Despite the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED), and the large market for oral medications to treat it, there are still not many commercially available topical creams. A cream for ED that is widely available from a manufacturer would likely be popular in the U.S. if it were marketed here. However, as of right now, there are few topical alternatives to oral ED medications. While orally administered sildenafil and tadalafil are the standard ED medications, topical creams for ED have shown promise in clinical trials as alternatives that are fast-acting with fewer side effects. So what is the best cream for ED? And how can you get a cream for ED when it is not available from your neighborhood pharmacy?
Why use an ED cream instead of an oral medication?
Most topical ED creams have a shorter duration of effect than an oral medication and work more quickly. Occasionally this means that the cream is less potent than the orally administered medication. Because the creams work more quickly, however, there can be greater spontaneity in sexual activity. Planning when to take a pill is not required as the duration of effect can be within 10-20 minutes after application.
ED creams also produce less systemic side effects than oral medications because the majority of their effects are local. When a cream is applied directly to the penis, the dispersion throughout the rest of the body is less than with an oral medication like Viagra. Side effects of ED medications that can be more severe with oral administration include headaches, congestion, and painful erections that remain after sexual activity.
Outside the U.S. alprostadil is sold under the brand name Vitaros in the form of a urogenital cream. This cream is administered in a single-dose applicator that inserts the cream directly into the urethra. The makers of Vitaros have been trying to get a similar cream approved in the U.S. but have faced some obstacles with the other ingredients in their formulation. Alprostadil may be effective for some men but as of right now it is an expensive drug that is impractical for a medication that would be used on a regular basis.
L-Arginine, an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide in the body, is sometimes used orally to treat ED. This amino acid is found in various types of protein-rich food like fish, poultry, and dairy products. It may be used in the form of an oral supplement or cream for treating ED. However for the majority of men, it is not the most effective cream to use. While this supplement may work orally for some men, we do not consider it to be the best ingredient to use in a cream for ED. This is mostly because the amount of L-arginine needed to increase nitric oxide levels when applied topically is too high. Although the supplement is generally safe to use, it is not as effective as the alternatives that are available.
As far as creams that are available from a compounding pharmacy and that are affordable and effective, the best cream for ED according to our pharmacists is nitroglycerin cream. Nitroglycerin is a vasodilator that improves blood flow and retention in the penis. As a nitric oxide donor, it assists in the essential processes that help maintain an erection. While it is difficult to determine what the best ED cream will be for each individual, many men have found that a nitroglycerin cream works well for them.
A nitroglycerin cream can be obtained from a compounding pharmacy in a 0.6% dose that is not commercially available. It produces fewer side effects than PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil and tadalafil. It also works quickly and does not cause prolonged, painful erections when used in the proper dose. The nitroglycerin ED cream is applied to the tip of the penis about 10-20 minutes before sexual activity and will last 1-2 hours.
Creams, Ointments, and Gels
Creams, ointments, gels – what is the difference? In many cases not much besides the consistency of the product. However the different types of topical administration methods can have varying degrees of skin penetration depending on the other ingredients used. A cream base is often better for absorption into the skin and is generally more comfortable to use for patients. Most of our topical medications are compounded in creams.
Using ED Medications Together
It is important to not use multiple ED treatments at the same time. Most of the best ED creams and tablets work on the same processes – they increase nitric oxide and act as vasodilators. When multiple treatments for ED are combined, they can increase nitric oxide to levels that could result in adverse effects. Side effects could include a significant decrease in blood pressure, severe headaches, painful congestion, and more. Always talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new erectile dysfunction treatment.
Watch Out for “Herbal” Remedies for ED
Because of the lack of availability of effective ED treatments without side effects, some men may seek out one of the numerous herbal remedies available to purchase online. However men should be cautious about the herbal treatments they choose to use. There is no “herbal Viagra” that can replace the recommendations of your doctor on lifestyle changes and prescription medications for ED.
Most herbal products have never been through any kind of trial to determine their effectiveness. There is little regulation of these supplements and they may not contain the herbs they claim to have. They may even contain ingredients not listed on the package. While some herbal remedies may be beneficial (for example there is promising evidence that Korean red ginseng can help with ED), always consult with your healthcare provider before trying a supplement.
How to Get the Best ED Cream
The best cream for ED that we compound is nitroglycerin cream. The sildenafil and tadalafil troches we compound are effective, but if you are looking for a topical cream for ED the formulation with nitroglycerin is recommended. A healthcare provider can write a prescription for nitroglycerin 0.6% cream and you can have the prescription filled at our compounding pharmacy. We are happy to talk with you or your doctor about our formulations and the treatment that will work best for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to us by phone at (855) 876-3060 or by clicking here.