Since erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs were introduced, scientists have studied different formulas that may be easier to take while still providing the right amount of the drug. Some people have trouble swallowing pills. Some want a more discreet way to take them without having to grab a glass of water. A newer option is the chewable tablets.
In the United States, ED chewable tablets are only available through the BlueChew online subscription service. According to the company’s website, it makes chewable versions of sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). (Although the active ingredients are approved by the FDA, the chewable forms of these drugs have not been approved separately.)
Unlike traditional ED pills, chewable tablets are not manufactured directly by pharmaceutical companies in the United States. They are created in a compounding pharmacy. A doctor affiliated with the company will prescribe them for you after an online visit with the doctor.
The tablets are sent directly to your home. Monthly subscription fees range from $ 20 to $ 120 plus taxes and shipping, depending on the number of tablets you need. You can cancel your subscription whenever you want.
Prep pharmacies make custom drugs when the exact drug or formula you need is not available for sale. BlueChew partners with state-licensed compounding pharmacies across the country or works with a compounding pharmacy of your choice. (The Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) offers a search tool at https://www.pccarx.com/Resources/FindACompounder.)
Sildenafil was the first oral erectile dysfunction drug approved by the FDA. It belongs to the class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors. This means that they stop PDE5, an enzyme that can impede blood flow to your penis.
The chewable product works the same as the traditional little blue pill. You take it as needed, about an hour before sex, and its effects last 4 to 6 hours. It is best not to eat a high fat meal beforehand. Sildenafil takes longer to work if there is fat in your bloodstream.
The chews are available in doses of 30 milligrams and 45 milligrams. This is slightly different from the 25 milligram and 50 milligram pill doses, which are prescribed for people over and under 65, respectively. (Traditional sildenafil is also available in a 100 milligram dose.)
In a direct comparison between the pill and the chewable forms, the possible side effects were the same. They included:
- Short-term vision problems
- Hot flashes
- Runny or stuffy nose
In most cases, the side effects were mild and went away on their own.
Tadalafil is also a PDE5 inhibitor. It stays active for up to 36 hours, so you have more choices about when to take it. You can use it as needed or take one every day. You don’t need to watch what you eat except to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice. They can change the way your body processes tadalafil.
Chews are available in 6 milligrams or 9 milligrams, while tablets are available in 10 milligram or 20 milligram single dose tablets and 5 milligram daily tablets.
Common side effects of tadalafil include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Discomfort in the belly area
- Back ache
- Sore muscles
These effects are usually mild and go away on their own after a short time.
Choose between the two
There is no research comparing the chewable versions. But a 2017 review study found that tadalafil and sildenafil worked roughly the same and had similar side effects. The only big difference was that many of those who took part in the study said they felt more confident when taking tadalafil. This may be because the effects of tadalafil last longer – up to 36 hours compared to 12 hours for sildenafil.
No erectile dysfunction medication is safe to take if you are taking nitrates for your heart. The combination can drop your blood pressure to a dangerous level. Discuss all medications you are taking with the doctor who is treating your ED. This will help you to avoid interactions with blood pressure medications and other medications.
The films and tablets that dissolve quickly on or under your tongue are innovative delivery systems for erectile dysfunction drugs that also do not require water. They can work faster than pills.
Vardenafil, another PDE5 inhibitor which is the active ingredient in Levitra, is available as a dissolving tablet (Staxyn). You take it an hour in advance and let it dissolve on your tongue.
A first trial of the sildenafil film found that the 100 milligram dose was comparable to the conventional coated pill. It is now available in Europe.