The Independent Pharmacy

What Is The Latest Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2024

Erectile dysfunction (ED) treatments have advanced greatly over the years. New oral medications, as well as other treatment options, now allow men to regain normal erections and enjoy healthy sex lives.

Current oral ED medications remain the mainstay of treatment due to their unmatched effectiveness and ease of use. Pioneering drugs like Viagra (sildenafil) revolutionised treatment when first introduced in the 1990s. Today, men have access to a wider selection of oral medications to meet their needs.

Beyond pills, additional therapies now exist, too. Topical treatments, mechanical devices, surgery, stem cell therapy, and shock wave therapy offer alternatives. Ongoing research also looks to bring more cutting-edge solutions in the future. But even though there are new solutions being tested, it's worth noting that nothing has proven to be as effective as the oral treatments that are currently available.

Here's all you need to know about treatments for erectile dysfunction that are on the market or being tested at the moment.

Viagra Tablets (25mg, 50mg & 100mg)
Viagra Tablets (25mg, 50mg & 100mg)
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Key Takeaways

  • Oral medications remain the gold standard ED treatment, with unmatched patient success rates enabling erection firmness when sexually aroused
  • Medical guidance helps men explore tailored solutions best matching individual health profiles and preferences across pills, topicals, devices, surgery
  • Ongoing research strives to expand and enhance future options but tested existing treatments already improve sexual function for most

The Unmatched Effectiveness of Oral ED Treatments

Viagra (Sildenafil)

When talking about treatments for erectile dysfunction, most men might think of Viagra (Sildenafil). And while Viagra and its generic version, Sildenafil, are available on prescription, you can now also get Viagra Connect, which has 50mg of the active ingredient sildenafil, over the counter.

Viagra works by relaxing the muscles in the blood vessels of the penis. This increases blood flow, helping to create strong erections suitable for sexual intercourse. It takes 30 to 60 minutes for Viagra to start working, and the results can last up to 4 hours.

Easy to take as needed right before sexual intercourse, Viagra gives men simple, effective independence in treating their sexual health condition rather than relying solely on medical procedures conducted by doctors. It's an ED medication with a proven ability to successfully restore erectile capacity and enjoyment of sex to males with health impediments preventing ideal erections.

Sildenafil Tablets (25mg, 50mg & 100mg)
Sildenafil Tablets (25mg, 50mg & 100mg)
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Following Viagra’s Path

Witnessing Viagra's immense market success and patient demand, other competing pharmaceutical companies soon developed and released their own effective oral ED medications as additional options:

Cialis (Tadalafil)

What makes Cialis (Tadalafil) unique compared to other ED medicines available is its much longer-lasting time of action after taking a single pill.

While other options like Viagra only work for about 4-5 hours normally, one dose of Cialis can enable men to get firm erections for up to 36 hours when they become aroused or stimulated. This means Cialis provides a lot more flexibility regarding when a man chooses to engage in sexual activity after taking it. He does not need to directly time pill usage right before intercourse.

This unmatched extended window of effectiveness earned Cialis the nickname “The Weekend Pill” since it covers the typical two-day period most couples set aside for intimacy opportunities. For men with chronic troubles achieving hardened erections, having such prolonged help through a simple pill brought much-needed freedom and relief.

Cialis Tablets (10mg & 20mg)
Cialis Tablets (10mg & 20mg)
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What interests both patients and healthcare professionals about Vardenafil during medical testing is how quickly it starts working to improve erection firmness in males struggling with the common condition.

Study data showed Vardenafil (Levitra) can start helping men get erections firm enough for sex in just 25 minutes after they take a pill, as long as they swallow it on an empty stomach without recent food, which can slow effects. This fast start of assistance contrasts with Viagra, which often takes over an hour to start working for ED symptom relief.

Vardenafil Tablets (5mg, 10mg & 20mg)
Vardenafil Tablets (5mg, 10mg & 20mg)
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Spedra (Avanafil)

What makes Spedra (Avanafil) stand out is its very fast working properties, as shown in multiple clinical studies. Clinical trial results display that Spedra starts improving erection ability incredibly fast for most men - within 15 minutes after a man takes a dose.

This rapid speed of restoring sexual performance capability, when aroused, is much quicker than older medicines like Viagra. So Spedra appeals greatly to men who desire confidence, knowing their ED pill will start working quickly when they need it to.

Just like with any medication, you might experience some side effects with Spedra. These include headache, flushing, nasal congestion or back pain.

For men newly diagnosed with ED and worried about starting medications, Spedra provides a gentle, fast-acting treatment choice.

Spedra Tablets (50mg, 100mg & 200mg)
Spedra Tablets (50mg, 100mg & 200mg)
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Additional ED Treatment Options

The Often-Overlooked Topical Treatment: Vitaros

In addition to oral medications taken by mouth, another potential treatment avenue doctors may recommend for erectile issues is topical creams applied directly on the penis. One medically approved topical solution in the UK is called Vitaros. This cream offers an alternative way to treat ED for men seeking options beyond pills.

The Vitaros cream contains alprostadil as the active ingredient. Alprostadil helps widen blood vessels to increase blood flow, making it easier to attain full erections with stimulation. The cream gets massaged into the penis before sex. Absorption directly through the skin brings fast symptom relief in 5 to 30 minutes.

As the first and only approved ED topical treatment in the country, Vitaros represents an easy and effective localised delivery method, adding to the selections available beyond oral drugs with whole-body effects.

