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Unsure about a treatment?
Ask our medical team for impartial information and advice about any treatment we provide or medical condition that we treat before you buy.

*Prescription medicines are supplied subject to a medical consultation at the discretion of a doctor.

  • How long do I have to leave between doses?

    You should not take Viagra, Spedra or Levitra in a 24-hour period. You should not take more than one Cialis 10mg or 20mg tablet in a 36-hour period and more than two ‘as required’ Cialis tablets in a week. Do not take more than one Cialis Daily in a 24-hour period.

  • Is one brand of ED treatment more effective than another?

    Cialis, Levitra, Spedra, and Viagra (sildenafil) work in a similar way to produce an erection but there are subtle differences in length of duration and speed of onset.

    Cialis generally has the fastest onset, sometimes within as little as 15 minutes. It also produces the longest effect, up to 36 hours. Is not affected by food and can be taken as little as 30 minutes or up to 12 hours before it is needed.

    Spedra works as quickly as 15 minutes and last up to 6 hours.

    Levitra takes around 30 minutes to produce an erection and lasts a little longer than Viagra - up to 5 hours.

    Viagra takes on average 30 minutes to kick in and continues for around 4 hours. This also applies to Sildenafil tablets.

    We are all different and one type of tablet may work better for you than another. In addition, factors like the amount of alcohol consumed and when and what you ate can alter the effects of the individual treatments. You may wish to try different tablets and see which suits you best. Each treatment should be tried at least 4 - 8 times before deciding if it is effective for you before changing strength or drug.

  • If one of these ED treatments isn't effective, can I try another?

    We are all different and one type of tablets may work better for you than another. You may want to try different tablets and see which suits you the best. Remember to try each treatment multiple times before trying a different strength or drug.

    You should never take different treatments at the same time; leave at least 24 hours between taking any erectile dysfunction treatments (leave 36 hours for Cialis).

  • What are the side effects of Erectile Dysfunction treatment?

    Viagra and the other erectile dysfunction treatments in the same family, are very well tolerated. Any adverse effects that do occur are mostly mild, including:

    • Headaches
    • Flushing
    • Heartburn
    • Nasal congestion

    For a full list of side effects, see each individual treatment page.

  • Should I avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice when taking ED tablets?

    Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can reduce the elimination of certain medicines from the body. This may lead to a build up drug in your system. For this reason we advise you avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice whilst taking erectile dysfunction medication.

  • What do I do if the ED tablet I took didn't work?

    The usual starting dose for erectile dysfunction tablets is
 Viagra 50mg, Sildenafil 50mg, Cialis 10mg, Spedra 100mg or Levitra 10mg. If it has not had the desired effect or didn't last 4 hours then it is important to try again for another 3 separate occasions before moving up to the higher strength. It can take a few attempts at first before you get the desired effect for your treatment.

    If the starting dose was more effective than anticipated then reduce the dose to the lower strength treatment.

    With all the ED treatments arousal is necessary, the tablets will not work without it and the medication will then simply wear off after 4 hours.

    Avoid taking ED medication with a heavy meal/high fat meal. This may delay the onset/ take longer to start working.

    Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is not recommended as it will impair your ability to achieve an erection and you will not receive the maximum benefits form the medication.

  • Can I cut any of the Erectile Dysfunction treatments in half?

    Both The Independent Pharmacy and the manufacturers of ED treatments do not recommend cutting or breaking any of the ED treatments.


  • If my erection does not subside after 4 hours, what should I do?

    An erection that lasts for more than 4 hours (known as priapism) needs urgent medical attention. If left untreated, it can cause long-term damage to the penis. It is important to understand that this condition is rare, if you use erectile dysfunction treatments sensibly and as directed there is only a very small risk of this occurring.

  • If I take an ED tablet every time I have sex, will I become addicted to it?

    Viagra and the other erectile dysfunction treatments are not addictive but it is important to bear in mind that by taking this medication you are treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause of the condition. Therefore in the future you may need a higher strength tablet if the underlying condition was to get worse. If the erection difficulties are due to performance anxiety then men may feel unable to perform without them and become psychologically reliant on them as a back up.

  • Will I have to take ED treatments forever?

    The amount of time you need to take erectile dysfunction medications for will depend on the cause of your condition. If it is due to another medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity by changing your lifestyle and getting effective treatment for this condition, you may see a slow improvement in your symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

    Alternatively, if your ED is caused by psychological reasons like anxiety, you may need counseling to overcome the issues at the heart of your condition. Remember that erectile dysfunction treatments treat the symptoms of ED but not the underlying causes.

  • Is Erectile Dysfunction same as impotence?

    Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the condition when sufficient erection cannot be attained or maintained long enough for normal sexual function. It is commonly referred to as male impotence.

  • Do all men have Erectile Dysfunction?

