When you feel your sexual performance gets worse – to the point when sex is no longer rewarding for both you and your partner – it sure might be the time to consider starting the treatment against erectile dysfunction. However, with so many different drugs currently available to buyers, the process of choosing the right one often gets really challenging. Judge yourself – mere 15 years ago there was only one medication, Viagra, so there was literally no choice and no problems. Now we’ve got Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, their countless generic alternatives and Viagra is still there as well… Which one is the best after all? Even though this question is incredibly hard to answer, we will still try to do that in today’s article.
Of course, every man in search of a perfect ED treatment is looking for very peculiar things – like, longer duration of action, shorter time to onset of action, fewer and milder side effects and so and so on. Thus, instead of trying to come up with the name of the absolute best ED drug, we will try to outline the main pros and cons of each of them and, hopefully, help you to figure out, which medication is the one that fits your needs better.
Nevertheless, we still recommend that you remember that all ED drugs available on the market today work best when prescribed by a professional healthcare provider. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your sexual problems even if ED meds are available over the counter in your country – a quick consulting session and a series of tests might be everything you need in order to understand, which drug is the most likely to give you what you are looking for. Besides, it may turn out that you don’t need any drugs at all and should be looking for an alternative treatment. Anyways, what we’re trying to stress here is that this article is intended for informational purposes only and will help you to understand, which ED meds might fit your requirements better and which are less appropriate for you. Read on – we hope that the things laid out here will make the process of choosing at least a little bit easier for you.
What is Levitra?
Released into the market in 2003, Levitra is one of the more recently developed drugs intended for the treatment of ED. It is currently the third most popular in the world, losing only to Viagra and Cialis. While not any less effective than them, it has a few peculiar features that might be making it lag a bit behind its main opponents. We will talk about these in further paragraphs of the article where we get to comparing different meds while for now let’s focus on this particular pharmaceutical.
Currently manufactured by two companies, Bayer Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKlein, Levitra uses a substance named vardenafil as its main component. Vardenafil is a PDE5 inhibitor, which means that it lowers the effect of a special enzyme called PDE5 – a substance believed to be the cause of erectile dysfunction in most men suffering from this condition. PDE5 interferes with the healthy process of reacting to sexual stimulation. When you get sexually excited, your nerve endings start producing increased amounts of nitric oxide, which interacts with an enzyme called cGMP, causing the muscles in your blood vessels to relax, allowing blood to flow more freely, especially in your pelvic area. As the result, blood enters the cavernous structures inside the body of your penis, making it grow in size and become harder. When there’s too much PDE5 in your system, it blocks cGMP and your body can’t decipher the signals sent by your nerve endings, so sexual excitement doesn’t lead to an erection. By disabling PDE5, vardenafil restores your sexual function making you a healthy man again.
Unfortunately, vardenafil has a rather short half-life, which means that it’s taken out of your body pretty fast, allowing the concentration of PDE5 to return to its previous levels and bringing erectile dysfunction back. It’s sad but it’s true – vardenafil only helps when taken on as-needed basis and can’t fix your sexual health permanently. Anyways, it’s still a good solution that many millions of men around the world choose over alternative ones.
By the way, it’s important to remember that Levitra is not the only vardenafil-based medication intended for treating erectile dysfunction. Well, for US citizens it might seem to be the one as GSK and Bayer hold exclusive patents for vardenafil used for treating ED, so… The variety of choice is clearly not too wide there. In other countries where this patent doesn’t work, however, there are dozens or even hundreds of different brands to choose from. Some work just as fine as Levitra does, some are less effective, but absolutely all of them are considerably cheaper than the name brand. If you’re used to buying your Levitra at $25 or even $30 a pill, here’s the shocking news – you can get its equally powerful alternatives for $5, $3 or even $1 a pill. It’s definitely hard to believe in but it’s true – read what people on different Internet forums say or google Levitra generics and you will see for yourself.
What is Viagra?
Viagra is an erectile dysfunction medication with longest history and most customers compared to alternative pharmaceuticals. Launched into the market in 1998, it quickly turned into a bestseller worldwide taking stunning 92% of the ED drug market by 2000. However, after the launch of Levitra in 2003 and Cialis in 2004, Viagra’s market share has gone down to 45% and keeps decreasing slowly as its competitors keep gaining up on it little by little. Nevertheless, Viagra is still the world’s #1 ED drug and it will stay this way for quite some time, we are sure.