Vitaros Cream
Vitaros Cream
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Beyond Medication - Mechanical and Surgical Solutions

For men who find that medications don't fully address their needs or who are looking for different approaches, it's important to remember that this is a common and understandable concern. Doctors are ready to explore other helpful interventions with you. Options like penis pumps and penile implants can provide solutions when erection troubles persist.

Penis Pumps

Penis pumps involve using a plastic tube device placed over the penis, forming an airtight seal. A manual or electronic pump is then activated to create a vacuum pressure, gently pulling blood flow into vessels of erectile tissue. Once firmness develops, a band placed around the base of the penis can maintain the erection for up to 30 minutes typically. However, don't leave the tension ring on for more than 30 minutes as that could lead to an injury.

The vacuum device offers a non-invasive way to induce erections without drugs when arousal itself fails to produce adequate firmness. These can suit those desiring temporary relief of ED issues during intimacy efforts after other attempts prove frustratingly ineffective.

Penile Implants

In cases where erectile difficulties are particularly challenging, it's comforting to know that surgical options are available. These are approached with the utmost care and consideration for each individual's situation. Penile implants (or prostheses) get inserted into the penis through an outpatient procedure requiring only local pain relief. Flexible rods manually controlled or saline implants automatically inflated on demand provide rigidity when sexually stimulated.

Implants offer a possibility for permanent, dependable erections when other less invasive options do not give the desired outcomes. After healing from placement surgery, implants can enable satisfying intimacy with manually or automatically induced firmness for years before any potential need for replacement.

New ED Treatments

In working to further improve erectile dysfunction (ED) symptom relief, medical researchers actively study new treatment techniques using advanced technologies. Several promising options undergoing current testing include:

Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy: This new treatment uses gentle waves of energy to treat the penis, which may improve its function. Results suggest enhanced blood vessel and tissue growth, improving firmness and strength. Still requires more evidence.

Stem Cell Therapy: Experimental injections of specialised stem cells derived from fat or bone marrow into penile tissue may encourage new blood vessels and nerve cell rejuvenation, restoring natural erectile responses. But much more research lies ahead.

Platelet-Rich Plasma: Concentrated platelet cell samples from the patient get injected into the penis. Platelets release growth factors repairing damage, aiming to heal ED causes and regain erectile function. While it's one of the tested ED treatments, the results of studies show that it won't replace reliable ED pills anytime soon.

Guidance for Choosing the Right ED Treatment

When facing numerous options for treatments for erectile dysfunction, choosing solutions well-suited to needs requires thoughtful medical guidance through key evaluation steps.

Doctors first assess areas involved in erections, order tests checking for underlying issues potentially contributing to ED, and inquire about medical history.

After completing evaluations, physicians educate patients about possible treatment plans matching both diagnosis findings and personal goals around aspects like types and convenience.

Most importantly, oral ED medications have demonstrated unmatched results, enabling reliable achievement of erection firmness for sexual intimacy when aroused. Multiple decades of data document profound success in treating ED symptoms with proper physician direction to maximise outcomes.

By following individualised medical advice, men can renew sexual passion, confidence and whole life enjoyment.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

Making the decision to seek medical advice is a brave and important step towards addressing any concerns you have about erectile ability. It's a journey many men embark on, and it's a sign of strength to ask for help and explore your options. But making the effort to speak to a healthcare provider still proves difficult for some.

The Independent Pharmacy offers men nationwide a quick initial alternative through their convenient online self-assessment. This form uses a short series of confidential questions examining areas like health history and preferences. Our specialised clinical team then reviews responses to identify suitable prescription or over-the-counter therapies.

The Independent Pharmacy stands out through extraordinary discretion, accessibility and transparency unmatched at local shops. Orders get discreetly delivered directly to doorsteps in unmarked packaging, maintaining utmost privacy. You can also get in touch with us by:

Taking just minutes, completing The Independent Pharmacy’s self-assessment represents a risk-free way for nervous men to explore bespoke medical solutions from home to finally experience intimacy fulfilment again. Regaining enjoyable erectile firmness and sustaining active passion is possible with responsible guidance.


What is the most successful treatment of erectile dysfunction?

Oral medications like Viagra and Cialis have the highest success rates, around 80% when taken as directed. These proven pills have decades of medical track record in enabling firm erections during arousal. Topical creams can also provide relief, avoiding whole-body effects.

Is there anything that really works for ED?

Yes, solutions like oral pills, creams, pumps, and injections can enable erection achievement alone or in combination, depending on individual factors. Following physician guidance is key to exploring the most effective treatment regimens tailored to specifics.

What blocks blood flow to the penis?

Many health issues can reduce blood flow to the penis, causing ED. These include high blood pressure, blocked arteries, diabetes, being overweight, certain diseases like Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis, low testosterone levels, the curvature of the penis (Peyronie's disease), smoking, drinking too much alcohol, certain surgeries or treatments, and some medications.

How can I regain erectile strength?

Exploring treatment options under a doctor’s care based on examinations of contributing issues offers the best path to regaining erectile firmness. Oral or topical medications, mechanical penis pumps, injections, surgical penile implants, shock wave therapy or natural supplements in special nutrient formulas can aid strength. Healthy lifestyle improvements may also bolster blood flow.


About sildenafil (Viagra) - NHS (

Alprostadil cream in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: clinical evidence and experience - PMC (

Vitaros August 14.pdf (

Vacuum erection assistance devices: frequently asked questions | CUH

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