Types of Oral Sex Pills

Types of Oral Sex Pills

  • Sildenafil (Viagra). This medication is most effective when taken on an empty stomach one hour before sex. It’s effective for four to five hours or more if you have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn). This medication also is most effective when taken one hour before sex and can be taken with or without food. A high-fat meal might keep it from absorbing as quickly.Vardenafil is effective for four to five hours or more if you have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. A newer form of the drug that dissolves on the tongue might work faster than the pill that you swallow.
  • Tadalafil (Cialis). This medication is taken with or without food about one to two hours before sex. It’s effective for up to 36 hours. It can be taken in a small dose daily or in a larger dose as needed.
  • Avanafil (Stendra). This medication is taken with or without food 30 minutes before sex, depending on the dose. It lasts up to six hours.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction with Medication

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when you can’t get or keep an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse. It’s often caused by an underlying health problem.

The Urology Care Foundation estimates that this condition affects 30 million men in the United States. For some people, treatment with drugs may resolve their ED.

If you’re looking for options to treat your ED, check out the list below. Information like how to take these drugs and what the side effects are like can help you discuss drug treatment options with your doctor.

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. For the purposes of this article, we use “male” and “female” to refer to a person’s sex assigned at birth. Learn more about sex and gender.

A quick look at erectile dysfunction medications
What erectile dysfunction medications are there?

There are many types of drugs used to treat ED. Each drug works differently, but they all improve sexual activity by stimulating blood flow to the penis.

The most common ED drugs belong to a group known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. They block certain enzyme activity that leads to ED.

If you have certain health conditions, it may not be safe for you to take ED drugs. For instance, if you have heart disease, your heart may not be healthy enough for sex.

Make sure you tell your doctor about any underlying health issues you might have and the medications you’re taking. This information can help your doctor decide which drug is best for you.


Alprostadil (Caverject, Edex, MUSE) comes as an injectable solution and as a penile suppository.

You’ll inject the solution directly into your penis 5 to 20 minutes before having sex. You can use it as needed up to three times per week. You should let at least 24 hours lapse between injections.

With MUSE (or Medicated Urethral System for Erections), the suppository should be administered 5 to 10 minutes before sex. It should not be used more than twice in a 24-hour period.

The more common side effects of this drug include pain in the penis and testicles, as well as burning in the urethra.


Avanafil (Stendra) is an oral drug and a PDE5 inhibitor. You should take it about 15 minutes before having sex. Do not take it more than once per day.

You should not use any PDE5 inhibitors if you’re also taking nitrates to treat heart disease. Examples of nitrates include isosorbide mononitrate (Monoket) and nitroglycerin (Nitrostat). Taking nitrates with avanafil can cause severely low blood pressure and even death.

The more common side effects of this drug include:


Sildenafil (Viagra) is also a PDE5 inhibitor. Viagra is only available as an oral tablet. You should take it only once per day, about 30 minutes to an hour before sex.

The more common side effects of this drug include:

  • headache
  • flushing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • back pain
  • upset stomach
  • muscle aches
  • vision changes, like blurry vision and changes in how certain colors look


Tadalafil (Cialis) is an oral drug that increases blood flow throughout your body. You take this PDE5 inhibitor about 30 minutes before sex, no more than once per day. It may work for up to 36 hours.

The more common side effects of this drug include:

  • headache
  • flushing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • back pain
  • upset stomach
  • pain in the limbs


Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in the male body. It plays many roles in overall health.

Testosterone levels naturally drop with age. This change can lead to ED and other issues, like:

Doctors sometimes prescribe testosterone to treat ED. In fact, PDE5 inhibitors are most effective when used alongside testosterone therapy in people with a testosterone deficiency. But the drug does come with risks.

Testosterone can increase your chance of a heart attack or stroke. Because of these risks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source says that only people who have low testosterone due to certain health issues should use testosterone.

Your doctor will watch you closely if they prescribe testosterone. They’ll test the levels of testosterone in your body before and during your treatment with this drug. If your testosterone levels are too high, your doctor will stop your treatment or lower your dosage.

Side effects of testosterone may include:

Testosterone for ED comes in many forms. The table below lists the forms of testosterone and their brand-name versions. Some forms may also be available as generic drugs.

Testosterone form Brand names
transdermal cream First Testosterone Cream 2%
transdermal gel AndroGel, Fortesta, Testim, and Vogelxo
transdermal patch Androderm
transdermal solution None (only available as generic)
topical gel AndroGel and Natesto
nasal gel Natesto
oral capsule Testred
oral tablet Android 25
mucoadhesive film that dissolves under your gums Striant
pellet implant Testopel
solution for intramuscular injection Depo-Testosterone and Aveed


Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) is an oral drug and a PDE5 inhibitor. You take it as needed 60 minutes before sex. You can take this drug up to once per day, your doctor’s recommendation.

