Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction
There are a variety of methods for treating erectile dysfunction (ED). Your doctor can discuss all of these options with you in more detail. All decisions regarding your best option for treating ED should be made between you and your physician, with consideration given to your individual needs and the risks and benefits of each treatment option.
The treatment options include:
- Drug Therapy
- Non-drug Treatment Options
- Penile Implants
Drugs for treating erectile dysfunction can be taken orally, injected directly into the penis, or inserted into the urethra at the tip of the penis. The most commonly known drugs on the market today are Viagra®, Cialis® and Levitra®.
There are several prescription medications that claim to help patients. These pills may help achieve erections in response to sexual stimulation:
- Pills can help you achieve an erection quickly and may have an effect on sexual intimacy.
- Do not provide automatic erections like injection drugs
- Not effective in approximately 30% of cases1
- Must take at least ½ hour to one hour before anticipated sexual activity2
Some patients may experience side effects, including:
- Facial blushing
- Upset stomach
- Mild and temporary visual effects
Some men may be able to gain an erection by self-injecting drugs into their penis, causing it to become engorged with blood. Potential side effects of injection therapy include fibrosis (scarring) and long-lasting painful erections
Advantages of injection therapy:
- It can easily be self-administered
- On-set of erection within 5-20 minutes3
- Injections are shown to have a long-term dropout rate of 37% – 76%.4
Reasons for dropping out of drug therapy include:
- Desire for a permanent treatment alternative
- Inadequate response
- Fear of needles
- Side effects
Non-Drug Treatment Options
Penile Pumps (Vacuum Devices)
Also called vacuum constriction devices, penile pumps are devices that are placed over the penis to draw blood into the shaft. Once the vacuum creates an erection, the retaining band is slid down to the lower end of the penis and the pump is removed. You can leave the band on for up to 30 minutes.
- On-demand use
- Drug Free
- Erection is not warm to the touch
- Learning curve
- Delayed ejaculation
A penile implant is a device that is placed into a man’s body and is designed to help him get an erection. A penile implant is a long-term treatment, that is covered by many insurance plans, which allows an erection as often as you like, for as long as you wish.
- Easy to use
- Totally concealed in the body
- Erections when desired
- Surgical Procedure
- No longer able to get natural erections
Other Treatment Options
Your doctor can provide you with specific details about the pros and cons of each of the following treatments:
- Lifestyle changes like stopping smoking, losing weight and eating healthier
- Oral testosterone
- Intraurethral suppositories (ex. MUSE®)
- Goldstein I, et al. Oral sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. N Engl J Med. 1998 May 14;338(20):1397-404
- http://uspl.lilly.com/cialis/cialis.html#ppi downloaded 2/14/17
- http://www.caverject.com/faqs, downloaded 2/13/17
- Rajpurkar A, et al. Comparison of satisfaction rates and erectile function in patients treated with sildenafil, intracavernous prostaglandin E1 and penile implant surgery for erectile dysfunction in urology practice. J Urol. July 2003; 170(1):159-163.
Cialis®, Levitra®, Viagra®, MUSE® are trademarks of their respective companies.