The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil – a PDE5 inhibitor that works exactly like vardenafil in Levitra. It restores healthy sexual function for the period of time equal to its half-life but then, just like with Levitra, its effect wears off. It’s also important to note that sildenafil is used to cure other health conditions apart from erectile dysfunction – it’s used in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and altitude sickness too. Besides, some doctors prescribe it off-label to patients with premature ejaculation problems as it’s known to increase the duration of sexual intercourse significantly. Additionally, current research shows that sildenafil might be effective in treating antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction, even in female patients, which is a huge step towards finding a sexual dysfunction treatment for women, as doctors say.
Just like vardenafil in Levitra, sildenafil is used in a variety of different erectile dysfunction drugs – namely, Viagra itself and all of its generic alternatives, often referred to as ‘generic Viagra’ even though they are available under different brand-names, such as Edegra, Kamagra, Penegra, Silagra, etc. Brand-name Viagra is currently manufactured solely by Pfizer while its generic alternatives come from at least a few hundred different pharmaceutical companies based in India, Mexico, Thailand and other countries of the world.
What is Cialis?
Cialis is the second most popular erectile dysfunction medication in the world and the newest in the ‘big three’ consisting of itself, Viagra and Levitra. It has appeared in the market in 2004 and has been gaining up on Viagra very quickly since then – both thanks to good marketing efforts of its manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, and due to a number of advantages it has over other ED drugs. These include but are not limited to longer duration of action, fewer side effects, fewer known interactions with other drugs and substances, etc. We will be taking a closer look at the full list of its strong and weak sides in further paragraphs of our article as we get to compare it to Viagra and Levitra.
The main ingredient in Cialis is tadalafil – another PDE5 inhibitor that works similarly to vardenafil and sildenafil but also has a number of very peculiar features that make Cialis stand out among other ED meds. First of all, it has longer half-life, which not only makes its effect last longer but also gave its developers a chance to turn Cialis into something that all men have been dreaming of for at least 15 years or so – a medication for daily use that makes ED go away permanently (at least, for as long as you are on the pill). Cialis is currently available in 2 forms – one intended for use as needed and giving you around 36 hours of perfect sexual health or even more – and another one intended for daily use and maintaining the levels of PDE5 permanently low in your system, which basically means that you can enjoy sex any time you want to, without having to time it. The only real difference between the as-needed pill and the daily one is the strength – the daily pills contain 2.5 to 5 mg of tadalafil each while the ones intended for use on as-needed basis have the strength of 10 mg or 20 mg.
Just like vardenafil and sildenafil, tadalafil is used by a few hundreds of different pharmaceutical companies manufacturing ED drugs. If you want brand-name Cialis, you should be looking for meds by Eli Lilly and Company. If you are okay with generics, such as Tadis, Tadacip or Tadalis, you can go for meds by Ajanta Pharma, Cipla Limited, Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited or any other manufacturer that looks reliable enough.
Erectile dysfunction is also not the only health disorder than one can treat with the help of tadalafil. In fact, daily Cialis is used most often in those men who suffer from ED and benign prostatic hyperplasia at once. Being very effective in treating both of these conditions, Cialis improves the patients’ sexual performance and takes away unpleasant symptoms of BPH, such as having to go to the bathroom too often or too urgently, decreased strength of urine stream, dribbling after urination and so and so on.
What is Staxyn?
Staxyn is a brand-new form of vardenafil-based ED drugs recently developed and marketed by the manufacturers of Levitra – GlaxoSmithKlein and Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Basically, it’s very similar to Levitra – it also uses vardenafil as its active ingredient, it is intended for use on as needed basis, it keeps you ready for sex for about 6 hours after you take it… The only big difference is the form it is available in. Contrary to Levitra, which comes as coated tablets that you should take with water, without chewing or breaking, Staxyn is offered in the form of orally disintegrating pills. Just put one in your mouth and that’s it – it will fall apart quickly, preparing you for sex without unwanted hassle. It also tastes great, so don’t worry – washing it down with any drinks is never really a must.
