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What should I expect from my Erectile Dysfunction medication?

The short answer here is: a good time. But what does that entail? Let’s dive in — 

There are many erectile dysfunction (ED) medications available on the market. For simplicity, let’s focus on the products Rocky offers: Viagra (Sildenafil) and Cialis (Tadalafil). These medications are part of a family called Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. The diagram below will explain their mechanism of action but let’s explore what these medications actually mean for your sex life. 

Are Erectile Dysfunction medications safe?

All medications go through extensive clinical trials and quality checks before getting approved by the FDA and Health Canada. Erectile dysfunction medications are no different. The clinical safety and efficacy of Viagra and Cialis is well established which is why they are an excellent treatment option for most men. However, they may not be suitable with certain medical conditions and may sometimes only be used with caution. For these reasons, men with pre-existing medical conditions may be subject to adverse reactions; some of these conditions are listed here:

  • Heart conditions or blood vessel disease
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Any injury or deformity of the penis
  • Low blood pressure or angina
  • History of stroke or heart attack
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Bleeding conditions that cause ulcers
  • Any eye condition causing loss of vision 

What are the most common side effects of my Erectile Dysfunction medication?

In general, ED treatment is well tolerated. However if side effects occur, they are usually mild and temporary. Side effects can include headaches, flushed skin, a runny nose and upset stomach. ED medications can also lower blood pressure so let your doctor and pharmacist know if you are on any other blood pressure lowering medication. 

Serious side effects such as priapism (a prolonged erection lasting more than 4 hours after stimulation has ended) which can result in permanent damage to your penis if not treated immediately, as well as sudden loss of vision or hearing, can also occur in rare cases.

What is the most effective medication for Erectile Dysfunction?

While both Viagra and Cialis are equally effective, there are a few differences —

ED MedicationViagra (Sildenafil)Cialis (Tadalafil)
ON-SET OF ACTION~15-30 minutes               ~30-60 minutes
DURATION OF ACTION~12 hours~36 hours
DOES FOOD AFFECT ABSORPTION?Yes *high fat meals delay absorptionNo
Can it be used daily?NoYes *at a lower dose

So the real question here should be: What is the most effective erectile dysfunction medication for me? The answer to that question tends to depend on how quickly and how long you want your erection to last. 

There’s no “one size fits all”, so it should be a decision you come to in harmony with your prescriber. An important thing to consider regardless of which option you choose is to take your ED medication 30-60 minutes prior to intercourse for the best results and to not exceed the number of daily tablets prescribed for you by your doctor. 

On that note, happy playing. 


  1. Bella AJ, Lee JC, Carrier S, Bénard F, Brock GB. 2015 CUA Practice guidelines for erectile dysfunction. Can Urol Assoc J. 2015 Jan-Feb;9(1-2):23-9. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.2699. PMID: 25737750; PMCID: PMC4336024.
  2. Tsertsvadze A, Fink HA, Yazdi F, MacDonald R, Bella AJ, Ansari MT, Garritty C, Soares-Weiser K, Daniel R, Sampson M, Fox S, Moher D, Wilt TJ. Oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors and hormonal treatments for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2009 Nov 3;151(9):650-61. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-151-9-200911030-00150. PMID: 19884626.
Mina Rizk, R.Ph. MPharm

Mina Rizk, R.Ph. MPharm

Mina is a licensed pharmacist in Ontario and British Columbia, operating with his Master’s degree in Pharmacy from the UK. He has a wealth of experience in operating and practicing in community pharmacies, making him well-versed in the healthcare space.

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