    Not necessarily. However, one in five men will experience it at some stage in their lives, even though only 10% of those who have it ever seek treatment. It is commonly perceived as lack of virility and loss of manliness, therefore men tend to keep the incidence to themselves and suffer in silence unnecessarily.

  • So ED is not all in the head?

    This is one of the most damaging misconceptions about erectile dysfunction. According to a University of Maryland Medical Centre report, only 15% of the cases are purely psychological in nature. The causes of the remaining 85% can be traced to some physical problem. Anxiety, unresolved anger and other emotional issues between partners are the usual psychological causes. Depression also may cause impotence.

  • Can Erectile Dysfunction be prevented?

    Whilst all causes of erectile dysfunction may not be preventable, maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes a long way in preventing the physical causes such as hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis and heart disease. Smoking, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, are some examples of the other preventable causes. Effective communication between partners also helps.

  • Can Erectile Dysfunction be cured?

Most cases of erectile dysfunction respond to medication. Viagra, or other treatments such as Sildenafil, Cialis and Levitra, help those with ED to achieve erection and maintain it. They are normally taken around and hour before sex and will only work when you become aroused. For most people they are not available from the NHS and must be paid for privately from your local GP or an Online Pharmacy.

  • Is sex counselling and surgery necessary to resolve ED?

    Not in most cases of ED. To identify and resolve psychological causes of ED, sex counselling can help. Surgical correction of physical defects, if any, can resolve ED in some cases. When non-surgical treatment measures are exhausted, surgery to implant a penile prosthesis can be considered to manage the condition.


  • What are the other treatment options for Erectile Dysfunction?

    • Lifestyle changes - Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, getting regular physical exercise, and reducing weight are all that may be necessary to resolve the issue in many cases.
    • Vacuum devices - 
They are applied externally to create a vacuum that helps draw in blood to the penis. A ring is used at the base of the penis to reduce outflow and maintain the erection longer.
    • Referral to other healthcare professionals - 
The case may be referred to an urologist or to neurologist, if necessary. If the condition persists even after the probable physical reasons are ruled out, a psychologist may help resolve the issue.
  • Can I buy ED treatment online?

    Yes, you can buy all available erectile dysfunction treatments online from The Independent Pharmacy. By filling in a consultation for one of our UK prescribers to check and, if appropriate, they can issue with a prescription for the ED treatment of your choice. This prescription is then dispensed by our NHS pharmacy and dispatched to a location of your choice.

  • How do I know the Erectile Dysfunction treatment I receive is not fake?

    All the ED treatments we supply are sourced from the same UK wholesalers used by your local high street pharmacy. We always ensure that the products we supply are of the highest quality and have a UK product licence. Being a registered NHS pharmacy we use the same medicines for our Online Pharmacy service as we supply to our NHS patients. 

  • Is my ED permanent? Can it come and go?

    Erectile dysfunction can indeed come and go, either with improvements in blood flow following treatment, which then deteriorate again, or with the psychological effects such as stress easing off but later worsening. ED can also strike when you least expect it, or when you overthink it, which can be very frustrating.

  • Does erectile dysfunction affect ejaculation, sperm count and fertility?

    The main symptom of ED is being unable to sustain an erection. Despite this, a man may still have sexual desire and be able to have an orgasm and to ejaculate.

    Erectile dysfunction can cause male infertility because it can interrupt or prevent intercourse. In order to conceive, sperm must travel to a partner's egg during intercourse. Thus, problems that prevent or interrupt intercourse cause an inability to deliver sperm to the egg and lead to infertility.

    In some (but not all) cases, ED may be linked to a low sperm count, low levels of testosterone or difficulty with conception.

  • Can bodybuilding activities and pills cause ED?

    Bodybuilders sometimes regularly use steroids, DMAA (dimethylamylamine) or hormone treatments that can cause or worsen the symptoms of ED.  

  • What other conditions can be linked to ED?

    Cancers and liver conditions, such as Hepatitis C, are often linked with ED online, however no formal trials have been completed.

  • Could my ED be caused by using condoms?

    Many men claim that ED is caused directly by using condoms. While condoms can, in some cases, interfere with arousal and therefore erections, there is no direct link between the two. Erectile dysfunction occurs when an erection is not possible, rather than being caused by a condom. Ensuring that your condoms are the correct fit for you could fix the problem.

Authored By:

A photo of  Andy Boysan

Andy Boysan


Published on: 29-05-2019

Last modified on: 29-07-2019

Andy is a co-founder, the superintendent pharmacist and director at The Independent Pharmacy.

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Scott McDougall

Scott McDougall


Reviewed on: 29-07-2019

Next review date: 29-07-2021

Scott is one of the two founders of The Independent Pharmacy. He is a registered pharmacist and the registered manager of our service with the CQC.

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