Erectile Dysfunction Cream: What You Need to Know

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is a condition in which the penis is unable to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity.

ED is a very common disorder, affecting approximately 30 million people with penises in the United States. In fact, most people with penises will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. However, when it happens more than 50% of the time, there may be an underlying problem.

When it comes to ED, more than one factor is usually involved, both psychological and physical. Risk factors for ED include heart disease, diabetes, old age, depression and anxiety.

A newer option for treating ED is topical erectile dysfunction creams. Read on to learn more about ED creams, including their Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings and risks, and other potential treatment options.

erectile dysfunction cream

Traditional ED treatments include oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. However, due to systemic side effects and drug-drug interactions (two or more drugs interacting with each other), these drugs, such as Viagra, are not safe for all patients who struggle with ED. For example, these drugs may lower blood pressure, which is dangerous for people with heart conditions such as angina, a condition with severe pain in the chest.

Erectile dysfunction creams, also known as erection creams, are a new form of treatment for ED. These creams are applied topically on the penis before intercourse. These drugs may be associated with fewer systemic side effects, especially in those with diabetes or heart disease.

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Notably, research on the efficacy and safety of ED creams is still very limited. There are currently no FDA-approved erection creams.

That said, some research suggests that ED creams may be an effective treatment option in the future, especially when they contain alprostadil.

alprostadil cream

Vitaros is an erectile dysfunction cream. It contains the ingredient alprostadil, a natural prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are hormones responsible for many functions, including the opening and closing of blood vessels.

A 2016 study review investigated the efficacy and safety of alprostadil cream and found it to be a well-tolerated and effective ED replacement therapy.

However, the review also highlights that more clinical trials are still needed to fully understand the true safety and efficacy of alprostadil cream, especially in patients with multiple comorbidities (diseases present with other diseases) or non-vascular Cases of sexual ED (with blood flowing through the blood vessels).

FDA warning

Vitaros has not been approved by the FDA. In fact, it was rejected by the FDA in 2018 for the second time in 10 years, according to Reuters.

The FDA has issued warnings for over-the-counter (OTC) sex-enhancing products, citing potentially harmful hidden active ingredients.

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Be sure to check with your doctor before incorporating any medication into your life, including those available over the counter.


While Vitaros alprostadil cream is generally well-tolerated, a 2016 study did report that users experienced mild, transient side effects, including genital pain, tenderness, and skin redness.

Likewise, alprostadil cream should not be used by:

  • Known allergy to alprostadil
  • sickle cell anemia
  • multiple myeloma
  • leukemia
  • polycythemia vera
  • thrombocytosis
  • Peyronie’s disease

Other ED treatments

If ED cream doesn’t sound like it’s right for you, there are many other options. Some of these include:

  • Vacuum Erectile Device (VED): This type of treatment consists of a plastic tube and lubricant that fits around the penis. Air is pumped out of the tube, creating a vacuum effect that helps draw blood into the shaft of the penis, causing an erection.
  • Intraurethral alprostadil: This medication is a synthetic vasodilator (blood vessel widening) suppository that is inserted into the urethra to help relieve symptoms of ED.
  • Penile injection therapy: These injections contain drugs that cause erections, such as papaverine, phentolamine, or alprostadil. They can usually be self-administered at home, with an erection 5 to 15 minutes after the injection.

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Currently, ED creams are not commonly used in clinical practice, so there are some limitations in their use as a treatment option. Other treatments, such as oral medications, injections, and penile pumps, are more likely to help with erectile dysfunction symptoms.

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VigorTip words

Erectile dysfunction can be a disturbingly isolating condition. However, for those battling ED, there are some treatment options available. For most people, an oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, such as Viagra, is prescribed. However, these drugs are not always the best option given the risks in certain populations.

That said, once FDA-approved, erectile dysfunction creams could be a good future option for those who struggle with ED and cannot tolerate other forms of treatment.

Also, if you have recurring ED problems, talk to your healthcare provider. A doctor can identify any underlying cause that can be treated, which may help resolve the erectile dysfunction you are experiencing. Remember, there is nothing to be ashamed of. ED is very common.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you use cream for erectile dysfunction?

    Erectile Dysfunction Cream is simply applied directly to the penis before intercourse.

  • Where can I buy topical creams for erectile dysfunction?

    Erection creams for ED are available over-the-counter, but are not recommended (or approved) by the FDA. Consult your doctor before introducing any new medication regimen, including topical treatments such as alprostadil cream.