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What are PDE5 inhibitors for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
PDE5 inhibitors -- sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra) -- are pills used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). They increase blood flow to the penis by augmenting cyclic guanosine monophosphate (GMP), a chemical that relaxes muscles in the penis, improving blood flow during sexual stimulation.

All three drugs have similar effectiveness (about 60% to 70%), but tadalafil lasts about 36 hours, whereas sildenafil and vardenafil last about eight hours.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.