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    What is erectile dysfunction cream?

    On this page
    1. How does erectile dysfunction cream work?
    2. How does erectile dysfunction cream work?
    3. How to use erectile dysfunction cream
    4. How long does it take Vitaros cream to work?
    5. How effective is erectile dysfunction cream?
    6. Do you need to take any precautions when using Vitaros cream?
    7. Side effects of Vitaros
    8. What is the difference between Vitaros cream and Viagra? 
    9. Other options for increasing blood flow to the penis
    10. Treatment options for erectile dysfunction

    Vitaros 3mg - Erectile dysfunction treatment

    Vitaros is an cream used to treat erectile dysfunction (also known as “ED” or impotence). ED is a very common condition, particularly amongst men over the age of 40. It is characterised by an inability to achieve or maintain an erection, making sexual activity difficult.

    Everyone’s erectile behaviour is different and ED can be caused by many different things, and so treatment options vary. If the ED is caused by an underlying condition such as diabetes then medical treatment for this condition will take precedence. Counselling is usually advised if the root cause of the impotence is psychological. Often, additional treatment with an ED tablet such as Viagra or Cialis is needed to help with the problem, at least in the short term.

    Read on to learn more about how ED treatment works, how effective it is, how it differs from other treatments such as Viagra and how you can get it on prescription. 


    How does erectile dysfunction cream work?

    Vitaros contains the active ingredient alprostadil. Alprostadil is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen the blood vessels, increasing blood flow. When applied directly to the penis, alprostadil allows more blood to flow to it, enabling an erection. ED tablets such as Viagra work in a similar way, by enabling greater blood flow to the penis.

    Within five and 30 minutes of applying Vitaros cream, you should get an erection and be able to have sexual intercourse. The effects of ED cream normally last for one or two hours, during which time you should be able to have normal, satisfying sexual intercourse.

    How does erectile dysfunction cream work?

    Vitaros contains the active ingredient alprostadil. Alprostadil is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen the blood vessels, increasing blood flow. When applied directly to the penis, alprostadil allows more blood to flow to it, enabling an erection. ED tablets such as Viagra work in a similar way, by enabling greater blood flow to the penis.

    How to use erectile dysfunction cream

    ED cream must be applied directly to the head of the penis, using the applicator supplied. Before using it, you should make sure you are otherwise prepared for sexual activity, as your erection will happen fairly quickly. You should then wash your hands and follow these steps:

    1. Hold the tip of your penis and gently move the skin to widen the opening to your urethra. If you are uncircumcised, carefully pull back your foreskin to expose the hole.
    2. Hold the applicator containing the cream over the opening of your penis and carefully apply the cream until it is all gone. The cream should enter the opening of your penis, however it is normal for some excess to spill over onto the surrounding skin.
    3. Keep your penis upright for 30 seconds and during this time gently rub the excess cream into the opening of your penis and the skin surrounding it.
    4. Dispose of the applicator and wash your hands.

    Vitaros cream should never be used more than once in 24 hours, and should only be used two to three times a week. If you suffer from impotence and you want to have regular sex, you may be better suited to ED tablets. Cialis Daily is a particularly good option, as this is taken every day and allows you achieve an erection at any time.

    How long does it take Vitaros cream to work?

    Different ED treatments take different times to work, but if you use Vitaros within five to 30 minutes of applying Vitaros cream, you should get an erection and be able to have sexual intercourse. The effects of ED cream normally last for one or two hours, during which time you should be able to have normal, satisfying sexual intercourse.

    How effective is erectile dysfunction cream?

    Studies have reported that 52% of men reported better erections after using the cream, compared to 20% who used a placebo cream. By comparison, 74% of men taking 50mg tablets of Viagra reported improved erections, compared to 25% who used a placebo.

    Do you need to take any precautions when using Vitaros cream?

    If you are going to have penetrative vaginal sex, you should not need to take any precautions (but bear in mind Vitaros isn’t a contraceptive, so if you don’t want to the run the risk of your partner getting pregnant, you’ll need to use a condom or other form of contraceptive). 

    However, if you are going to have anal sex or oral sex, you will need to use a latex condom. You should also use a condom when using Vitaros under the following circumstances:

    • Your partner is pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Your partner may become pregnant soon

    Side effects of Vitaros

    Like all medicines, Vitaros cream is associated with some side effects. The most common are:

    • Pain, itching or tenderness in the penis
    • Tingling or throbbing in the penis
    • Swelling in the skin of the penis
    • Inflammation around the head of the penis
    • Mild burning or itching in your partner’s vagina

    Less common side effects include dizziness, fainting, and numbness in the penis. In some cases, it is also possible to get an erection that lasts longer than four hours. This is known as priapism and requires medical attention. A full list of side effects comes in the leaflet included with the medication.

