Definition of PDE5 Inhibitors (Phosphodiesterase Type 5 inhibitors)

Physical intimacy is a normal part of life for a lot of people, but unfortunately, there are some conditions that make it impossible for men to have normal sexual experiences. One of these health issues is erectile dysfunction, which affects a large number of men across the globe and prevents them from enjoying sex with their partners. Luckily, there exist several medications that are extremely helpful and can temporarily restore the sexual function in men.

What causes Erectile Dysfunction?

What-causes-erectile-dysfunctionThe process of achieving erections is quite complex, and it can be affected by numerous factors from serious health issues to temporary factors, such as stress, nervousness, fatigue, or excessive consumption of alcohol. When the inability to achieve an erection is something that happens rarely, and there are obvious reasons as to why the problem has occurred, there is generally no reason to be worried. However, when a man experiences the erectile problems in about 25% of all times he engages in sexual activities, it is likely that he suffers from the erectile dysfunction. This term refers to both the inability to achieve erections at all and the inability to maintain it for the duration of sexual intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction is a serious health problem that needs to be addressed properly as soon as possible so that it doesn’t progress. While ED can occur as a result of some trauma or other problems that directly affect the penis, in the majority of cases, it is caused by other health issues in the body. Because the firmness of erections relies on the amount of blood supplied to the penis, it’s only natural that the erectile dysfunction can develop due to the diseases that affect the circulation in the body. The most common causes of physical ED include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, elevated levels of bad cholesterol, and more. Some of the mentioned conditions can be treated, which means that the symptoms of erectile dysfunction will also go away. However, when ED is caused by some chronic illnesses, the only way to improve the sexual function is by consuming ED drugs continuously. This is especially relevant for older men that often suffer from health problems that cannot be treated. Luckily, modern ED drugs have been proven to be safe while consumed for a long time, which means that male patients have an opportunity to enjoy their sexual lives despite their problems.

PDE5 inhibitors and their role in sexual health

phosphodiesterase-type-5-inhibitorPDE5 inhibitors are the group of drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men. The way they work is by promoting the relaxation of the trabecular and arterial smooth muscle, which means that more blood can be supplied to the penis when a man experiences sexual arousal. As a result, a male is able to achieve a firm erection and maintain it long enough to enjoy sexual intercourse. It should be noted that PDE5 inhibitors do not work as aphrodisiacs and do not affect the process of experiencing arousal in any way. It means that the medications in this group are suitable only for men who don’t suffer from the inability to become aroused. Because arousal is essential to triggering erections when consuming PDE5 inhibitors, you won’t experience any issues or unwanted erections if you take a pill and then don’t end up having sex.

The most famous and widely used drugs that belong to this category include Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Even though these medications belong to the same group, they feature different ingredients and have some differences in how they work. In such a way, they should be chosen based on the individual reactions and personal preferences. You should remember that PDE5 inhibitors are not the medications that cure erectile dysfunction permanently but they allow men to achieve erections despite their health problems, which have to be treated separately. Another thing to remember is that not all men are able to achieve erections the first time they take any PDE5 inhibitors, which is why it’s important to take the drug at least 5 separate times to decide whether it will work for you or not.

Sildenafil Citrate

In the world of ED drugs, there is no other name that is more famous than Viagra. This medication, which was the first ED drug in the world, has become a true life saver for millions of men and it hasn’t lost its popularity.

Viagra works thanks to the active ingredient Sildenafil Citrate, and it comes in the dosages of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. The standard dosage that is prescribed to the majority of patients is 50 mg, but older patients may be recommended to start their treatment using the 25 mg dosage. The dosage of 100 mg can be prescribed in some cases when the 50-mg pill doesn’t bring the desired effect, but this can only be done after consulting a medical professional.

The medication is designed to be consumed only once a day with plenty of water, approximately 40 minutes before engaging in sexual activities so the drug has enough time to get absorbed. You should avoid consuming large fatty meals and drinking alcohol while taking Viagra as they can reduce its effectiveness. The dosage of one pill a day should not be increased as it can lead to the development of severe side effects. Once you consume Viagra, you will be able to enjoy erections over the period of about 4 hours, which means that you have to choose the right time when you want to take the drug. According to the reviews, the majority of men believe that the 4-hour effect is more than enough for them.