The more common side effects of this drug include:

  • headache
  • flushing
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • back pain
  • upset stomach
  • dizziness

Vitamins and supplements for ED

There are many vitamins and supplements on the market that claim to help ED. Some promise better sexual function as well as increased energy and vitality. But these supplements usually do not work. They may also be unsafe.

Some supplements that are marketed as “natural” may even contain drugs. ED supplements can still interact with other medications you’re taking. They may also cause side effects.

Talk with your doctor before trying any vitamins or supplements for ED.

Before you take erectile dysfunction medications

Not everyone with ED needs to take medications. If you think you have ED, see your primary care doctor. They’ll do a physical exam and request certain lab tests, as well as a complete medical and psychosocial history.

They may also refer you to a mental health professional who can help you manage performance anxiety or relationship issues related to your ED.

ED caused by underlying conditions

Your ED may be caused by untreated diabeteshigh blood pressure, or another issue. Treating that condition first may improve your ED symptoms.

ED caused by medications

Other medications you’re taking may cause ED. These may include drugs used to treat:

Your doctor can also review any medications you’re currently taking and make some changes that could improve your ED.

ED caused by lifestyle choices

Lifestyle can sometimes contribute to ED. Adopting habits that promote overall health and well-being may help improve your symptoms. Try limiting or avoiding smoking if you smoke, maintaining a moderate weight, getting regular exercise as often as possible, and consuming alcohol on a limited basis.

How to get medications for erectile dysfunction

The best place to get medications for ED is from your doctor or a licensed medical professional. Although some online pharmacies may sell or deliver ED medications, these are often unregulated and may contain ineffective or harmful ingredients.

How much do erectile dysfunction medications cost?

ED medications vary in price. You can sign up for a subscription service, like Hims or Roman, and save money by purchasing multiple-month shipments.

If you’re getting these medications at a pharmacy with insurance, the cost will vary, too. Some coupons can be found online if you search for the medication you’re trying to get.

Without insurance or participating in one of these subscription services, the prices of ED medications — especially the name-brand versions — are quite expensive. The average cost per pill of Viagra, for example, is $70. But sildenafil, the generic version of Viagra, costs as low as $9 per pill. Many services sell these therapies, so a bit of research should help you keep some money in your wallet.

Frequently asked questions

How well do ED pills work?

The ED pills mentioned above have differences, including price points. Sildenafil has been on the market the longest, and its side effects are well known. It’s often the first erectile dysfunction medication that doctors turn to.

While medication for ED works often, sometimes addressing the underlying causes can be helpful too. Some ED drugs can have unpleasant side effects, like headaches, that cause discomfort.

It’s worth noting that some ED medications have different onset times in different people. The time these medications are effective also varies in individuals.

How quickly do ED pills work?

Most ED medications take about 15-45 minutes on average to work.

Sildenafil takes between 30 minutes and an hour to work, and it works for between 1 and 4 hours. Cialis can take up to 2 hours and last for 36 hours. There’s also a Cialis regimen that’s taken daily.

What are the side effects of ED pills?

Side effects of ED pills can range from headaches to nausea and diarrhea. Other mild side effects include warmness in the chest, neck or face, and a stuffy nose. Some of the more serious side effects include back pain, loss of hearing, ringing in the ears, and the inability to see the differences between green and blue.

If you have underlying health conditions, you’ll want to abstain from ED meds or consult your physician for guidance.

Some of these conditions include liver disease, kidney disease, and low or uncontrolled high blood pressure. Nitrate drugs and ED medications should not be used at the same time because this combination could have serious health implications.

How do I choose the best medication for me?

These drugs are similar in their efficacy, so personal preference is important. Consider cost, ease of use, how long the drug lasts, and if you want a medication for one-time use or ongoing therapy.

There are generic versions of sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil available, and you can get these medications via subscription services like Hims or Roman.

When to see a doctor

If you have signs of ED, keep in mind that the condition is often caused by another medication you’re taking or a health condition. Getting treatment for the underlying health issue or having your doctor adjust your drug regimen may be all that’s needed to ease your symptoms.

If you do need ED medications, there are many options. They come in different forms and work in unique ways. They also can cause side effects that are specific to the medication.

Together, you and your doctor can find the best ED medication for you.


ED is a common condition that can affect a person’s self-esteem and relationships. ED can be caused by underlying health issues or occur as a normal part of the aging process. Fortunately, there are many approved treatments to treat it.

