Viagra, Cialis and Levitra – which is best?

I am often asked which is the best of the three most common erectile dysfunction treatments: Viagra, Levitra or Cialis. There is no simple answer to this question, as some men find one treatment works better for them than the others. However there are some interesting differences…

What is Viagra?

Viagra is the most well-known of the three as it has been around for over 15 years. This means that a lot is known about its effects and side effects. It works within an hour of taking a tablet, and is best taken on an empty stomach. The effects of Viagra will last for four to six hours.

Viagra was developed and originally marketed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and until 2013 Pfizer was the only company allowed to sell it. When Pfizer’s patent on Viagra expired, the market was open for other companies to produce the medicine, albeit under its generic name Sildenafil, rather than the brand name Viagra.

Sildenafil contains exactly the same active ingredient as Viagra (sildenafil citrate), and works in the same way. However, because it is the generic version of the medicine, rather than the brand, Sildenafil is considerably cheaper.

What is Levitra?

Levitra will last for a similar amount of time as Viagra (four to six hours). The main difference to Viagra is that Levitra tends to be less affected by food or alcohol so can be taken with meals. There is also some evidence that Levitra is more effective in diabetics than other erectile dysfunction medicines.

What is Cialis?

The effects of Cialis (tadalafil) last much longer than those for Viagra or Levitra (up to 36 hours) so many men prefer it as involves less planning. The downside is that if you do experience side effects these can last for longer too.

Like Levitra, Cialis is not affected much by food, so can be taken after a meal. Alcohol, however, may reduce its effects.

Is Viagra, Cialis or Levitra best for me?

Different erectile dysfunction medicines suit different people, but it is difficult to tell which one will be best for you until you have tried them all.

While a particular erectile dysfunction medicine may not work for you first time round, we recommend taking it at least eight times before giving up and trying another. This is because it can often take this long to determine whether or not a medicine is right for you.

We also often suggest that men initially try all three erectile dysfunction medicines to see which is best for them, and we offer a starter pack of Viagra, Levitra and Cialis for those suitable.

You can Viagra, Cialis and Levitra safely online through LloydsPharmacy’s Online Doctor service. If appropriate, our London based GPs can prescribe you treatment for erectile dysfunction with Same-Day Collection, as well as Next-Day or FREE Standard Delivery. If you’re unsure which ED treatment will be best for you then take our free ED assessment and our doctors will help you decide:

How effective are Viagra, Cialis and Levitra?

Viagra, Cialis and Levitra have all been shown to be effective in 60-70% of men with erectile dysfunction. However, as above, it is possible that one medicine will be more or less effective than the others, and therefore it is best to initially try out all three to see which is best.

What are the side effects of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra?

All three have similar side effects – headaches, stuffy nose, facial flushing, stomach ache or back pain being the most common. Some men who have had bad side effects with, say, Viagra will have fewer with Levitra or Cialis, but similarly some find the prolonged side effects of Cialis troubling.

Viagra, Cialis and Levitra should not be taken by men who take medicines or recreational drugs containing nitrates. Cialis should not be taken by men who are on medicines called alpha blockers which are sometimes used to treat prostate problems or high blood pressure. Men who take alpha blockers can use Viagra or Levitra but must allow at least a six hour gap between taking the alpha blocker and Viagra or Levitra.

How do Viagra, Cialis and Levitra work?

Viagra, Levitra and Cialis all work in a similar way. They all relax the blood vessels which supply blood to the penis, meaning that more blood can get there when aroused. These medicines are not aphrodisiacs, so you will still need to be sexually stimulated in order to get an erection.

Sildenafil and Spedra are two other major erectile dysfunction medicines which work in a similar way to Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. As outlined above, Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra, and contains the same active ingredient.

Out of the five, Spedra is the newest medicine on the market, and takes the shortest amount of time to work – just 15 minutes in some men.

If your ED has a psychological cause, such as stress, anxiety or depression, counselling can be an effective treatment. This usually takes the form of either couples’ psychosexual counselling, or one-on-one sessions with a psychosexual counsellor. Sometimes even just talking over the issues with a trained professional can help treat the problem.

It can be a while before any effects from counselling are seen, so it is often combined with prescription medicines such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra which treat ED in the short term.

For more information on these and other treatments for erectile dysfunction, see our medical article Erectile Dysfunction Treatments.

Is it safe to buy Viagra, Cialis and Levitra online?

When buying Viagra, Cialis or Levitra online it’s important to ensure that you are getting them from a trustworthy source like LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. There are lots of websites offering erectile dysfunction medicines but many supply fake or counterfeit medicines. Apart from the fact that these medicines may not work, there is also the risk of potentially serious adverse effects from taking non-genuine medicines.

LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor only provides medicines that have been licensed by the government’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which means that they have passed rigorous testing before being clinically approved for patients.

All our doctors are registered with the General Medical Council, and as a company we are regulated by the Care Quality Commission. To learn more about us, click here.

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