Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 2/1/2022
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common form of sexual dysfunction that affects more than 18 percent of men aged 20 or older in the United States.
If you’re one of the tens of millions of men affected by ED, you may have looked into treatment options, including the medication Stendra®.
Stendra is a type of PDE5 inhibitor that’s used to treat erectile dysfunction. It was first approved by the FDA in 2012, making it the newest oral medication on the market for improving erections and sexual performance.
Below, we’ve explained what Stendra is, how it works and how it’s different from other common medications for treating ED.
We’ve also shared some other options that you may want to consider if you’re looking for a safe, reliable way to treat erectile dysfunction and improve your sexual health.
Stendra is the brand name for avanafil, a prescription PDE5 inhibitor that’s used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Avanafil, the active ingredient in Stendra, works by blocking the effects of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5), an enzyme that’s present in the smooth muscle cells of certain blood vessels, including the blood vessels that supply the erectile tissue of your penis.
By doing this, avanafil causes the smooth muscle of the blood vessel to relax. This expands the blood vessel and allows blood to flow more easily.
Healthy erections rely on strong blood flow. During sexual stimulation, blood flows into the soft tissue of your penis, called the corpora cavernosa. As pressure builds inside this tissue, your penis becomes larger and firmer, resulting in an erection that’s firm enough for sex.
By increasing blood flow to this tissue, the avanafil in Stendra makes it easier to get and keep an erection during sexual activity.
Just like other erectile dysfunction treatments and drugs, Stendra doesn’t cure ED, nor does it have any impact on sexual desire. Instead, it simply makes it easier for you to get and sustain an erection when you feel sexually aroused.
Stendra starts from $59 per use through our online platform for treating ED. We provide Stendra with discreet and convenient home delivery, subject to approval following an online consultation with a licensed healthcare provider.
If you have a valid prescription, you can also purchase Stendra from most local pharmacies and retail pharmacy chains.
In comparison, sildenafil -- the generic form of Viagra® -- is available from $4 per use using our online platform.
Why the difference? Stendra is a relatively new ED medication that first gained FDA approval in 2012. Unlike Viagra and other ED drugs, there isn’t yet a low-cost, generic version of Stendra on the market.
Generics are medications created to be the same as brand-name drugs. They contain the same active ingredients and provide the same clinical benefits, but are generally available at a fraction of the original medication’s price.
Because no generic form of Stendra is available, the price of Stendra is higher than the prices of sildenafil and tadalafil, the generic versions of Viagra and Cialis®.
So, why use Stendra instead of sildenafil? Although Stendra has a higher retail price than other ED medications, it also has several unique advantages that mean it could be a better choice for you than competing drugs.
One of the biggest advantages of Stendra is that it has a better selectivity profile than other ED medications.
Put simply, this means that Stendra is better at targeting the specific enzyme that controls blood flow to the penis, all without targeting other enzymes that may produce unwanted side effects or reactions.
This means that if you’re prone to side effects from ED drugs, you may have a better experience with Stendra than with older medications.
Although most ED medications are safe and effective, it’s not uncommon to develop side effects while ED medication is active in your body.
Common side effects of medications like sildenafil and tadalafil include headaches, muscle pain, flushing, dyspepsia (indigestion), vision issues, a congested or runny nose, back pain, rash and nausea.
While Stendra can still cause side effects, the rate of many common side effects is lower than it is with other ED drugs.
For example, in clinical trials, 21 percent of people who used Viagra at the normal starting dose of 50mg experienced headaches, while 19 percent experienced flushing.
In comparison, in clinical trials of Stendra, only 6.9 percent of people experienced headaches at the standard 100mg dosage. Flushing was only reported by 4.3 percent of people that took part in the placebo-controlled trials.
Stendra also works faster than medications like sildenafil and tadalafil. While sildenafil can take 30 minutes to one hour to start working, research shows that Stendra often provides relief from ED in 15 to 30 minutes.
This means that Stendra may be a better choice for you if you’re looking for an ED medication that you can take just a few minutes before sex.
Finally, Stendra is slightly longer lasting than other ED medications. In one study, researchers found that Stendra allowed men with ED to successfully have sex up to six hours after dosing, while research suggests that the effects of Viagra last for approximately four hours.
Put simply, Stendra works quickly, lasts for slightly longer than Viagra and is less likely to cause some side effects than older ED drugs.
Although Stendra is a safe and effective medication for most men, it’s important to use it exactly as directed to avoid side effects and interactions.
Stendra can interact with other medications, including nitrates and blood pressure medications such as alpha blockers. When used together, these medications may cause dangerous health issues such as a sudden drop in blood pressure.
To keep yourself safe while using Stendra, make sure to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you currently use or have recently used.
It’s also important to inform your healthcare provider if you’ve ever suffered a heart attack, had heart surgery or have any other chronic health issues that may affect your ability to safely have sex.
Our guide to Stendra side effects goes into more detail about adverse effects and interactions that you should be aware of before taking Stendra.
In addition to Stendra, other medications can help with ED. These include oral medications like sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil, as well as medications such as alprostadil, a type of injection for improving blood flow and producing an erection.
Our guide to the most common erectile dysfunction treatments and drugs discusses how these medications compare in terms of effectiveness, convenience and side effects.
If you think your erectile dysfunction could be caused by a psychological issue, you may benefit from taking part in therapy.
In addition to medication and therapy, simple changes to your lifestyle, such as keeping yourself physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting your alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and avoiding illicit drugs, can all help to improve your erections and sexual health.
We’ve discussed these methods in more detail in our complete guide to naturally protecting your erections.
Stendra is one of several medications used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. At $59 each use, it’s more expensive than generic sildenafil or tadalafil but also offers benefits that other ED medications don’t.
You can learn more about Stendra and its specific advantages in our Stendra 101 guide, which covers everything from how Stendra works to its efficacy and potential side effects.
You can also access Stendra online with our telehealth platform, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare professional who will determine if a prescription is appropriate for you.