Differences Between Viagra, Caverject, and Edex

If you are deciding on a type of erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment, be aware of your options. Many people are aware of erectile dysfunction pills like Viagra. There is also a medication class called Alprostadil, which includes Caverject and Edex. Deciding which type of medication is best for you involves understanding some important issues.

Viagra as a First-Line ED Option

The first-line treatment for erectile dysfunction is medication referred to as PDE-5 inhibitors. Available as oral tablets, patients often find these medications more comfortable and easier to take than Alprostadil.

Viagra is a popular PDE-5 inhibitor for men who cannot achieve or sustain erections due to erectile dysfunction. While Viagra helps men who cannot keep or sustain an erection due to ED, the medication only improves erectile response in men who are already sexually stimulated. This means that if there is no sexual stimulation, Viagra does not work.

When males become sexually stimulated, nitric oxide is released into their nervous system. Nitric oxide stimulates an enzyme that produces cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which results in the dilation of arteries in the penis. Viagra prevents cGMP from downgrading, which leads to a continuous erection.

While Viagra is generally safe to use, it can result in some side effects including:

  • Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, or damage to the optic nerve
  • Cyanopsia, where everything appears to have a blue tint
  • Headaches
  • Heart attack
  • Impaired vision
  • Increased intraocular pressure
  • Ingestion
  • Nasal congestion
  • A painful-long lasting erection
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Ventricular arrhythmia

Besides these side effects, there are some groups of people who should be cautious about taking Viagra. This includes the following:

  • People who take alpha-blockers. Individuals in this category should make sure to take Viagra at least every four hours before or after taking alpha-blockers. Taking alpha-blockers in this way helps to prevent low blood pressure.
  • People with HIV who take protease inhibitors. Individuals in this category should discuss Viagra use with their physicians. Protease inhibitors increase the likelihood of side effects due to Viagra. These people should take a maximum of 25 milligrams of Viagra at a time and not more often than once every 48 hours.
  • Other groups who should speak with a doctor before using Viagra. This category includes several groups including people who take nitrates or oxide donors, who are advised to refrain from intercourse due to cardiovascular risk, who have severe liver impairment, who have kidney disease, who have low blood pressure, who have recently had a heart attack or stroke, and who have hereditary retinal disorders.

Given the relatively slow risk of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication, many men who need treatment for erectile dysfunction benefit from Viagra.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction With Alprostadil Injection

Alprostadil injection and suppositories are another class of medication sometimes used to treat erectile dysfunction. These medications work by relaxing the muscles and blood vessels in the penis to maintain enough blood so erections can be sustained.

Mixed with a liquid, alprostadil is injected into the penis or used as a urethral suppository before sexual activity. Unlike PDE-5 inhibitors, however, a patient often must be trained by a doctor on how to use this drug.

Advantages of Alprostadil Injection Over PDE-5 Inhibitors

PDE-5 inhibitors seem like the more attractive option to some people with erectile dysfunction. While PDE-5 inhibitors can be taken orally, alprostadil requires an injection or suppository being placed in a person’s penis. Some other reasons why most medical professionals recommend Viagra and other PDE-5 inhibitors as a first-line defense to erectile defense are the PDE-5 inhibitors are often more affordable, and Alprostadil requires nearly all patients to receive training from a medical provider before the treatment can be used.

Despite this, there are some advantages to alprostadil drugs like Caverject and Edex, which include:

  • PDE-5 inhibitors taken as oral tablets are absorbed into a person’s stomach and then dispersed through the bloodstream. This means these medications take between 30 to 60 minutes to work. Because Caverject and Edex are injected into the penis, the drug provides results in a fraction of the time.
  • Trials conducted by Pfizer show that the results seen by Caverject are equivalent to the results seen by men who take PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra.
  • Oral alternative. For men who are not able to take oral treatments or who find oral tablets ineffective, Caverject and Edex can be a useful alternative. Alprostadil injections and suppositories are also an attractive option if a man experiences side effects from PDE-5 inhibitors. Because injections and suppositories do not pass through the kidney or livers, this treatment can also be ideal for people who have had transplants or who experience difficulties with these organs.
  • Fewer side effects. The side effects of Caverject and Everex are different from those associated with PDE-5 inhibitors. Some common side effects of Caverject include back pain, coughing, dizziness, headaches, injection site reactions, itching, pain in the penis or surrounding area, rashes, stuffy nose, and unusual penis discharge. Some less common side effects of Caverject include redness, tenderness, or swelling of the penis and unusual curving or lumps of the penis. Some common side effects of Edex including bleeding or bruising at the administration site, unusual penis discharge, pain in the groin, redness of the penis, prolonged erections, headache, dizziness, back pain, skin problems, penis rashes, penis itching, penis numbness, vision problems, coughing, or stuffy nose. Some of the less common side effects of Edex include light-headedness, bleeding after an injection, erections that last four or more hours, new or worsening penis pain, or unusual shapes or curving in the penis.

In short, while Viagra and PDE-5 inhibitors are often recommended as a first-line defense, there are some unique reasons why patients might decide to use Alprostadil injections or suppositories. Regardless of the healthcare plan, however, remember to be honest and direct with your medical professional to achieve the best results. Together, you can make informed decisions about not just medications but also dosage modifications. Combating erectile dysfunction is not easy, but a medical professional can make this process much easier.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

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