Subtle, efficient, and powerful, Viagra is a first-line agent of erection, along with its accomplices, Cialis and Levitra. True, there are other agents out there, such as penile implants and injections, but these three, the triumvirate of pills, are the go-to agents, because they work so well for so many people.
Viagra wasn’t so much invented as happened upon. Its ability to restore erections was discovered as a side effect of a clinical trial targeted towards treating heart disease. Viagra was supposed to reduce anginal chest pain by increasing blood flow to the heart. It turned out that Viagra did increase blood flow, but to a different organ. After the trial, when the company asked the test subjects to return the extra pills, the patients refused because their erections were so much better. And so the agents of erection were born.
Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra all work the same way–sort of like coffee for the penis. Similar to coffee, which works by preventing the breakdown of the energy molecule ATP, thus increasing metabolic energy, these agents inhibit an enzyme that breaks down a different energy molecule (cGMP) that is found in the penis. This energy molecule causes the arteries of the penis to dilate which is how erections begin. Because cGMP is not being broken down, more cGMP is available, and for a longer period of time. More cGMP equals more blood to the penis. Cue the Love Boat theme.
These medications, as a class called PDE5 inhibitors, are not aphrodisiacs and are no replacement for sexual stimulation. In other words, the traditional rules of engagement still apply. They can take up to one hour to start working, during which time foreplay and intimacy is important for a good experience. All three medications work equally well, with Cialis having the longest effect. Aside from the usual side effects from most pills that include headaches and upset stomach, the major concern with these medications is that they can have dire consequences if one is also taking certain heart or blood pressure medications, namely nitrate-containing medications and alpha-blockers. Dangerously low drops in blood pressure can result, leading to strokes and heart attacks.
These first-line agents of erection are intended for mild to moderate cases of erectile dysfunction. Because this disease is frequently a harbinger of other medical problems such as diabetes and heart disease that you should really know about, a thorough evaluation by a doctor should be performed before it is prescribed. So for health’s sake, please resist the temptation to purchase them from your email spam folder and see a doctor; although embarrassing at first, you’ll be happier in the long run.