Affecting up to one in five men in the UK, erectile dysfunction (ED) is an extremely common health condition. Given that it is estimated to affect 322 million men worldwide by 2025, an increase of over 50% since 1995 (152 million men), it’s likely to remain a prevalent issue. 

There are many different types of ED treatment available. Given the wide range of possible side effects, the varying lengths of time in which they remain active in the body, and the spread of prices across ED medication, it can be difficult to establish what the right product is for you.   

To help refine your search, we’ll first compare four different types of ED tablets which improve erectile response: Spedra, Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. These products belong to a class of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors. 

We will also compare these branded forms of treatment with their generic equivalents Sildenafil (the generic version of Viagra), Tadalafil (the generic version of Cialis) and Vardenafil (the generic version of Levitra).

Besides tablets, there are a number of injections that can treat ED, as well as creams and urethral pellets. 

If all of the above are unsuitable, someone might consider a vacuum pump, or surgical methods, such as prostheses or implants.

Female viagra has attracted considerable media attention, but the reality is that it doesn’t exist as such and there isn’t a licensed, viagra product available for women. 

The generic drug Flibanserin is however thought to have a positive impact on sexual dysfunction amongst women through regulating dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, and so differs significantly in function to ED treatment for men.

On this page, we’ll provide some insight into the various options available and what they involve, and compare prices.

Tablets for ED 

There are four different oral tablet medicines for erectile dysfunction. They all look different, and have different names, but the way they function in the body is essentially the same; as PDE5 inhibitors, they help to increase blood flow to the penis.

When you take an ED tablet, it will normally get to work within 15 to 60 minutes, depending on which one you take (Spedra is regarded as the quickest) and lasts in the body for up to five hours. There’s also a type that is designed for extended use, and lasts for up to 36 hours (Cialis), and one you can take on a daily basis so the drug is always active to some extent in the body (Cialis Daily).

Not all men can take this type of medicine. Men with low blood pressure or taking medicines for angina will usually be advised to avoid them. 

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Generic forms of ED treatment

Generic Viagra is known as sildenafil. Because it is a generic treatment, it can often be sought out privately for a lower cost than it’s branded counterpart. It is also the most commonly prescribed PDE5i ED drug with the NHS. 

Tadalafil is the non-branded form of Cialis, and it works in the same way. It’s a tablet available for erectile dysfunction on a daily consumption basis (2.5mg or 5mg) or as a weekend pill (10mg or 20mg).

Taking the tablet every day helps you to get an erection whenever you’re sexually inclined, whereas the weekend dosage is effective for 36 hours at a time.  

Before purchasing Tadalafil online, you should always check to see if the pharmacy is GPhC-registered, and therefore buy ED medicine safely

The non-branded version of Levitra, Vardenafil, lessens pressure in the blood vessels, which allows for improved blood flow to the penis. It’s available to purchase in a number of different dosages from our website.

Female Viagra vs Viagra for males

When people talk about female viagra, they’re actually referring to Flibanserin. Although it’s the first drug to address sexual dysfunction, it doesn’t fulfil a physical purpose like viagra does for men i.e. increase blood flow to the penis. 

It’s understood that Flibanserin instead helps to resolve imbalances of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain (a neurotransmitter in the brain that boosts arousal), and so has a chemical benefit for women sexually. 

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Injections and Creams for ED

Prostaglandins, the types of medicine found in creams and injections for ED, offer an alternative to PDE-5 inhibitors, and are an option for people who aren’t able to take tablets. Caverject, Viridal Duo and Invicorp all work more quickly than oral tablets because they are localised products, becoming active in the body within 5-15 minutes. 

You should however see your GP or a sexual health nurse before attempting to use them yourself, as they will need to perform checks and provide guidance on how to use them.

Should you prefer to use a cream rather than tablets, or if there’s any hesitancy about taking  injections, MUSE (‘Medicated Urethral System for Erections’) and Vitaros Cream are available too. 

Like injections, ED creams are localised types of medication, and so work very rapidly (often in as little as 5-10 minutes). Localised treatments don’t however have the same longevity as ED tablets, lasting between one and two hours at most, as opposed to four or five hours on average.

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Pumps, Implants and Surgery for ED

Less publicised and renowned forms of treatment for ED come in the shape of pumps, implants and surgery. Vacuum pumps can be used to prompt the flow of blood to the penis, resulting in an erection. They’re an effective treatment for the majority of men, but aren’t always accessible via the NHS. You should seek advice from your GP about where you can safely obtain a pump. 

Penile implants are also available, and you can choose either a malleable prosthesis or an inflatable one. They tend to be more suitable for men whose erectile dysfunction is unlikely to improve on its own accord or via other forms of treatment. 

Surgical procedures for implants usually take about an hour and tend to be performed at outpatient centres. You should typically wait for 6 weeks post-surgery before having sex. 

How much do different ED treatments cost? 

For some men in the UK, treatment for ED is free via the NHS. Men with diabetes or Parkinson’s disease for example, might be able to get a generic medicine called Sildenafil on a prescription from their GP that they don’t have to pay for (or pay for at the NHS prescription levy rate).

In other cases, men will usually need to obtain treatment privately. You might want to compare prices for ED treatments before making a decision.

Tablets start at around £15 or £20 for a pack of four (which you’ll take one at a time, and never more than once a day). Some brands are more expensive than others. A pack of four tablets should last you at least a week or two. 

Injectable treatments tend to be a bit more expensive and start at £35 or £40 per injection.

The price of surgical procedures can vary significantly if they’re being performed privately. 

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Making a decision

Probably the most significant factor in determining which treatment option you use is where you are as a patient in your experience with erectile dysfunction medicine. 

Lifestyle fixes and counselling can work for many men. In those cases where these methods haven’t worked, PDE5 inhibitors, which are tablet treatments for ED, are considered the first line option.

Where tablets haven’t worked or are unsuitable, a doctor might recommend one of the various injections or topical treatments for ED.

Men who have found prescription medication ineffective might consider talking to a doctor about pumps, implants or surgery.

In any case, if you’re experiencing impotence symptoms or thinking about treatment you haven’t used before, it’s always better to consult with a doctor or prescriber first.

Page last reviewed:  23/07/2020