    What is the difference between Vitaros cream and Viagra? 

    If you are experiencing from erectile dysfunction and unsure which treatment is right for you, read on to learn more about the key similarities and differences between Vitaros and ED tablets like Viagra.

    Prescription-only treatments

    Both Viagra and Vitaros are prescription-only treatments, meaning they need to be prescribed by a clinician. You can access a treatment called Viagra Connect (which contains the same active ingredient as Viagra and works in the same way) without a prescription. You just have to answer a couple of pharmacist questions to make it’s right for you. 

    Taking Viagra or Vitaros

    • Vitaros is a cream applied to the penis
    • Viagra is taken as a tablet orally. 

    Speed

    • Vitaros can help you get an erection between five and 30 minutes after applying the cream. 
    • Viagra takes between 30 and 60 minutes to take effect. 

    Duration

    • Vitaros can last between one and two hours.
    • Viagra can last around four hours. 

    Effectiveness

    • As mentioned above, Vitaros is thought to be around 52% effective. 
    • Depending on the strength of the Viagra dosage it can be between 62-82% effective

    Frequency

    • Vitaros can be used two to three times a week. 
    • Viagra can be taken daily (no more than once within a 24 hour period). 

    Condoms

    You should always wear a condom to protect against STIs. If your partner can get pregnant and you don’t want to run this risk, you should use a condom or other form of contraceptive. 

    But if you don’t need to wear a condom:

    • With Vitaros you don’t need to wear a condom for vaginal sex, but you will need to wear one for anal and oral sex. 
    • With Viagra you don’t need to wear a condom. 

    It’s important to note that Vitaros is not intended for use in combination with Viagra or any other ED tablets. If you have used either, you should wait at least 24 hours until using Vitaros or an ED tablet again.

    Other options for increasing blood flow to the penis

    If you’re not sure about medication, there are some other options you could try to see if they help your erectile dysfunction. We’ve listed a few options below:

    Eating habits

    A balanced diet is so important for all aspects of your physical and mental health, and it can impact your erectile dysfunction too. ED is all about blood flow, so people with conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes (which can sometimes be associated with being overweight or a poor diet), are more likely to experience ED

    Find out more about the impact of diet on ED here

    Regular exercise

    In the same vein as eating better can help your physical and mental health, the same goes for exercise. Exercise helps your circulation, strengthening your heart and blood vessels, and this in turn can help the blood flow to your penis when you have an erections. 

    You can also try exercises that zone in on the muscles needed for erections. Exercises like Kegels target your pelvic floor and when done regularly can help reduce ED. 

    Find out more about exercise and ED here

    Reduce alcohol consumption

    Like with a lot of health conditions, reducing your alcohol intake can have a big impact on erectile dysfunction. Drinking too much can cause ED, but also it can impact how effectively ED treatments work. So reducing your alcohol intake might stop you from experiencing ED in the first place, or might mean you find the treatment works better. 

    Find out more about alcohol, ED and other sexual health conditions here

    Reduce stress

    Long-term and short-term stress can impact your ability to get an erection. So reducing stress, while sometimes easier said than done, can really help you to get better erections. 

    Find out more about stress and ED here

    Treatment options for erectile dysfunction

    There are lots of other treatments other than Vitaros that are available for ED including:

    • Tablets you take as and when you want to have sex, for example Viagra, Sildenafil, Cialis, Levitra and Spedra
    • Daily tablets like Cialis Daily or Tadalafil Daily.
    • Vacuums or pumps – these are used around the penis to try and increase blood flow manually. 
    • Therapy or counselling – these can help treat the root cause of ED if it’s related to your mental health or stress.

    If you’re experiencing ED often it’s a good idea to speak to your GP about it, just to make sure there isn’t something else going on. But the good thing is, as we’ve discussed, there’s so many treatments out there from creams, to talking therapies to tablets. You can learn more about ED treatments through our online erectile dysfunction clinic

    Looking for erectile dysfunction treatment?

    Use our online service

    References

    https://www.nice.org.uk/advice/esnm50/chapter/Key-points-from-the-evidence 
    https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/30907

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