Side effects

Most men who take oral erectile dysfunction medications aren't bothered by side effects. When side effects do occur, they can include:

  • Flushing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Visual changes, such as color tinge to vision, sensitivity to light or blurred vision
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness and fainting

Rarely, more-serious side effects can occur, including:

  • Hearing loss or vision loss. Some men have had sudden loss of hearing or loss of vision after taking one of these medications. However, it isn't clear whether vision or hearing loss was directly caused by taking the medication or by a pre-existing condition. If you're taking an oral erectile dysfunction medication and have sudden loss of hearing or vision, seek prompt medical attention.
  • An erection that doesn't go away on its own. Called priapism, this rare condition can be painful and requires medical treatment to avoid damage to your penis. If you have an erection that lasts more than four hours, seek immediate medical attention.

Buying oral erectile dysfunction medications online

Treatments for erectile dysfunction are big business, and online scams abound. If you do buy medications over the Internet:

  • Check to see if an online pharmacy is legitimate. Never order medications from an online pharmacy if there's no way to contact the pharmacy by phone, if prices seem too good to be true or if you're told no prescription is necessary. Some illegal businesses sell counterfeit versions of legitimate medications, which can be ineffective or dangerous. In the U.S., the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy can tell you whether an online pharmacy is licensed and in good standing.
  • Make sure you get the right prescription and dose. When you order medications — and when you receive them in the mail — make sure they're the exact dose and type prescribed by your doctor.
  • Don't be fooled into buying 'herbal viagra.' Never take any medications that claim to be the "herbal" or nonprescription equivalent of an oral medication for erectile dysfunction. These aren't an effective alternative, and some contain harmful substances.
June 06, 2015 See more In-depth