Does ED always need treatment?
No. Sometimes making lifestyle adjustments can make it go away. If you drink a lot of alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or take recreational drugs, curbing these habits can help with erections.
Being overweight can be a factor in ED too, so eating a healthy diet and exercising more is a good solution as well.
You might get erectile dysfunction if you’re anxious about sex. And talking to someone about it, whether it’s your partner, a friend or a therapist, can make all the difference. If you find that having conversations about it doesn’t help though, medication may be recommended.
Which erectile dysfunction pills are best?
It’s down to personal choice on your part really, and your health background.
Viagra is a household name and has been around the longest, and some would argue it’s the most successful treatment for ED.
The generic, Sildenafil, is less expensive, but has the same active ingredient in it, and functions in the same way in the body.
The benefit of Cialis is that you only have to take one and it stays active for up to 36 hours (other ED drugs average about 4 or 5 hours).
There’s also a smaller dose version of this designed to be taken every day, called Cialis once-a-day. With the everyday version, you’re ‘ready to go’ all the time, and you don’t have to wait around for the drug to take effect (it takes half an hour to an hour for most others). Tadalafil (generic Cialis), is cheaper and works in exactly the same way.
As well as being a licensed treatment for ED, Tadalafil is an approved option for BPH (or benign prostatic hyperplasia) which is when you have an enlarged prostate. So if you experience BPH and ED, Tadalafil can treat both conditions.
Spedra is an on-demand treatment that starts to work from 15 minutes after you take it. It’s a good option for men who want a quick-acting drug, but don’t want to take something every day.
And then there’s Levitra, which is said to be better for older men or men with pre-existing conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes.
Injections for erectile dysfunction
Another prescription medication for ED is injections. You may find that tablets aren’t the right treatments for you, or that your body doesn’t tolerate them. ED injections such as Caverject and Papaverine kick in very quickly (within five minutes) and they both contain the same active ingredient (alprostadil) so if you’re looking for fast results, injections can give you that.
You inject these medications into the penis directly, and you don’t need to be aroused in the first place for them to take effect. If you’ve not used them before though, you should see your clinician or a pharmacist prescriber in the first instance, as they will need to show you how to do it.
You shouldn’t use injections any more than three times a week (and not more than once over any 24 hour period). We don’t offer these at the moment, so you’ll need to see a doctor in person if you’re interested in using one.
What about erectile dysfunction creams?
Although some creams have been licensed to treat ED elsewhere in the world, there are currently no licensed ED treatments available to buy in Australia.
The most popular prescription cream for ED in Europe is Vitaros, which is applied to the opening of the urethra (the opening at the tip of your penis) and the active ingredient in it, alprostadil, helps to widen the blood vessels in the penis. Once the blood vessels are more dilated, more blood flows into the penis, and this allows you to get an erection.
In some countries you can also get a ‘urethral suppository’ - basically a very small pellet you insert into the opening at the end of your penis - called MUSE. MUSE, however, is also unavailable in Australia. So although there have been studies looking into providing alternative topical ED treatments here, at the moment you only have two treatment options: tablets or injections.
Can you get erectile dysfunction pills over the counter?
No, you need a prescription to be able to get any licensed ED treatments. You can get a prescription for ED treatments from us, just talk to us about your health and we’ll send you the best treatment for you based on your health needs and preferences.
This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.