Suggested ‘Lead Time’ for Top 3 Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

Each with its own unique duration of action, Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis don’t vary as widely when it comes to the time it takes to experience each drug’s onset of action. It’s probably advisable to take each of these medications 60 minutes before the anticipated  start of sexual activity.

Not all erectile dysfunction drugs are created equal. The big three — Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis — also happen to be the first of this category of drugs to be introduced. Viagra debuted in 1998 and was followed to market by Levitra and Cialis in 2003.

All three of these medications belong to a family of medications known collectively as PDE5 inhibitors and are so called because they temporarily disable the phosphodiesterase-5 enzyme that can interfere with blood flow to the penis. While they all work in much the same way, each has its own unique chemical composition, and each varies in subtle — and not so subtle — ways from the others.

How Quickly Do They Work?

If you plan on using one of these drugs to help you achieve and sustain an erection, it’s essential that you know how long it takes for each drug to become effective. Here is a brief profile of each of these three drugs:

  • Viagra (sildenafil citrate) comes in tablets of 25, 50, and 100 milligrams. The recommended starting dose is 50 milligrams, which can be adjusted upward or downward depending on the patient’s reaction to the starting dose. Pfizer recommends that it be taken 30 to 60 minutes before the anticipated start of sexual activity. Although it can be taken with or without food, a heavy and/or fatty meal taken concurrently with Viagra could delay the onset of action. Viagra’s effects typically last from three to five hours.
  • Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride) is available in tablets of 2.5, 5, 10, and 20 milligrams. The recommended starting dose is 10 milligrams, which can be adjusted upward or downward as needed. The drug should be taken 60 minutes before sexual activity, and its duration of action runs from four to six hours.
  • Cialis (tadalafil) is sold in two different formulations, only one of which is to be taken as needed. That formulation is sold in tablets of 5, 10, and 20 milligrams, and the recommended starting dose is 10 milligrams. It is by far the longest-lasting of the three leading ED drugs with a duration of action as long as 36 hours. Although Cialis as needed can take effect as quickly as 30 minutes, it is probably advisable to take the drug an hour before the anticipated start of sexual activity. The other version of Cialis is known as daily Cialis and must be taken daily in order to ensure that the user is ready for action whenever the need arises.

If you are interested in learning more about ED, its causes, and the medications available to treat it, click below to reach’s Erectile Dysfunction page. There you can place an order for one of these drugs if you so choose.