The erectile dysfunction (ED) market is a big one. According to research firm Statista, there were 82.9 million US adults aged 20-99 with ED in 2018. That’s up from 74.9 million in 2017 and 70.7 million in 2016.

While there are many effective treatments for ED, doctors often miss the opportunity to discuss them with their patients. Price is a significant barrier, since many treatments can be quite expensive. But that’s all about to change. In the last few years, a number of lower-cost alternatives have emerged.

Here, we’ll discuss the differences between the three most popular ED medications: viagra, cialis, and levitra. We’ll also cover their prices and how to get the best possible deal when you’re buying them at the drugstore.

What Is Viagra?

Viagra is the most popular of the ED lot. Introduced in the 1990s, the drug is a selective inhibitor of the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), which prevents the breakdown of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). This allows cGMP to accumulate in the blood, which in turn causes the smooth muscle cells in the penis to relax and the blood vessels in the organ to dilate. As a result, the penis becomes engorged with blood and stands erect – or “erect” – as the company that makes it puts it.

Viagra is a sildenafil citrate drug. The main ingredient in sildenafil citrate is sildenafil, a substance that is structurally similar to the active ingredient in viagra, sildenafil. Like viagra, sildenafil has been shown in clinical trials to improve erectile function in men with ED. Sildenafil has also been shown to boost cardiovascular health in these men. And like viagra, sildenafil is a colorless, tasteless, and water-soluble compound, which makes it highly bioavailable.

How Is Cialis Different From Viagra?

Cialis is the other option in the popular ED medication category. Inhibitors of PDE5 aren’t the only thing separating cialis from viagra – it also contains guanidine moieties that work in a different way to combat ED. Like sildenafil, the guanidine derivatives in cialis have been shown to increase cGMP levels in the blood and, as a result, cause blood vessels to dilate and, in turn, increase erectile function and the ability of the penis to stay engorged with blood.

The main ingredient in cialis is tadalafil. Like sildenafil and viagra, tadalafil is a PDE5 inhibitor. But while sildenafil and viagra increase cGMP, tadalafil does so by blocking an enzyme called PDE6. As a result, tadalafil doesn’t just increase cGMP levels in the blood but also inhibits the breakdown of cAMP, an important substance in the body. This helps maintain healthy levels of cAMP in the cells and allows them to work correctly.

What Is Levitra?

Introduced in the late 1990s, Levitra is a third option in the ED treatment category. Like cialis and viagra, Levitra contains a PDE5 inhibitor, this time in the form of vardenafil, which is the active ingredient in the drug. Vardenafil has also been shown in clinical trials to be effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and is approved for use in conjunction with oral phosphodiesterase inhibitors.

While PDE5 inhibitors work on the same basic principle as viagra to treat ED, they differ in the way they’re metabolized and excreted by the body. PDE5 inhibitors such as vardenafil don’t seem to accumulate in the body the way most other prescription drugs do, meaning they don’t appear to have the same side effect profile. This may be because their metabolites are significantly more toxic than their parent compounds – a common trait among most clinically useful drugs.

The most common side effects of vardenafil, the active ingredient in Levitra, include headache, dyspepsia (indigestion), and stuffy nose. Like cialis and viagra, Levitra doesn’t just treat ED but also has positive effects on the heart and blood vessels, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. And like cialis and viagra, Levitra is relatively inexpensive.

Ultimately, choosing an ED treatment is a matter of personal preference. Some guys may prefer the effectiveness and low price of cialis, while others may opt for the more proven dose of Viagra. No matter which one you choose, just make sure you’re purchasing from a trusted source and that you’re not buying any knockoff drugs.

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