There are a wide variety of ED meds, so choosing one based on cost and ease of use is usually the best place to start. As always, if you have any health conditions or are on medications, be sure to speak with a physician first. These medications can have rare but sometimes serious, life-threatening side effects.

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Last medically reviewed on November 15, 2021

Types of Oral Sex Pills
Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, Pharm.D. — Written by Kristeen Cherney and Tracee M. Herbaugh — Updated on November 15, 2021
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Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Pills: Do They Work?

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a health condition when you consistently have issues either achieving or maintaining erections. While these problems can occur in anyone from time to time, ED is more than just an occasional issue with arousal. It can be an ongoing health concern.

ED affects about 30 million menTrusted Source in the United States. Prevalence increases with age.

Those who experience ED can have other related health issues, including anxiety and depression. They might also experience low self-esteem and decreased quality of life.

People with ED may become even more nervous and anxious when engaging in sexual activity. They may experience continued erection issues as a result, which can lead to depression. If untreated, ED can even be dangerous, since it can be a sign of other health conditions.

Treating the underlying cause of ED is often the most important step. Doctors are also likely to suggest specific treatments for the symptoms themselves. Find out which ED pills — if any — may work best.

How do ED pills work?

ED pills work by stimulating blood flow to your penis. The most common type of oral medication, phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, work by protecting a certain compound called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). This enzyme helps trap blood in the penile tissue during sexual stimulation, encouraging an erection.

How much do erectile dysfunction pills cost?

The cost of your ED treatment will depend on which pill you’re taking, the dosage, where you’re purchasing it from, and how much you purchase at once. Branded Viagra tends to be much more expensive than generic sildenafil.

Prices range from about $2 per 20-milligram (mg) sildenafil pill from services like Roman and Hims to up to $2,000 for a 30-day supply of branded Viagra from places like Costco and Walgreens.

The best way to save money on ED pills is to use services like Roman, Hims, and Lemonaid, which offer multiple-month subscription services for a discounted price and provide both brand name and generic. In general, most insurance companies won’t cover name-brand Viagra, but they might cover the generic, sildenafil.

Types of ED pills

The most commonly recommended medications are PDE5 inhibitors. There are four PDE5 inhibitors on the market:

If you’re taking nitrate drugs for angina, avoid taking PDE5 inhibitors. It’s also not recommended if you’re using alpha-blockers to treat high blood pressure to take PDE5 inhibitors due to the blood pressure lowering effects of the combination. However, it’s possible if you’re monitored.

In addition, if you go to the hospital emergency room for chest pain, tell your doctor if you’ve recently taken a PDE5 inhibitor. If you’re given nitroglycerin (Nitrostat, Nitro-Dur), it may cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly. It’s a type of nitrate drug.

Some common side effects of these medications include: Types of Oral Sex Pills

Comparison chart

  How to take it How fast it works Typical dose
Sildenafil (Viagra) 1–2 hours after eating, don’t consume with fatty foods can start in about 10 minutes, can take 1 hour for maximum effect typical starting dose is 50 mg, can be increased to 100 mg
Tadalafil (Cialis) when you need it, or regularly every day can start working in about 15 minutes, can take 2 hours for maximum effect

remains effective for up to 17 hours.
10–20 mg for occasional use

typical daily dose is 2.5 mg
Vardenafil (Levitra) shouldn’t be taken with food, wait 1–2 hours after eating can start working in about 15 minutes, can take 45 minutes to reach maximum effect typical starting dose is 10 mg, can be decreased to 5 mg or increased to 20 mg
Avanafil (Stendra) can be taken with or without food, shouldn’t be taken more than once a day fastest acting, starts working in as little as 15 minutes typical starting dose is 100 mg, can go up to 200 mg
Other ED treatments

Hormone replacement therapy

Your testosterone levels naturally decrease by small amounts as you age. However, you may be a candidate for hormone replacement therapy if your testosterone levels are too low.

2012 study noted that age-associated testosterone deficiency is characterized by symptoms such as ED.

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) helps restore testosterone blood levels, but it’s still unclear if it helps improve ED. It likely depends on what’s causing ED in the first place. Types of Oral Sex Pills

Side effects of TRT may include:

Penile suppositories

The medication alprostadil is available as both an injection (known as Caverject or Edex) and as a pill that you place into the opening at the tip of the penis (known as MUSE). MUSE, or Medicated Urethral System for Erections, works by causing blood vessels to expand, allowing more blood flow into the penis.

However, the medication is less effective when it’s delivered this way than when it’s delivered via injection.

