Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are a class of drugs widely used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). PDE5 inhibitors are also used for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

Their ability to treat erectile dysfunction was discovered accidentally during the clinical trials of the drugs’ use for PAH and angina.

Also called impotence, erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex, according to Mayo Clinic. If ED is an ongoing issue, it can cause stress, affect men’s self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. In the United States, 30 million to 50 million men deal with ED.

PDE5 inhibitors are the first line of treatment for men with ED caused by improper blood flow to the penile organ. The drugs inhibit the secretion of the enzyme PDE5 in order to stop the degradation of a chemical called cGMP. When this happens, the body is able to release nitric oxide on sexual stimulation, causing an erection.

In this post, we will talk about the generic PDE5 inhibitors available for the treatment of ED.

  • Sildenafil (Generic Viagra)

Sildenafil is the first recognized PDE5 inhibitor that was FDA-approved in 1998 under the brand name Viagra to treat ED in men. It usually takes an hour to work and lasts about 4 hours post-dosage. Generic sildenafil is available in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg dosages. The average price of Generic Viagra 100mg is $25, approximately 98% cheaper than brand Viagra that costs $1,219 for 30 tablets, according to GoodRx.

  • Vardenafil (Generic Levitra)

The FDA approved vardenafil in early 2003 for the treatment of ED. It has a relatively shorter duration of onset, with the effect experienced with 10 minutes of dosage. Generic vardenafil usually lasts for about 5 hours. It comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg doses. The lowest GoodRx price for generic vardenafil 20 mg is around $72, 84% cheaper than brand Levitra that costs $458.90 for 10 tablets.

  • Tadalafil (Generic Cialis)

Tadalafil has been on the market since late 2003 for the treatment of ED. The drug takes effect within 20 minutes. However, unlike other PDE5 inhibitors, generic Cialis has the longest duration of action of nearly 36 hours. It is available in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg dosages. For 30 tablets, generic tadalafil 5 mg costs $22, 96% off the average brand Cialis price of $299, according to GoodRx.

  • Avanafil (Generic Stendra)

Avanafil is a relatively new PDE5 inhibitor. The FDA approved avanafil for ED treatment in 2012. Generic Stendra takes effect within 30 to 45 minutes and lasts for up to 5 hours. It is available in doses of 50 mg to 200 mg. Stendra 100 mg costs around $70 per tablet, but prices may fluctuate between pharmacies. There is no generic avanafil available in the United States. Generic PDE5 inhibitors are particularly effective for ED caused by physiological factors, such as poor blood circulation. However, they are not effective for ED caused by psychological factors, such as depression, anxiety, or stress.