Weighing the Pros & Cons of 4 Common ED Pills


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Over the last 25 years, ED medications such as Viagra and others have become common and normal pieces of bedroom tool kit. These little pills have helped hundreds of millions of men all over the world get hard and stay that way when it counts most.

While pills like Viagra, Cialis and Stendra might look similar, they’re unique medications with their own strengths and weaknesses for dealing with ED.

This means that there’s no one best drug for ED for every guy — instead, each medication comes with its own list of pros and cons, which could make one a better choice for your life than the others. 

Below, we’ve discussed what these medications are, as well as how they work to help you get hard, maintain your arousal and improve your performance. 

We’ve also listed the advantages and disadvantages of each ED treatment, from ease of use to duration of action, side effects and more.

The 4 Best ED Pills

The four best pills that are currently on the market to treat ED are sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra) and avanafil (Stendra). Of course, the best treatment for ED is whichever works for you.

All of these medications belong to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, or PDE5 inhibitors, which improve the flow of blood to the tissue inside your private parts.

This improvement in blood flow makes it easier for your privates to become firm and enlarged in response to stimulation. 

The FDA has approved all of these medications, and you’ll need a prescription to buy and use them as ED treatments. 

As for over-the-counter ED pills, these aren’t supported by any solid scientific evidence, and a few — including many of the ED pills sold in gas stations — are associated with serious safety risks. That means it’s best to avoid them.

We’ve profiled all four FDA-approved ED treatments below, and provided some information on which pill is usually the best for each purpose.

Sildenafil (The Active Ingredient in Viagra)

Sildenafil is the OG prescription medication for ED. It came onto the market in the late ‘90s under the brand name Viagra and, for several years, was the only medication available for men with ED. 

Today, sildenafil is available in its generic version, meaning it’s much more affordable than when it first hit the market. It works quickly, provides relief from ED for several hours and is sold in just about every pharmacy, making it a reliable option for improving your performance.

  • Best for: Guys who want a reliable treatment option for ED, with a long track record and a good price per tablet.

  • Advantages: Sildenafil starts working in less than one hour and provides relief from ED for about four hours per pill, making it great for a single night.

  • Disadvantages. Sildenafil takes longer to work after a large, high-fat meal and can’t be taken more than once a day, making it less than ideal for twice-a-day (or more) performances. 

(RelatedHow Long Does It Take for L-Citrulline to Work for ED?)

Sildenafil Advantages

Sildenafil is ol’ reliable when it comes to treating ED. It’s been around for decades, is affordable, is readily available and, well, just works. In research published by the FDA, between 63 and 82 percent of men with ED showed improvements after taking it.

A more recent study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine found that 98.4 percent of men with ED who used sildenafil reported improved performances.

A typical dose of sildenafil lasts for approximately four hours, making it a good option if you want an ED pill that’s designed to last for one night of bedroom activity.

Since sildenafil doesn’t last for too long, it could be a good choice if you often notice side effects from ED pills and don’t want them to persist for hours after you perform. 

Finally, sildenafil is a good ED treatment from a cost perspective. Provided you stick to generics, each pill only costs a few dollars, meaning you won’t need to spend much to enjoy better performances. 

Sildenafil Disadvantages

Sildenafil is only active for about four hours, so you’ll need to take it close to the time you plan to perform. 

This means that you might have to plan ahead of time if you’re going out on a date and want to make sure sildenafil is working its magic once you get home. 

You can also only use sildenafil once every 24 hours, meaning this ED pill might not be the best option if you and your partner like to have performances more than once a day. 

Sildenafil is affected by food and might take longer to begin working if you have a fatty meal just before or after you take it. 

It can also cause side effects, including:

  • Headaches

  • Flushing

  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)

  • Changes in vision

  • Nasal congestion

  • Muscle soreness

  • Back pain

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Rash

However, it’s important to keep in mind that most side effects of sildenafil can also develop with other ED medications. 

Tadalafil (the Active Ingredient in Cialis)

Tadalafil is the active ingredient in Cialis, which was approved by the FDA as an ED medication in 2003. These days, it’s available in its generic form and as a brand name for use as-needed or as a daily tablet that improves blood flow and makes getting hard easier.

Thanks to its very long duration of action — something we’ve discussed in more detail below — tadalafil is sometimes referred to as the “weekend pill” for treating ED.

Like sildenafil, tadalafil has a long track record. It’s been researched extensively, meaning both its effects and its side effects are well known.