According to findings from multi-center, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group studies, 7 out of 10 men were able to go through successful intercourse after using MUSE. Types of Oral Sex Pills

Side effects may include pain and burning in the genital region.

Yohimbine hydrochloride

Yohimbine hydrochloride is derived from yohimbe bark. Yohimbe bark comes from an African evergreen tree and was historically used as an aphrodisiac.

Yohimbine hydrochloride was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription treatment for ED in the late 1980s. It’s also available over the counter.

Yohimbe herbal supplements are available over the counter as well. They’re different from yohimbine hydrochloride, chemically speaking.

Scientists believe yohimbe works by stimulating blood flow to the penis. Studies on yohimbe have seen mixed resultsTrusted Source. It isn’t knownTrusted Source whether the supplemental extract form of yohimbe is safe or effective due to a lack of clinical trials on the substance.

That being said, there aren’t enough studies to support the claim that yohimbe works, and some experts are adamant that it doesn’t.

Yohimbine hydrochloride can also cause dangerous side effects, such as:

Don’t use it if you have a heart disease, a mental health condition, or kidney disease.

When to talk with a doctor

Though ED is relatively common, if you’re bothered by the quality, firmness, or duration of your erection, talk with a doctor. Types of Oral Sex Pills

At the end of the day, ED can be pointing to signs of a more serious health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.

Depending on the cause, your doctor will analyze your symptoms and determine a proper treatment. Types of Oral Sex Pills

ED and overall health

ED can be uncomfortable to discuss with your doctor at first, but keep in mind that it’s a common medical issue.

Since ED is often related to other health issues, it’s best to get a complete checkup as well as laboratory tests and a psychological exam. Treating any underlying cause will often help improve the ED as well.

The landmark Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that depression and ED are often related. Types of Oral Sex Pills

ED may also be associated with the following:

The better your overall health, the lower the risk of ED. Discuss any of these issues with your doctor thoroughly, as well as any medications you may be taking. Types of Oral Sex Pills

Frequently asked questions

What causes ED?

There are many possible causes of ED, and they can include both emotional and physical conditions. Common causes include: Types of Oral Sex Pills

ED can be caused by one or several of these factors. That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor so that they can rule out or treat any underlying medical conditions. Learn more about the causes of ED.

What ED pill is best for me?

There are a few different options: Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and more. The truth is the best ED pill is the one that works best for you. Types of Oral Sex Pills

They’re all equally safe and effective, but the main differences between them are how they’re taken, how long they last, their side effects, and cost. Types of Oral Sex Pills

For occasional use, most people start with sildenafil (Viagra). For regular use, tadalafil (Cialis) can be a better fit.

Some people prefer to alternate between medications, depending on their lifestyle and relationship status. Types of Oral Sex Pills

How effective are ED pills?

Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) all have studies that back how well they work.

Currently, there are no studies that directly compare them against each other, but a 2009 meta-analysisTrusted Source of a few hundred studies found that all three medications result in successful penetrative sex in 65 percent to 80 percent of users with ED, compared with 30 percent with a placebo. Types of Oral Sex Pills

How quickly do ED pills work?

How quickly an ED pill begins to work will depend on the medication. Usually, ED pills begin to work in as little as 10–15 minutes. Some may take up to 1–2 hours to take full effect. Types of Oral Sex Pills

How long do ED pills last?

How long your ED pill lastsTrusted Source will depend on the medication, dosage, and your body’s metabolism.

On average, branded and generic Viagra will last between 2 and 3 hours before its effects start to diminish, but can last up to 5 hours depending on your dosage, metabolism, and other factors. Avanafil has a similar duration, lasting between up to 6 hours. Sildenafil and Vardenafil can remain effective for up to 12 hours. types of oral sex pills

Tadalafil has the longest duration of these common ED pills. It can remain effective for up to 36 hours. Types of Oral Sex Pills


ED pills are promising, but the results vary. PDE5 inhibitors continue to be the first line of treatment, and they enjoy high rates of patient satisfaction. Your doctor might recommend another option if such medications don’t help you or if they cause side effects.

If you’re interested in natural ED remedies, consult your doctor first. Never self-treat ED with over-the-counter herbs and supplements.

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To help you manage your health, we’ll send you sharp coverage of fitness, nutrition, and other wellness topics just for men.types of oral sex pills

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Last medically reviewed on March 25, 2022

Types of Oral Sex Pills
Medically reviewed by Alexandra Perez, PharmD, MBA, BCGP — Written by Colleen M. Story — Updated on March 25, 2022
Types of Oral Sex Pills

One thought on “Types of Oral Sex Pills

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