How Does ED Medication Work?

The Nobel Prize winning discovery of nitric oxide (“NO”) in 1986 was the starting point for a new innovation in drug discovery. Acting as a mediator, NO is believed to be involved in many physiological and pathological conditions through the formation of the second messenger cyclic guanosine monophosphate (“cGMP”). The cGMP-dependent vasodilation effect of NO is important in regulating pulmonary and systemic pressures, preventing atherosclerosis, preventing platelet aggregation, protecting and controlling cardiac functions, and maintaining penis erection!!!

At the most fundamental level, all erectile dysfunction (“ED”) medication work on blood flow. More precisely, they all infer with the chemical processes that make blood flow out of the penis. Check out How do Erections Work? for more detail, but essentially, blood flows in and out of the penis. An erection is caused by more blood flowing in than flowing out.

During an erection, cGMP relaxes smooth muscle in the arteries of the penis. That allows blood to flow into penile tissue, where it’s trapped (Corbin, 2004).

Eventually, an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (“PDE5”) ends the erection by breaking down cGMP. This causes the penis to release that trapped blood, and the erection subsides.

Erectile dysfunction drugs belong to a class of medications known as vasodilators or, to be more specific, they are PDE5 inhibitors, which provide the benefit of vasodilation. PDE5 inhibitors increase the amount of nitric oxide in the body, which works along with other substances to relax and open (dilate) the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow freely into the penis to create an erection firm enough for sex.

ED medications work by blocking PDE5. When that happens, cGMP doesn’t get broken down, and the tissues in the penis stay relaxed and engorged with blood.

ED meds are highly effective for erectile dysfunction, but they don’t work all by themselves. You need to feel sexually aroused, as well.

There are different types of PDE5 inhibitors. They include Sildenafil (brand name Viagra), Tadalafil (brand name Cialis), Vardenafil (brand name Levitra), and Avanafil (brand name Stendra).

Interestingly, Sildenafil, the first PDE5 inhibitor, was originally formulated to treat high blood pressure. As it was tested, researchers discovered an unexpected side effect: men taking the drug were reporting more erections!

If you don’t like the idea of taking an oral medication for your erectile dysfunction, there are other options. Alprostadil (Muse), for example, is available in the form of a suppository which is inserted directly into the urethra. This treatment typically begins to work within 5 to 10 minutes and lasts for 30 to 60 minutes. This makes it a much more direct, and often quicker, daily treatment for ED than oral medications. In addition to a suppository, Alprostadil is also available in the form of an injectable and sold under the brand name Caverject Impulse. This medication comes in the shape of a disposable, single-use pre-filled injector that can be self-administered with proper training. Caverject Impulse typically begins working 5 to 20 minutes after injection and your erection can be expected to last for up to an hour.

Regardless, perhaps medication is the right route for you. But at KegelHard.com, we believe that every guy’s journey to recovering from ED has to start with kegel exercises. If you need erectile strength, start by strengthening the muscles responsible for erections! It is a sustainable, natural, and lifelong remedy to ED!!