  • Best for: Men who like a long-lasting pill to treat ED, allowing for spontaneous performance or performances more than once a day.

  • Advantages: Tadalafil lasts longer than any other ED treatment, with one pill providing relief from ED for approximately 36 hours. It can also be taken daily at a low dosage.

  • Disadvantages: Tadalafil might last longer than needed for many men. Tadalafil’s long duration of action means side effects may persist for longer than with other ED pills.

Tadalafil Advantages

Tadalafil has a half-life of 17.5 hours, meaning it remains active in your body for far longer than other ED medications. A single dose of tadalafil can improve blood flow to your penis and make it easier to get hard for up to 36 hours.

This makes tadalafil a great choice if you want to have performances more than once a day, or only want to take one pill over the course of an entire weekend.

Another advantage of tadalafil is that it’s also available as a daily-use medication. This version of tadalafil is ideal if you want to have performances spontaneously during the day, or prefer to take your ED tablet on a daily basis instead of as-needed.

You can also take tadalafil without regard to food, meaning there’s no need to avoid large meals before using this medication. 

Tadalafil Disadvantages

Tadalafil’s biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. Because it’s a long-lasting drug, it can cause side effects that may continue for up to 36 hours after a typical dose.

So, if you’re prone to side effects from oral medication for ED, you might prefer to use a shorter-acting ED medication, like sildenafil, vardenafil or Stendra.

A second disadvantage of tadalafil is its price. Tadalafil is slightly more expensive than sildenafil on a per-tablet basis, although this may be less of a concern if you have performances more than one time per dose. 

Vardenafil (the Active Ingredient in Levitra)

Vardenafil is the active ingredient in Levitra, and was approved by the FDA in 2003. Vardenafil is similar to sildenafil but lasts longer, with research suggesting that it provides better blood flow and stronger hard ons for five to seven hours per dose.

  • Best for: Men who want a slightly longer-lasting ED medication than sildenafil, but don’t want the all-day effects of tadalafil.

  • Advantages: Vardenafil lasts for longer than sildenafil and usually starts working faster.

  • Disadvantages: Vardenafil is typically more expensive than sildenafil. Like sildenafil, it can only be taken one time per day. 

Vardenafil Advantages

Vardenafil offers several advantages, most of which are related to time. First, it lasts for slightly longer than sildenafil, meaning you have a little extra flexibility regarding when you take it prior to performing.

This longer duration of action also means vardenafil could be a good choice if you like to perform twice a night. 

Second, it starts working quickly, with research suggesting it kicks in after less than 10 minutes in some men (still, it’s best to take it at least 30 minutes before performing).

Vardenafil Disadvantages

Like sildenafil, vardenafil can only be used one time per day. This means it may not be the best ED pill if you plan to perform several times in a day with a break between rounds one and two — for example, once in the daytime and once at night.

Vardenafil also has similar side effects to other ED drugs. Common adverse effects of vardenafil include:

  • Headaches

  • Flushing

  • Nasal congestion

  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)

  • Sinusitis (sinus inflammation)

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Increased creatine kinase (CK) levels

  • Dizziness

  • Back pain

  • Nausea

Vardenafil is usually more expensive than sildenafil on a per-dose basis. This may make it less appealing as an ED pill if you’re budget conscious and only need relief from ED for a few hours at a time. 

Stendra (Avanafil)

  • Best for: Men who want a fast-acting ED pill that can be taken almost right before performing, without having to worry about avoiding certain foods.

  • Advantages: Stendra acts quickly — often in as little as 15 minutes — and is less likely to cause side effects than older ED pills. 

  • Disadvantages: Stendra isn’t available as a generic medication, meaning it costs more per tablet than other ED drugs. While side effects are less common, they can still occur. 

Stendra contains the active ingredient avanafil, and is a newer ED medication that received FDA approval in 2012. 

Avanafil is a newer-generation PDE5 inhibitor that’s more selective than older ED pills about how it inhibits enzymes. It’s less likely to cause side effects than older medications and begins working faster. However, it’s only available under the brand name Stendra, with no generic. 

Stendra Advantages

As a second-generation PDE5 inhibitor, Stendra offers several advantages over older drugs for treating ED.

The first is that it’s fast. Stendra is designed for use 30 minutes before performing, although research suggests that it’s effective at treating ED when it’s taken 15 minutes before any activity.

Because avanafil is more selective for PDE5 than older ED medications, it’s less likely to cause some side effects.

If you’re prone to side effects from sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil, switching to avanafil may be a helpful way to access the benefits of ED medication with a milder side effect profile.

