Health & Wellness

Here’s How ED Pills Work

A look at what ED medications can (and can’t) do for you.
how-do-ed-pills-work

Photo credit: Realstock/Shutterstock.com

Sean Evans

By 

Sean Evans,   

Jan 8, 2020 • 4 min read

Share Blog on FacebookShare Blog on TwitterShare Blog on LinkedInShare Blog via Email

When faced with erectile dysfunction (ED), you may be prescribed an ED medication like Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (tadalafil). Chances are once you fill that Rx you may be equal parts excited and anxious, as there are a lot of myths surrounding ED pills.

Here, we clear up the most common misconceptions and share the lesser-known truths about ED medications, so you can follow doctor’s orders with ease and most importantly, get back to business.

Medications Can’t Cure ED

There’s currently no FDA-approved treatment for curing ED. “At this point, everything is aimed at treating and improving ED but nothing is aimed at eliminating it,” says James Kashanian, MD, a urologist and assistant professor at Weill Cornell in New York City. “There are multiple avenues [for cures] being studied, but none of it’s approved or ready for prime time.” Some of those options include low-intensity, ultrasound shock waves, which can help the vascular system to increase blood flow and the use of stem cells.

ED Medications Can’t Directly Improve Your Sex Drive

Your ED and libido are indeed entwined, but popping a Cialis or Viagra in hopes of directly revving up your sex drive will leave you disappointed. ED pills can’t increase your libido (the feeling of wanting to have sex) chemically, and you’ll still need physical stimulation like foreplay to achieve an erection. However, your libido may increase after taking ED pills as prescribed because the psychological blocks associated with performance issues should diminish. In short, you’ll feel more at ease about sexual activity, so you’ll want to engage in it more often.

ED Medications Can Last Longer if You’re Older

It’s a myth that only older men have ED. It’s not unusual for men over 50 to have ED issues, but men of any age can get an ED diagnosis. However, older men may find that a slower metabolism means the effects of the ED pills may last longer (think of this as a nice perk to aging). Research has found ED drugs last longer in older patients compared to younger ones.

Taking Testosterone Won’t Help Your ED

Only patients who have low testosterone (which plays a role in sex drive as well as sperm production) will see a benefit from taking testosterone to combat ED. Have your testosterone levels checked by your doctor to see if this applies to you. If not, there’s no advantage to taking testosterone for ED.

ED Pills Won’t Start Working Right Away

“People assume you take a pill and you’re good to go,” says Kashanian. “You’ll need one hour for Viagra and about two hours for Cialis to each reach their maximum benefits.” If you’re not one to be constrained by time, talk to your doctor to see if Stendra (avanafil) is an option for you as an ED medication, it only takes about 30 minutes to kick in.

Alcohol and Marijuana Can Affect ED Medications

But not how you may think they would. Kashanian advises patients to limit alcohol intake not because it can affect the efficacy of ED pills (it can’t), but because of the potential side effects it could cause. For example, mixing alcohol with ED medications can lower your blood pressure, and this can cause you to feel light-headed and dizzy. Alcohol also can affect your ability to maintain an erection once you get one, so it’s best to drink lightly. Marijuana (and CBD) shouldn’t alter the effectiveness of ED pills either, but marijuana can play a general factor in erectile function which varies depending on the individual. “In certain men, marijuana can decrease anxiety and improve erectile dysfunction,” says Kashanian. “For other men, it can worsen their anxiety and lower their sex drive.”

· · ·

This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 1407 Broadway, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018, 1 (844) 265-6444, www.blinkhealth.com.

· · ·

Try the app now

FAQs • Contact Us
Our support team is available Monday through Friday 8AM - 10PM EST, and Saturday and Sunday 9AM - 7PM EST.

Blink Health will always honor the price reflected at the time you purchased your medication. Your final price is based on the medication you pick up at the pharmacy. If you pick up a different form, dosage, or quantity, you will be charged or credited the difference. Blink Health reserves the right to cancel a transaction and refund you if the underlying cost of the prescription drug changes significantly after you have purchased your medication. Blink Health reserves the right to change its prescription drug prices in real time based on supply and demand trends and other factors. Any savings claims made by Blink are based on U.S. retail prices without prescription drug coverage. *Retail Prices (Cash Prices) vary among pharmacies. The Retail Prices displayed are estimates based on multiple sources, including price lists, historical claims and data provided by pharmacies. Our Price Match Guarantee covers generic drugs. Additional conditions apply. For more details visit our Price Match page. †Delivery may be subject to delays. Free shipping is available for most orders through USPS first class shipping. If an order is placed, or if a delivery period falls, on a USPS holiday, the delivery time window will be extended by additional days, as applicable. No deliveries on Sunday or USPS holidays. Home delivery orders ship from a licensed, US based pharmacy after a valid prescription has been received. No home delivery orders will ship without a valid prescription written by a prescriber. Blink Health's pharmacy team will transfer prescriptions from other pharmacies or prescribers. Home delivery orders may be subject to delays if those pharmacies or prescribers do not immediately respond to requests to transfer prescriptions to Blink Health's pharmacy team. ‡Promotional offer excludes opioids, E.D. (i.e. sildenafil, tadalafil and generics Viagra and Cialis) and hair loss medications (i.e. finasteride, generic Propecia), and any orders that include online doctor visits for E.D., hair loss, birth control, cold sores, high cholesterol or acid reflux. Cannot be combined with other offers. Blink Health is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified. The pharmacy trademarks and logos above are the property of their respective owners. Blink Health is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing or terminating any medication or prescription.

Disclosures: Blink Health is NOT insurance or a Medicare prescription drug plan. Users are obligated to pay the price presented during the checkout process. Blink Health is available to users at participating pharmacies only. No enrollment or periodic fees apply. Our address is 1407 Broadway, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018, 1 (844) 265 - 6444, www.blinkhealth.com.