg a day, but men over 65 often start on the 5 mg pill.
Can be taken with or without food, although absorbed more slowly after a high-fat meal.  Avoid grapefruit juice; it may make side effects worse.
Name of Drug
When to Take
Dose
Dietary Restrictions
Cialis (tadalafil)
Can be taken two different ways: daily or as needed. Taken daily it stays effective between doses but may take four to five days before it begins working. When taken as needed, sometimes called the “weekend pill,”  Cialis can start working in as little as 30 minutes for men who take the highest dose of the drug (20 mg). At as-needed doses, it can stay effective in the body for up to 36 hours.

Comes in 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 mg strengths. The daily dosage is 2.5 mg but can go up to 5 mg; most men start with the lower dose. For use-as-needed, or as a weekend pill, the starting dose is usually 10 mg but can be as low as 5 mg or as high as 20 mg.

Can be taken with or without food.  Avoid heavy drinking (five standard drinks); when combined with Cialis, it can lead to headaches, dizziness, an increase in heart rate, and a drop in blood pressure. Also, avoid grapefruit juice.
Name of Drug
When to Take
Dose
Dietary Restrictions
Staxyn (vardenafil)
 Take 1 hour before sex, although many men report erections in 20 to 30 minutes.  Because Staxyn comes in a sleek black package and is taken as a rapidly dissolving tablet (without water), some men think of it as a more discrete way to treat ED.
Comes in 10 mg tablets; do not take more than once a day.
Can be taken with or without food but must be allowed to dissolve on the tongue without chewing.
Name of Drug
When to Take
Dose
Dietary Restrictions
Stendra (avanafil)
Take it 15 minutes before sex; some men report results in as little as 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the dose.
Starting dose is 100 mg for most men, but the 50 mg tablet is recommended for men taking alpha-blockers or some other high blood pressure drugs, or certain antifungals, antibiotics, or HIV drugs. But men taking certain drugs in these classes shouldn’t take Stendra at all.

May be taken with or without food, and with a moderate amount of alcohol (three drinks).   Drinking more than that can increase the chances of side effects like rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, dizziness, and headaches. Grapefruit juice should be avoided

Name of Drug
When to Take
Dose
Dietary Restrictions
Caverject (alprostadil injection), MUSE (alprostadil suppository)
Take 5 to 10 minutes before planning to have sex; erections last for 30 to 60 minutes.
Most men start MUSE suppositories at 125 mcg (micrograms), and Caverject injections at 2.5 mcg. Avoid taking more than twice within a 24-hour period.
N/A

 


Sana Siwolop

Sana Siwolop

Sana is a New York-based science and business journalist who has written for national publications, including The New York Times, Business Week and Discover. She teaches journalism at St. John's University in New York City.


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