Tadalafil Citrate

Another drug that is also extremely popular among men diagnosed with ED is Cialis. The medication shares the same mechanism of action as Viagra, but it features a different active ingredient – Tadalafil. The reason why a lot of men prefer using Cialis as opposed to other erectile dysfunction alternatives is its prolonged effect. In comparison to Viagra, which gives men an opportunity to get erections for 4 hours, Cialis delivers the effect that lasts for up to 36 hours. As a result, male patients who consume this drug have a lot of freedom to choose when they want to have sex and be spontaneous just like they would if they had a normal sexual function.

Similarly to other PDE5 inhibitors, all you need to experience the results is consume a single pill about 15-30 minutes before engaging in sexual activities. You will be able to notice the effect when you get aroused, and you can get more than one erection over the period of 36 hours. This long-lasting effectiveness of Cialis is something that cannot be surpassed by any other ED drugs, so if you are looking for prolonged influence, you should give this medication a try.


Levitra is a PDE5 inhibitor that includes the active ingredient Vardenafil and is available in the dosages of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg. The standard dosage of this drug for an average patient is 10 mg, and the medication has to be taken once a day, about 30 minutes before intercourse. Older men over the age of 65 are recommended to use the dosage of 2.5 mg or 5 mg, especially at the beginning of the treatment to assess their response to the drug. When it comes to the duration of the effect, it is similar to Viagra, but you will be able to achieve erections for about 4-5 hours depending on your individual reaction to this medication.

Things to remember when taking PDE5 inhibitors

Just like any other drugs, PDE5 inhibitors may not be suitable for every single man as there are some contraindications to taking them and they can interact with certain medications. A consultation with a medical specialist is always required before you decide to take any of the drugs to make sure that they will be beneficial in your particular situation.

  • Allergies to any components of the drug
  • Recent stroke or heart attack
  • Severe kidney or liver diseases
  • Severe cardiovascular diseases
  • Vision disorders
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Recent surgeries
  • History of priapism

It’s important to undergo a physical examination and complete health tests before consuming PDE5 inhibitors to determine whether these medications can be used in our case.

In addition to the health contraindications, there are some drug interactions that you should be aware of when using PDE5 inhibitors.

  • HIV protease inhibitors
  • Nitrate medications
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Some antifungal drugs
  • Ketoconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Other ED drugs

Because the interactions between PDE5 inhibitors and certain drugs can be dangerous, it’s important that you inform your medical specialist about all the drugs and supplements that you are taking. If you accidently take any of the mentioned medications along with a PDE5 inhibitor, you should not hesitate to get medical help.

The majority of men don’t experience severe adverse effects when taking Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis if they follow all the precautions, such as not consuming the drug if there are any contraindications and not taking the drugs that can interact with the medication. Also, make sure that you take a look at the full list of active and inactive ingredients of your drug before taking it so that you don’t experience an allergic reaction to any components. If you experience difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips/tongue/face, rash, hives, or any other symptoms that can be linked to the allergies, stop taking the drug immediately and get emergency medical help.

Common and mild side effects of taking PDE5 inhibitors include:

  • Blocked or a runny nose
  • Flushing
  • Minor muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn

Less common and more severe adverse reactions are:

  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Severe muscle ache
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the limbs

It’s important that you are aware of any potential side effects before taking any of ED medications. Even if your side effects are insignificant, you should still inform your medical advisor about them because you may need a reduction in the dosage or a different drug. Severe adverse effects require immediate medical attention.

Organize proper storage for PDE5 inhibitors

Storing the drugs properly is something that should never be underestimated, as consuming drugs that have gone bad or expired will increase your chances of getting adverse reactions. PDE5 inhibitors should be kept at the room temperature and away from the sources of heat and moisture. You should also make sure that they are kept in a place where they cannot be reached by children or pets.

Note: As a disclaimer, we should mention that this article was created with the intention of providing educational materials. It cannot be viewed or used as a substitute for professional medical advice. We are not responsible for any health concerns.