What are the most effective Erectile Dysfunction Drugs? Find out with this Comparison Chart

by 7daypharmacy

Erectile dysfunction impacts millions of men around the world. It is a difficult health problem to deal with and is known to have a negative impact on mental health, self esteem and relationships. 


Originally created and launched by Pfizer in 1998, Viagra is the most well-known pill to treat  erectile dysfunction (ED). Also known as the ‘little blue pill’, due to its shape and size. The active ingredient, what makes this work, is known as Sildenafil, or sildenafil citrate. It is the key active ingredient that makes Viagra and other ED pills work. 

Although created to treat heart problems and low blood pressure, on finding it had other benefits, the FDA granted Pfizer the ability to sell this as an erectile dysfunction wonder drug around the world. However, in 2012, Pfizer lost the global patent and wasn’t able to recover it. 

What that meant is suddenly, other drugs manufacturers were able to get in on this market selling drugs where the main active ingredient is Sildenafil, or sildenafil citrate. So although no one else can sell Viagra, with that being a Pfizer brand, other companies can and do sell alternatives to men, with Sildenafil as the key active ingredient. You can purchase all of these with or without a prescription or doctors appointment; including buying them online or over the counter. 

The six most common and popular erectile dysfunction (ED) pills and medicines on the market are: Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and injections or the MUSE suppository. We compare them in the following table. 

A comparison of: Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and injections or the MUSE suppository


Drug Brand  When to take before sexual activity?  Suggested dose?  Any dietary restrictions when taking this? 
Viagra The most well known of drugs for this problem. It can be taken as long as 4 hours before sex and it can work for 4 hours, although it is usually recommended to take about 30 to 60 minutes before any potential sexual activity  The most generally recommended does is 50mg, although there are 25mg and 100mg versions of the tablets or capsules. If talking to a doctor about this they will know the most suitable dose for your overall health and dietary requirements  It is always going to be less effective if taken after a heavy or high-fat content meal, or after drinking too much. Ideally, take on an empty stomach and within an hour before any sexual activity. 
Cialis There are two versions of Cialis. One is the “day pill”, which can take 4 to 5 days before it starts working, and will only work if sexually aroused. The other version is a “weekender”, which similar to Viagra, can be taken 30 minutes before sexual activity and can stay in the system for as long as 36 hours.  Because of how strong and effective this is, the dosages may seem smaller than other pills. However, they work very well and are known for positive results. The “daily pills” come in either 2.5mg or 5mg tablet formats and are meant to be taken daily to get into the system. Whereas the “weekender” comes in 5mg, 10mg and 20mg dosages which is how it works so quickly and effectively stays active for as long as 36 hours  Side effects can include an increase in heart rate, a drop in blood pressure and dizziness, so it’s always recommended not to take alongside too much alcohol. An upper limit for drinking alongside this would be 5 glasses of wine or 5 shots of any kind of spirit. It can be taken after eating, so not as restrictive as Viagra. 
Staxyn With this, it comes in a sleek black package and can be taken without water – it just dissolves on the tongue, making it a more discrete way to handle erectile dysfunction. It can give men an erection within 20 to 30 minutes, so generally recommended to take no more than 1 hour before sexual activity  It comes in a single 10mg tablet and it’s recommended to take no more than once per day Don’t take at the same time as drinking any liquid as that will reduce its effectiveness. Place directly on the tongue and allow it to dissolve without chewing. Effective and fast working, so ideally don’t eat a heavy meal beforehand or drink excessively 
Stendra The manufacturer, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, have found that many men taking this get erections within 10 to 12 minutes, so they’ve asked the FDA to update US guidelines for these drugs. It is therefore recommended to take no more than 30 minutes before sex  One reason this is so effective and so fast working is that unlike other medicine the dosage is much higher, starting at 100mg. Take no more than 1 per day. For men taking any alpha-blocker drugs, the recommend safe dose is 50mg, which effects men with high blood pressure, heart problems or any prostrate medicine  Some of the side effects include high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and dizziness. So when taking this, it is recommended that people avoid drinking more than 3 alcoholic drinks. Although it can be taken with or without food due to the high normal dose of this medicine 
Levitra Take 1 hour before sex, and similar to Viagra, it can work for around 4 to 5 hours, although it can last longer and erections are known for happening sooner  Recommended starting does is 10mg, although for men over 65 the 5mg is generally prescribed as being just as effective, especially if any existing health concerns might be contributing to erectile dysfunction  It is worth recommending staying clear of any food or drinks that contain grapefruit, in the same way men that take alpha or beta blockers for the same reason. Generally more effective if you avoid a high-fat or heavy meal, and usually more effective when too much alcohol is avoided  
Penile injections or the MUSE suppository Ideally, it’s recommended that an injection or suppository is taken 5 to 10 minutes before planning sex and erections can last between 30 and 60 minutes. Sexual stimulation is required for these to work MUSE doses and injections come in 125mg doses and it is recommended that this is only taken once every 24 hours  Not affected by diet due to the way these medicines are taken 


