- Doctors commonly prescribe medications known as PDE5 inhibitors to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) because they help to increase blood flow to the penis.
- Viagra is the most popular PDE5 inhibitor, but it may not be the best choice for all men, especially those who take nitrates.
- Levitra and Staxyn are other PDE5 inhibitors that men can take to treat erectile dysfunction.
- Consult your doctor to determine which ED medication is best for your needs.
Levitra vs. Staxyn
|Generic name||vardenafil HCl||vardenafil|
|Typical dosage||10 mg||10 mg|
|How you take it||Swallow pill with water||Dissolving tablet on tongue|
|How long it takes to work||60 minutes||15 minutes|
|How long it lasts||4-5 hours||4-5 hours|
|Most common side effects (according to manufacturers)||Headache, flushing, nasal congestion, dyspepsia, sinusitis, flu syndrome, dizziness, increased creatine kinase, nausea, back pain||Flushing, stuffy nose, sinus pain, headache, dizziness, upset stomach, back pain|
|Best for||Men with diabetes||Men who don’t swallow pills well, men looking for faster action|
If you or someone you know has erectile dysfunction (ED), then you’ve probably heard of Viagra. Viagra is the most popular medication to treat erectile dysfunction, but like all medications, it doesn’t work the same for every man.
Luckily, Viagra is not the only ED medication available. If you’ve tried it and decided it wasn’t for you, it’s a good idea to try another medication before giving up.
But first, here’s a brief overview of ED for those who have questions.
Overview of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, also known as male impotence, occurs when men have trouble getting or keeping an erection that is firm enough for sex. This happens because the penis is not getting adequate blood flow to support an erection.
Impotence can happen occasionally, like after a night of too much drinking, or it can be a common occurrence. If it is happening regularly, you should consult your doctor to determine the best course of treatment. These treatment options will depend on what’s causing your ED.
Factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction include:
- Poor diet and obesity
- Smoking or excessive drug/alcohol use
- Mental health concerns like anxiety and depression
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes
- Certain medications
If your ED is caused by lifestyle choices, your doctor may recommend starting a physical activity routine, quitting smoking, or finding ways to reduce your stress. Other times, your doctor may recommend you speak to a counselor or consider medication to improve your mood.
If blood flow restriction is the main cause of your ED, your doctor may prescribe you what’s called a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, also known as a PDE5 inhibitor. All ED meds belong to this class of drugs.
About Erectile Dysfunction Medications
PDE5 inhibitors work to improve blood flow to the penis. They work by preventing an enzyme (PDE5) from breaking down molecules that can help you get an erection. As a result, your blood vessels relax, which allows better blood flow to the penis, helping you get an erection.
The first PDE5 inhibitor on the market, and the most popular ED medication, is Viagra. Viagra was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998, and by 2008, more than $2 billion worth of pills were sold. This gives you an idea of how many men get erectile dysfunction and how successful Viagra is in treating this condition.
So, if Viagra is the most popular ED medication, why would men choose to take anything else?
Why Not Choose Viagra?
Like any medication, Viagra won’t have the same results for every guy who takes it. While Viagra is a highly successful medication for ED, it’s success rate is not 100 percent; according to one study, it’s more like 82 percent.
Side effects can also be an issue with Viagra. Though side effects are similar in most PDE5 inhibitors, one man may react strongly to one but not another. So, if you have tried Viagra and don’t want to take it again because of a negative reaction, don’t be afraid to try another medication.
Exploring Other ED Medication Options
Fortunately, Viagra is not the only ED drug on the market now. Other popular ED medication treatments include Levitra and Staxyn. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Levitra (generic name vardenafil HCl) entered the market five years after Viagra, in 2003. It is structurally similar to Viagra, but it’s a lot stronger. That means you can take a smaller dose of Levitra to get the same effect.
Doctors recommend starting with 10 milligrams of Levitra (or 5 milligrams if you’re over age 65) and increasing or decreasing depending on how it works for you. This medication can be taken 60 minutes before you want to have sex.
Staxyn (also vardenafil) is very similar to Levitra, though it didn’t hit the market until 2010, 12 years after Viagra was introduced. Staxyn and Levitra have the same active ingredient (vardenafil), but the way you take it is different.
With Levitra, you have to swallow the pill with water. With Staxyn, you can dissolve it on your tongue, no water required. While you need to take Levitra an hour before having sex, Staxyn works much faster — in about 15 minutes. Many men prefer Staxyn for this reason; it allows for more spontaneity in their love lives.
Still not sure which one is best for you? Check out the table above for a detailed comparison between Levitra and Staxyn.
Getting diagnosed with erectile dysfunction can leave you feeling intimidated and embarrassed, but after reading this article, you should also feel hopeful. There are a lot of things you can do to improve your erectile function, including changing your diet, increasing your physical activity, and other lifestyle changes.
Not sure where to start? eDrugstore.com makes it easy for men to get treatments like Levitra and Staxyn for health concerns like erectile dysfunction. Check out our medication guide, or take advantage of our free online consultation to order medications at the click of a button or by calling 1-800-467-5146. Virtual health visits and shipping are always free.
Kwynn holds a Master of Public Health and is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Work. Her research examines the intersections of health, technology, and gender-based violence.