Can Long-Term Use of ED Drugs Impact Your Health?
For many people with erectile dysfunction, medication is the solution of choice. Drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) are common pills men take to combat the diagnosis, and while short-term side effects are widely researched, the medications' long-term impact isn't always mentioned.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ED affects "around 30 million men in the U.S." (One study takes the number to 47.5 million.) The condition is often caused by several factors, such as stress, high blood pressure or a limited blood flow to the penis. Typically, the prescribed oral drugs belong to a group called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5), which block enzyme activity responsible for ED. The medications also increase nitric oxide, which encourages your muscles to relax and maintain an erection.
Possible side effects, including long term
Side effects vary based on what drug you take, especially if you develop ED at a young age. With sildenafil, reported short-term side effects include headaches, dizziness, vision changes and digestive-system issues; if you experience these, contact your doctor.
However, when researchers aimed to discover the long-term effects of ED drugs, studies generally drew a blank. Psychological dependence was widely discussed, though not confirmed, and if anything, people who use medications such as sildenafil for recreational use were more likely to develop an addiction when compared to people who use with a prescription.
Tolerance to ED drugs has been seen, although not common. In a 2007 study archived in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, patients who took the medication for four years still found the treatment effective. Doctors confirmed, "almost all of these men reported improved ability to engage in sexual activity."
Sensory issues (problems with your sensory and auditory systems), gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract infections (UTIs) or the inability to ejaculate were reported, but not common. More extreme health issues such as cardiovascular concerns (heart attacks, strokes and heart palpitations) can arise but are rare. Medications are a viable option; however, there are uncommon short- and long-term side effects. If you're interested in erectile dysfunction medication, speak to your doctor.
If you’ve been taking ED drugs from a young age, chances are you probably don’t have much to worry about as long as you continue to take your prescribed dosage. But there are non-pharmaceutical alternatives to these drugs. Wearable devices, such as Eddie by Giddy®, a Class II, FDA-registered device that goes around the base of the penis during sex, are one way to avoid the side effects of long-term use of pharmaceutical ED drugs.