The Best Type of Viagra for Men with ED

Written by
The Manual Team
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
4th May 2021

In 30 Seconds

What’s the best type of Viagra for men with erectile dysfunction? In reality, there’s only one type of Viagra. All Viagra is powered by the drug Sildenafil, which helps to increase your chances of an erection by boosting blood flow to the penis.

Viagra comes in different strengths of medication. In 25, 50, or 100mg doses of Sildenafil, with the 50mg version known as Viagra Connect. Yet, the ‘best’ type will depend on you personally. While the 100mg version might prove most effective, for example, it might increase your chances of side effects.

Other types of ED medication include Cialis, otherwise known as Tadalafil. This works in a similar way to Sildenafil, but it can be effective for a lot longer. And that might make it a preferable option.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction

How can you treat erectile dysfunction? There are many ways. From lifestyle changes – like exercising or quitting cigarettes and alcohol – to more radical surgical interventions, there are many options for men with erectile problems.

You’ve probably heard of one of the most famous methods for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), however. That’s Pfizer’s Viagra. Or, to avoid the brand name, the drug Sildenafil Citrate. It’s the preferred option for many because all you need to do is take a pill – and you’ve got a pretty great chance of success.

Famous, then, but also easy and effective. But what’s the best type of Viagra for men with ED? The truth is that there aren’t types to choose from exactly, only different doses. And there are many similar drugs that you should be well aware of too.  

What is Viagra?

Viagra is the most well-known treatment for ED on the market. Yet, behind the famous brand name is the lesser-known active ingredient that actually does the heavy lifting. That’s Sildenafil – one of the class of drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors.

These drugs work by targeting an enzyme – phosphodiesterase 5 (or PDE5) – that’s responsible for smooth muscle contraction in the penis. By inhibiting this enzyme, drugs like Sildenafil allow more blood to flow to where it’s needed, increasing your chances of achieving and sustaining an erection.

It’s as simple as that. Yet, the beauty of these drugs is that they are highly effective. In the case of Viagra, for example, over 80% of men who use it are able to achieve an erection.

Sounds Good, But What Are the Side Effects?

Before you take the plunge, though, there are three crucial things you need to know. First, Viagra stays in your system for about 4 hours – but you will need sexual stimulation to achieve an erection. Don’t expect a continuous erection for all this time (that’s actually known as priapism, and it can be very dangerous).

Secondly, there are side effects, which will determine which is the best type of Viagra or ED medication for you. If you regularly experience chest pain, indigestion, vision changes, or dizziness – or one of the more serious side effects – when you take a high dose of Viagra, you may want to try an alternative.

Finally, medical advice from the NHS and the US FDA (the Food and Drugs Administration) states that you shouldn’t take Viagra or other PDE5 inhibitors if you have heart disease, or you are taking drugs for high blood pressure. This increases the chance of those side effects – and they’re best avoided.

The Best Type of Viagra?

While it’s a common question people ask, there isn’t really a best type of Viagra. Why? Because there is actually only one active ingredient – that’s Sildenafil. Although this ‘type’ comes in different doses.

So, while Viagra, Viagra Connect, and the generic unbranded version, Sildenafil, all have different names, they all have the same active ingredient in them: Sildenafil. Viagra and unbranded Sildenafil tablets are both available in doses of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg, and the one you will take will depend on your sensitivity to the medicine’s side effects. Viagra Connect, meanwhile, is just the name for Viagra’s 50mg pill. This is the one you can get over the counter.

Research shows that, for 74% of men, 50mg is enough to help achieve an erection. If it doesn’t work for you the first time, we recommend giving it up to 8 more attempts before you try the higher dose or switch to an alternative. If 50mg gives you intolerable side effects, however, you can try the 25mg dose.

Remember, the highest dose does not always mean the best results. The chances become higher that you will experience side effects. So, while it may be the best type of Viagra for many, it might not be for everyone.

Other PDE5 Inhibitors?

While Sildenafil has been identified by research as the most effective PDE5 inhibitor for ED treatment, it may not be the best drug of that type for you. Other considerations, including side effects and length of effectiveness, will help you to make an informed decision.

So, what are other ED drugs like Viagra and Sildenafil? Here are some of the most popular.

Tadalafil (Cialis)

After Viagra, Cialis is probably the next best-known ED medication around. The major difference? The effects of the drug can be felt up to 36 hours after you have taken it. That’s what gives the drug its nickname, ‘the weekend pill’ – and you may feel like this gives you an extra bit of spontaneity.

Other than that, it works in almost exactly the same way. Where Sildenafil is effective in 82% of cases, Tadalafil seems to be effective in 81%. The difference there is tiny. Yet, according to some, Tadalafil is less likely to produce the more common side effects associated with PDE5 inhibitors.

Vardenafil (Levitra) and Avanafil (Stendra)

Lesser-known alternatives to Viagra and Cialis are Vardenafil and Avanafil. Also PDE5 inhibitors, these have been shown to be a little less effective overall. In terms of side effects, these are similar to those of Viagra.

However, they are often recommended by healthcare professionals in instances where Viagra and Cialis have not been effective. As we say, what works for one person may not work for another, and vice versa.

Key Takeaways

What is the best type of Viagra for men with ED? While there is only one type of Viagra, the doses change. For most men, the 50mg dose (known as Viagra Connect) or the 100mg dose will be your best option. However, the one you choose will depend on your sensitivity to the drug’s side effects and the effectiveness of the medicine for you personally.

If Viagra is not for you, though, Tadalafil provides a reliable alternative. With a low risk of side effects and effective for up to 36 hours, it may even be your preferred option.

References

  1. emc – Sildenafil 100 mg film-coated tablets: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/7124/smpc

  2. Kathryn Doyle, Reuters Health- Erectile dysfunction drugs vary in effectiveness, side effects: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ed-drugs-profiles/erectile-dysfunction-drugs-vary-in-effectiveness-side-effects-idUSKBN0MY1TT20150407

  3. European Medicine Agency – Viagra: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/overview/viagra-epar-summary-public_en.pdf

  4. Robert M Coward and Culley C Carson – Tadalafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2643112/

  5. Binbin Gong, Ming Ma, Wenjie Xie, Xiaorong Yang, Yongming Huang, Ting Sun, Yanping Luo, and Jiao Huang (2017). Direct comparison of tadalafil with sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603624/

  6. Liang Chen, Sergej E.L. Staubli, Marc P. Schneider, Alfons G. Kessels, Sandra Ivic, Lucas M. Bachmann, Thomas M. Kessler (2015). Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction: A Trade-off Network Meta-analysis: https://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(15)00250-X/abstract/phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors-for-the-treatment-of-erectile-dysfunction-a-trade-off-network-meta-analysis
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