Stendra Disadvantages

The main disadvantage of Stendra is its cost. Because Stendra is a new ED treatment, it’s still under patent protection. This means there’s no generic form of avanafil — its active ingredient — available in the US. 

Although certain side effects are less common with avanafil than with older medications for ED, they can — and often do — still occur. Some of the most common side effects of avanafil include headache, flushing, back pain, nasal congestion and nasopharyngitis (cold-like symptoms in the nasal passages).

ED Pill Interactions and Risks

Sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and Stendra are all safe and effective medications when they’re used as prescribed.

However, all medications for ED have the potential to interact with other medications, including several medications for hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease.

If you’re considering using any type of ED medication, you’ll need to be aware of the following potential drug interaction: 

  • Nitrates. When used with nitrates, ED medications can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure that may be life-threatening. Nitrates include nitroglycerin and poppers used for recreational purposes.

  • Antihypertensives. Certain other medications used to treat high blood pressure, such as alpha blockers, may interact with ED medications.

  • CYP3A4 inhibitors. Medications that inhibit the enzyme CYP3A4, such as some protease inhibitors, antifungals and antibiotics, may cause interactions when used with ED pills.

Although very uncommon, ED medications may also cause priapism — prolonged, painful hard ons that can damage the tissue of your penis. It’s important to seek medical help as soon as you can if you develop a persistent and/or painful hard ons. 

Before you use any type of ED medication, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you currently use, as well as any medical conditions you have. 

(RelatedThe 5 Best Drinks for ED)

What’s the Best ED Medication?

Since ED symptoms can differ from person to person and everyone’s needs are different, there isn’t a “best” ED pill for every man.

Each pill offers a slightly different experience, from a longer duration of action to a reduced risk of side effects. 

If you’re considering ED medication and don’t know which pill is best for you, you’ll want to keep the following in mind: 

  • Sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra) are short-acting, “one-night” ED medications that are both available as generics, making them good medications to try first.

  • Tadalafil (Cialis) is much longer-lasting and is a good option if you prefer “all day” relief from ED.

  • Stendra (which contains the ingredient avanafil) is newer, kicks in fast and doesn’t cause as many side effects as older ED pills, but costs more per tablet. 

Above all, you’ll want to provide as much information as you can about your symptoms to your healthcare provider, then closely follow their recommendations to get the best results from any ED medication. 

Used right, ED pills can do more than just give you firmer hard ons — they can also boost your self-confidence in bed

This article originally appeared on Hims.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

Weight Loss Medications: Are They Actually Effective?

It’s common knowledge that managing your weight keeps you healthy now and as you get older. In fact, obesity contributes to several health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Not only was the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults nearly 42 percent in 2017, but the estimated medical costs for adults with obesity were almost $2,000 more each year than for adults who do not have obesity .

Those who have a body mass index (BMI, or the measurement of fat based on height and weight) between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered to have obesity.

You’ve probably heard of a few weight loss medications, or at least their brand names, like Ozempic® and Wegovy®. However, there are several other prescription drugs available that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and frequently prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Healthcare providers may prescribe these medications to someone who has obesity or is overweight with a weight-related health problem like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.


You’re probably familiar with one of semaglutide’s brand names, Ozempic — other brand names for this drug include Wegovy and Rybelsus®.

Ozempic is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes and may be prescribed off-label for weight loss, in combination with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise or with other diabetes medications like insulin or metformin.

Wegovy, meanwhile, is a prescription medication approved for use for weight loss in people who have obesity or who are overweight.

Ozempic and Wegovy are in a class of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and target areas of the brain that regulate appetite.

Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017, while Wegovy was granted approval to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk more recently, in 2021.


Although only approved by the FDA to treat diabetes, metformin is often used off-label for weight loss, as well as gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

It isn’t exactly clear how metformin helps people lose weight, but researchers think the drug works as an appetite suppressant. Similarly to Ozempic, metformin may increase how much GLP-1 hormone your body makes. This can send a signal to your brain that you’re full, which means you eat fewer calories.

Read our blog to learn about Ozempic vs. Metformin for weight loss.

(Related: Metformin For Weight Loss: Does It Work?)

Tatsiana Niamera/istockphoto

If you’ve dealt with depression or looked into medication to quit smoking, bupropion may sound familiar to you.

For weight loss, it can be combined with the drug naltrexone, which is used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, to curb your hunger or make you feel fuller sooner. Together, these medications work on two areas of the brain, the hunger center and the reward system, to reduce appetite and help control cravings.