More information about the medicine listed in the table:


Viagra: No article or any information about erectile dysfunction pills would be complete without this one, the famous little blue pill. Although there are many cheaper imitations in bar, pub and restaurant toilets – and of course online (not counting the list here, all of which are on the same level as the original, fully FDA approved, with the same or similar active ingredients), you can be in no doubt when you’ve bought and taken Viagra. It is more expensive than some of the others, with it being a globally protected brand of Pfizer. With erectile dysfunction impacting up to 21% of men across the world, many drugs companies, including Pfizer are now offering Viagra online and over the counter through select pharmacies. No need to see a doctor if you consider the problem a concern but not worrying enough to speak to a doctor about this.

Cialis is the brand name for a drug known as Tadalafil, also designed to treat erectile dysfunction. It can also contribute towards treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and pulmonary arterial hypertension; both related to blood pressure, which puts it in the right medicine family to treat and manage the symptoms of ED. It was first released in 2003 in the U.S. and UK, mainly available on prescription and in some cases, over the counter and online.

Staxyn: also known as vardenafil hydrochloride, is an orally dissolving tablet designed by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., with global distribution through GlaxoSmithKline, which gained approval in 2003. The manufacturer recommends that “Sexual stimulation is required for a response to treatment.” It is known for being an effective cure for erectile dysfunction.

Stendra: known as a “second-generation” medicine for ED, it’s also statistically proven to help treat patients in “difficult to treat populations”, according to the manufacturer, Metuchen Pharmaceuticals, LLC. There are also fewer side effects with this medicine.

Levitra: also known as Vardenafil, this is sold under slightly different names in India and Italy – Staxyn and Vivanza, respectively. Unlike other ED medicine, in the UK and US it’s a prescription only drug to avoid recreational misuse.

Penile injections or the MUSE suppository: This treatment is either injected into the penis or placed on the tip of the penis. It is known for being more effective when injected, ensuring at least 80% of men who take this get an erection. Anyone with a penile implant should not take this drug in either format and it is usually only prescribed through a doctor.


What happens if any of the above options don’t cure erectile dysfunction? 


In the event of taking one of the pills listed in the table above and it not working, it’s worth considering trying one of the others. 

If in doubt, however, it is always useful to remember a few things when taking any medication to cure erectile dysfunction: 

  1. It’s also important to remember that these rarely work alone. You need to be stimulated and aroused for the active ingredient to start working. 
  2. Most if not all have some dietary restrictions or limitations, such as not taking after a big meal or drinking too much 
  3. In some cases, these pills don’t mix well with other medicine, such as that for blood pressure. Heart medication could interact in a negative way with any of the above pills, as can anything based on grapefruit.  
  4. It’s also important to remember that these rarely work alone. You need to be stimulated and aroused for the active ingredient to start working. 
  5. Other factors that can influence whether these work or not include general physical health and mental health. 

Remember, taking this sort of medicine is generally speaking not a long-term solution, no matter how effective. Other dietary, health, lifestyle and mental health changes might be needed to ensure someone can get an erection naturally without relying permanently on medication. 

Disclaimer: This article and all articles published by 7daypharmacy are for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. The information within these articles is not a substitute for seeing a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other qualified medical professional. 7daypharmacy is an online catalog containing descriptions and prices of medical products,  and reviews of a medical subject. Our job is to help you to find, select and buy the right medical product at the best price in online drugstores and pharmacies in your country. Please note that: Self-medication can be dangerous to your health.