newspaper with Health News headline

Erectile dysfunction: a brief history

Vintage erectile dysfunction treatmentErectile dysfunction (ED) is a term we hear frequently nowadays. On television, on the radio, in magazines, and on the internet, we are bombarded with advice on how to deal with ED, advertisements for medications to treat it, and articles for partners of the men who have it. With this apparently sudden explosion in interest, you’d be forgiven for thinking that ED was a 20th century invention.

Well, we can confirm that it wasn’t. As long as men have had penises (so, always), erectile dysfunction has been a hot topic, and doctors have been trying to combat it since time immemorial. The earliest recorded incidence of ED comes from India in the 8th century BC. The popular theory among doctors at the time was that ED was caused by having sex with “undesirable” women. Treatments included herbal medicines with additives from animals that were thought to increase desire or arousal. Alligators, mice, frogs, and sparrows were all animals that contributed to the concoctions of the time. Read in full

Erectile dysfunction part 2: the treatments

Photos of packs tablets for erectile dysfunction treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a surprisingly common ailment, affecting around 50% of men in the UK between the ages of 40 and 70. Given its prevalence, one might think treatment would be easy and straightforward; however, many men find that this is not the case. Since ED can be caused by a combination of factors, pinpointing the cause is the first step in treating erectile dysfunction. For some men their medication is the culprit, and ED can be remedied by changing the dosage or substituting the medication for another drug. If the problem is relationship troubles, therapy can be effective.

If the cause isn’t clear-cut, however, men have many different options to explore to help reduce or reverse symptoms. Read in full

Erectile dysfunction part 1: the stats, the science, the causes

Erectile dysfunction stats and causes graphic

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very real and debilitating disorder that affects about 22% of men between the ages of 20 and 75. With the advent of erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and Spedra (avanafil), in the late 90s brought about a “second sexual revolution”. These drugs soared in popularity, and men everywhere realised that they were not alone in their struggle with erectile dysfunction.

In this day and age, men have more options than ever before to treat erectile dysfunction. However, the first step is the same for all treatment options: seek professional help. This is easier said than done, as one study shows that 74% of ED sufferers aged 50 and older did not discuss their sexual dysfunction issues with their doctor. While erectile dysfunction is a highly personal issue, rest assured that your doctor HAS seen and heard it all before. ED is a legitimate health condition that requires proper medical attention, and men should always consult a doctor before obtaining treatment. Read in full

Sildenafil over the counter

sildenafil over the counterPfizer, the pharmaceutical company that developed Viagra (sildenafil), has applied to the UK medicines regulator (MHRA) to reclassify it’s erectile dysfunction (ED) drug from prescription-only to ‘P’ (Pharmacy). This would allow pharmacies to sell sildenafil over the counter without a prescription.

The application is for sildenafil 50mg only in a maximum pack size of 8 tablets. Sildenafil tablets are available on prescription in strengths of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg in pack sizes of four and eight tablets.

The move follows the expiry of Pfizer’s exclusive patent for Viagra in 2013. After the patent expired other pharmaceutical companies, apart from Pfizer, have been permitted to supply their own sildenafil tablets, sometimes known as generic Viagra.

The application has support from the pharmacy industry: “Sildenafil is one of the most counterfeited medicines,” said Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Martin Astbury, with many men “resorting to the internet to buy medication”. Read in full

Side effects of Cialis

Photo of senior man reading Cialis advice leafletCialis is a treatment for erectile dysfunction. It works in a similar way to Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra, and Spedra, and has similar side effects.

The proper medical name for Cialis is tadalafil. Tadalafil, like the other commonly used erectile dysfunction tablets, is a PDE5 inhibitor, which means it works by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase. This in turn changes the blood flow in the penis and improves erections.

A single Cialis tablet will usually remain active for 36 hours, which is longer than Viagra/sildenafil, Levitra, or Spedra. Cialis is sometimes called the ‘weekend pill’ because it works for longer than other treatments. Like other erectile dysfunction tablets, Cialis only works if there is sexual stimulation. If there is no stimulation, Cialis remains inactive. After 36 hours the effects wear-off.

The patent for Cialis expired November 2017 and lower cost generic Tadalafil is now available.

Read in full

Why it’s important to consult with a doctor before taking Viagra

Doctor taking blood pressure senior manWith all of the publicity surrounding ‘the little blue pill’, it may seem as though you could just borrow one from a friend to help you regain your sex life. But while Viagra is effective, and has relatively few side effects, it is a prescription-only medicine and must be taken under a doctor’s care.

Some patients are not good candidates for Viagra; due to certain medical conditions or other medications they are taking they may be at higher risk of side effects. Erectile dysfunction can be indicative of an underlying health condition that should be treated before considering Viagra, and still other cases of ED are psychological, requiring counselling and therapy instead of medication.

Learn why it is important that Viagra, and all other PDE5 inhibitors, be taken only under a doctor’s care. Read in full

How long does sildenafil last?

man checking packet of sildenafilOne of the most common questions associated with sildenafil and other PDE5 inhibitors is how long does it last?

The simple answer is usually around 4 hours, with the maximum effect between 30 mins and 2.5 hours after takingsee graph below. However several factors will have an effect on how quickly the drug is absorbed and expelled from the bloodstream.

Prices & how to order  
Regulated service icons Trusted Shops icon

The following timeline has been collated from several studies:

  • First responders: 12 minutes
    Some men report achieving an erection as quickly as 12 minutes.
  • Average responders: 27 minutes
    Most men start to feel the benefit of sildenafil after 27 minutes.
  • Maximum effect: 57 minutes
    After 1 hour, the maximum concentration of the drug is in the bloodstream (this may increase by another hour if food was eaten prior to taking sildenafil).
  • Half mast: 4 hours
    Sildenafil has a 4-hour ‘half-life’, meaning half of the drug has left the bloodstream after 4 hours.
  • Still effective?: 10 hours
    Some men may still be able to achieve a satisfactory erection after 10 hours, although the duration will become shorter.
  • All gone: 24 hours
    After 24 hours all traces of the drug in the bloodstream has practically gone.

As soon as a potential patient thinks of taking medicine for erectile dysfunction the practical questions come into play:

  • who can take it?
  • what is the drug composed of?
  • when should you take it?
  • how long does it last?

Though specific questions or concerns should always be discussed with a doctor, it never hurts to be informed about any medicine you are thinking of taking. Read in full

How mens’ health affects erections

man having a blood pressure check at doctors surgeryErectile dysfunction is widely recognised as a quality-of-life issue that affects self-confidence and relationships, but experts agree that erections, or erection problems, can also be a measure of mens’ general wellbeing.

Some go so far as to claim that the penis is the barometer of a man’s health. And though it can be argued that due to the large number of possible causes of erectile dysfunction (ranging from psychological issues to the side effects of medication), a man’s ability to achieve an erection is not always indicative of his overall state of health, a number of studies prove that in otherwise healthy men erectile dysfunction can be an early sign of heart disease. Read in full