In fact, Staxyn is made to look like it’s a great ED pill for those on the go and always ready for unexpected sexual adventures. It comes in cool blisters that look like chewing gum or lozenge packs, it can be taken without water… However, with an image like this, it’s kind of surprising that the time to the onset of its action is fairly long – as it’s stated on its manufacturer’s official site, you’re supposed to take it at least about an hour before expected sexual activity. So, they made an ED drug that looks like the dream of a man who is into one-nighters but… It takes it so long to start working that you’re more than likely to let the opportunity slip away or pop it when it’s still too early for you to really seal the deal with that girl from the bar… Weird one. Anyway, Staxyn is also quite a popular ED medication, so we guess lots of men have already figured out how to time its use more accurately. Maybe you will manage to do it too!
Levitra vs Viagra
So, here we come to the first match we have on our list tonight – Viagra vs Levitra. We feel it’s going to be a tight one as sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra) actually have a lot in common but… Okay, let’s go take a closer look at these two – maybe there’s more than meets the eye from the first sight.
First of all, let’s take a look at the approximate efficacy rates of these two medications. When you’re choosing one, you want to be more or less sure it will work for you, right? Well, in that respect, Viagra appears to be a slightly better option – according to most recent data, it proves to work well in 84% of men with ED while the same showing for Levitra only totals 80%. Anyway, as you can see, the difference here is not really that huge, so even if Viagra is winning so far, it’s not so far ahead yet.
Levitra supporters longing for an equalizer? Okay, here it comes then – Levitra seems to be performing much better than Viagra when it comes to taking it with food. One of minor flaws of Viagra is the fact that the onset of its action may be pushed back by a good meal. If you take Viagra during a meal, don’t expect it to start working 30 minutes after you take it like it usually does – it’s likely to take a little longer. Levitra, in its turn, can only be affected by a really fatty meal – a light one will not make its response time any longer.
As for duration of action and time to the onset of action... The tight match of Levitra vs Viagra continues here as both of these meds work for 4-5 hours after being taken (usually for up to 6 hours even) and it takes them both around 30 minutes to start working. Well, most sources state that 25 minutes are enough for Levitra but, as you can understand, the difference is subtle again.
Okay, there’s one thing that probably makes Levitra win by a nose. It’s just that this medication seems to have fewer side effects, which are also usually not as intense as those of Viagra’s. While patients of Viagra are relatively likely to suffer from headache, facial flushing, digestion problems, dizziness, nasal congestion or altered vision, those on Levitra very rarely suffer from eyesight problems. As per the rest of the side effects listed for Viagra, yes, Levitra users might experience them too, though probably to a smaller extent.
Levitra vs Cialis
When it comes to comparing Levitra to Cialis, the differences become much more noticeable. We don’t mean to say that Cialis is a better drug all in all but it clearly outshines Levitra in a lot of ways. What are these, you wonder? Read this brief Cialis vs Levitra comparison and you will see.
Okay, let’s start with the most obvious difference between these two meds – the duration of effectiveness. While Levitra keeps you ready for sex for 4-5 hours after you take it, Cialis kicks this showing up to almost unreachable 36 hours. That’s why people call it ‘the weekend pill’: those looking forward to a fun weekend can pop Cialis on Friday night and reap its benefits all the way into Sunday morning or even afternoon. Besides, don’t forget about that daily version of Cialis – if you go for it, you will never have to time your sexual activity again. You will simply be ready for it at all times, as long as you don’t miss any of your daily doses.
Besides, Cialis seems to be much less susceptible to the effect of alcohol and fatty foods. While you’re not advised to drink much when taking Levitra, with Cialis you can have all the drunken fun you want, as long as you keep it under 2 drinks per hour. Plus, you can eat all you want too – even fatty foods don’t affect tadalafil at all.
So, it looks like Cialis is outperforming Levitra in absolutely all respects? Well, don’t be in too much hurry with such conclusions – there is at least one aspect, in which Levitra seems to be the winner of the Levitra vs Cialis battle. As you might have already guessed, it’s all about side effects again. Many men claim that they tolerate Levitra much better than Cialis and various informational resources on ED meds seem to support this point of view too. Here’s what you got stated in the list of Levitra’s most common side effects: facial flushing and headache, that’s it. Less common side effects also include indigestion, dizziness/nausea and nasal congestion – but those are fairly rare. With Cialis, in its turn, you have headache and digestion problems as the most common adverse effects and back pain, muscle aches, nasal congestion, facial flushing and dizziness as less common ones. As you can see, the list is a little longer, so… Maybe Levitra is better than Cialis, at least in this respect.