Along with a reduced calorie diet and exercise plan, naltrexone-bupropion can also help keep excess weight off.


Phentermine-topiramate is actually two separate medications that are combined in Qsymia, but are offered separately in other applications. 

While phentermine is considered an anorectic and topiramate is an anticonvulsant, both help with appetite suppression.

Topiramate offers the added benefit of helping you feel fuller longer after you eat.

When used specifically with a healthy exercise regimen and a reduced calorie diet, these medications — either together or separately — have been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off.


Orlistat, which belongs to a class of medications known as lipase inhibitors, reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat.

Orlistat is used for weight loss in conjunction with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, as well as after weight loss to help people keep from gaining back that weight.

While the brand name Xenical requires a prescription, another brand called Alli is available in a lower dosage without one.


Like Ozempic and Wegovy, liraglutide is an injected weight loss medication. It works as a GLP-1 receptor agonist to suppress appetite, similarly to semaglutide.

Also available under the brand name Victoza at a lower dose, this drug is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

(Related: Weight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)


These weight loss drugs are all available with a prescription from a healthcare professional, but how effective are they really?

  • One study found that when people without diabetes took a weekly semaglutide injection they had a higher average weight loss — almost a 15 percent average decrease in weight — than people who took a placebo.

  • Metformin has also demonstrated clinically significant weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis of 21 trials testing metformin found the drug had a modest impact on lowering BMI, especially for those who are considered to have obesity.

  • smaller study on metformin also found that the average amount of weight lost in 154 patients was between 5.6 and 7 kgs (that’s roughly between 13 and 15 pounds).

It’s also worth mentioning cost here — if you can’t afford the drug you need to take, it’s effectiveness essentially drops to zero percent. That said, there’s some wide price disparity between weight loss drugs. 

For instance, injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy are generally more expensive than orals like metformin — namely because metformin is a generic medication that’s been around for decades, and Ozempic and Wegovy are newer. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Because everyone’s weight loss journey is different, weight loss medications may work slowly for some people and faster for others.

How long you need to take a weight loss prescription drug depends on various factors such as what side effects you experience, how much weight you need to lose, whether the drug helps keep the weight off and more.

Generally, as found in the studies noted above and clinical trials, weight loss will occur within the first few months of using the medication.

Sometimes your health care professional may recommend long-term use of the medication, while other people may be advised to stop the drug if they don’t lose a certain amount of weight after 12 weeks.

If you’re taking a weight loss medication, your healthcare provider will likely suggest that you also increase your physical activity and make healthy lifestyle changes like eating lots of protein and fiber and getting enough sleep. These medications are the most effective when combined with healthy habits.

Jorge Elizaquibel/istockphoto

Just like any medication, weight loss drugs also come with the possibility of side effects.

When it comes to injectibal drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, there are some broad side effects that apply to all injectibals — like swelling, redness or other discomfort at the injection site — but generally, the side effects profiles of these drugs are similar regardless of delivery method.

The most common side effects of many of these weight loss medications include:

  • Stomach pain or constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

Some, like liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion, may cause an increased heart rate or headaches.

Liraglutide and semaglutide may also increase the risk of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). You may also have a higher risk of developing tumors or thyroid cancer when using liraglutide or semaglutide, although these serious side effects are very rare.


There’s a good chance you’ve heard of weight loss medications like Ozempic or even Wegovy, but there’s also a good chance that the headlines and celebrity-focused articles didn’t answer all your questions. Here’s what you need to know about whether they’re effective.

  • There are several FDA-approved weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, orlistat, phentermine-topiramate, naltrexone-bupropion and liraglutide. Metformin is another common medication used off-label for weight management.

  • These drugs all work slightly differently, but many decrease your appetite and help you stick to a lower-calorie diet. Healthcare providers often recommend they be used alongside regular exercise and healthy habits to maximize sustained weight loss.

  • However, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation and, for the injectibals, injection-side irritation, injury or discomfort. Often, these are mild and serious side effects rarely happen.

  • Cost is also worth considering. Injectibals like Ozempic and Wegovy can generally cost anywhere from $800 to $1,000 per prescription, where a generic like metformin can be had for a fraction of that — usually for under $100 a month.

There’s no one “best weight loss medication” — there’s only what’s best for your particular needs. If you’re curious about medication for weight loss, you can talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and to explore your options. And if you’re interested in other weight loss treatments online, we can help. 

This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.



Featured Image Credit: stefanamer/istockphoto.