Staxyn vs Levitra
Frankly speaking, it’s not that easy to compare Staxyn to Levitra because, basically, it is exactly the same medication available in different forms and under different brand names. Thus, unsurprisingly, we don’t get to look at too many characteristics here – while Staxyn’s and Levitra’s efficacy, duration of action and side effects are identical, we’re only left to compare the ways these two meds are administered and how long it takes each of them to start working.
Still, even the comparison of time to onset of action puts Staxyn and Levitra right next to each other, which is one hell of a surprise to those who thought that orally disintegrating tablets are absorbed faster than regular ones. Both of these meds start working 30-60 minutes after being taken, so… Clearly not much to talk about here.
Staxyn is obviously a better option for those who want to make the fact that they are taking ED meds as discreet as it’s only possible. Judge yourself – the package that it is available in is easily disguised as chewing gum or something of that kind, the tablets are taken without water, which means you can just slip one into your mouth even in the middle of the conversation with your date… If that matters to you, then you should probably choose Staxyn over Levitra. By the way, what is really cool is the fact that it costs less – around $13 a pill in most countries while Levitra costs at least $18.
Cialis vs Viagra vs Levitra vs Staxyn
Okay, so the main part of our comparison study is over – now let’s sum it all up and try to choose the winners in all the categories that matter, namely, efficacy, duration of action, time to the onset of action, side effects, susceptibility to interactions with food and alcohol and price. Time to see the winner of the Viagra vs Cialis vs Levitra vs Staxyn battle.
When it comes to efficacy, Viagra appears to be the most reliable option. It works in 84% of patients while the same showings for Cialis, Levitra and Staxyn total 81%, 80% and 80% respectively. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Cialis, Levitra or Staxyn won’t work for you if Viagra didn’t – all of these medications are so different from each other that many doctors agree you need to try all of them in turn to figure out, which one works best for you.
Now on to the duration of action… As you might have already guessed, Cialis leaves its competitors a long way behind here – its as-needed version works for 36 hours as compared to 4-5 for Levitra, Viagra and Staxyn and its daily version, in its turn, works all the time! Thus, if sex is more of an unexpected event rather than planned activity to you, Cialis clearly is the pill for you. Besides, it works best for those who enjoy having sex multiple times during the day. Levitra, Viagra and Staxyn can only be taken once daily, so if you missed your chance during the 4-5 hour window or want to do it one more time, you will have no other option but to wait until the next day. With Cialis, however, you can have all the sex you want in 36 hours after popping the pill or even more.
If you need a pill that works really fast after you take it, then Cialis is probably ahead of the competition again. It takes it 16 to 45 minutes to start working while the remaining three meds are not expected to work sooner than 30-60 minutes after being taken. Even orally dissolving Staxyn can’t outperform Cialis – it takes it just as long to start working as it does Levitra and Viagra.
Okay, what about choosing the right medication if a perfect date the way you perceive it always includes lots of food and some alcohol before sex? Viagra Cialis Levitra or Staxyn? Of course, Cialis again! This medication is less likely to be affected by alcohol than the rest and it always works perfectly, no matter how much you ate or how fatty your meal was.
Scared of side effects? Choose Levitra or Staxyn then – these two cause fewer unwanted adverse effects according to what real people with ED say. In fact, most of Levitra users have taken Viagra and Cialis too – but had to switch to vardenafil because they found the side effects of the other two too bothersome.
And, finally, the price. If you want to save on your ED treatment bill, you should probably go for Staxyn – or for generics, all of which cost more or less the same and are considerably cheaper than the brand-name drugs (sometimes up to 10+ times cheaper, in fact).
Of course, once again, this comparison is for informational purposes only – we didn’t try to choose the best ED med ever or anything here. Just think what really matters to you – and make your choice accordingly, preferably after having discussed it with your doctor to be sure it’s 100% right. Have fun choosing and good luck!