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Erectile dysfunction (ED) and diabetes are two separate conditions that can commonly co-occur. There is no single medication that treats both conditions, but there are safe ED medications for people with diabetes.

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ED pills for people with diabetes

Services with ED pills

Erectile dysfunction (ED) and diabetes are two conditions that can commonly occur together. While diabetes isn’t always a direct cause of ED, diabetes can cause changes in nerve sensation and blood flow that could worsen ED symptoms.

Having diabetes can also cause some complications that may make certain ED medications less effective.

However, by properly managing your diabetes — through a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and medications that lower blood sugar — you may be able to reduce your ED symptoms as well. There are a number of safe and effective ED medications you can take.

When deciding on the best ED pills for people with diabetes, we looked at several prescription medications within the phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor drug class. This drug works by relaxing the smooth muscles inside the blood vessels of the penis and helps increase blood flow to the penis, which can help people with ED more easily have an erection.

PDE5 inhibitors are considered first-line treatment for ED symptoms, with many different medications available.

However, it’s worth noting that, some medications may work better than others, and side effects can vary. If you are seeing negative results from a certain medication, discuss your concerns with your healthcare professional and see what other options are available.

Keep reading to learn our recommendations for the best ED pills for people with diabetes.

ED pills for people with diabetes

There are several proven ED medications that are safe and effective for people with diabetes to take with a prescription. Here are our top picks:

Best pill for as-needed use: Viagra

  • Generic or brand name: brand name
  • Usage: as needed
  • Key ingredient: sildenafil
  • Effectiveness: 4–6 hours

Viagra is a name-brand drug that you can take as needed up to 30 minutes before sexual activity — although 1 hour before is optimal — and no more than more per day. The effects of Viagra will usually last about 4–6 hours, and you’ll need to take it on an empty stomach for it to work best.

Research from 2021 concluded that PDE5 inhibitors were safe — and even be beneficial — for people with cardiovascular disease associated with type 2 diabetes. In fact, an estimated 57.7% of men with diabetes who took sildenafil noted improvement in sexual function.

However, even with initial results looking positive, more research into the long-term cardiovascular protective benefits of PDE inhibitors for diabetes is needed.

Viagra does have some reported side effects, including vision changes, rash, flushing, and dizziness.


  • effective at treating ED in people with diabetes
  • can be effective in as soon as 30 minutes
  • effects can last for 4–6 hours


  • can only be taken once in 24 hours
  • can’t be mixed with certain heart and blood pressure medications
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Best pill for daily use: Cialis

  • Generic or brand name: brand name
  • Usage: daily or as needed depending on dosage
  • Key Ingredient: tadalafil
  • Effectiveness: up to 36 hours in some cases

Cialis is a longer-acting medication, compared with Viagra and vardenafil. Because the medication can be effective for up to 36 hours in some cases, it can be taken as needed or on a daily basis in small doses.

Another benefit of taking Cialis is that you don’t have to take it on an empty stomach. This means that people with gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying) or people who need to eat regularly to maintain their blood sugar level can still receive the full effect of taking Cialis.

Response rates in studies related to those with diabetes found the medication was effective between 41% and 46% of the time.


  • can be taken on a daily basis
  • doesn’t have to be taken on an empty stomach
  • effects can last up to 36 hours


  • side effects can include headache, back pain, muscle aches, flushing, and runny nose
  • may not be as effective as Viagra or sildenafil for people with diabetes
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Best budget ED pill: Sildenafil

  • Generic or brand name: generic
  • Usage: as needed
  • Key Ingredient: sildenafil
  • Effectiveness: 4–6 hours

Sildenafil is the generic form of Viagra and is one of the most effective and affordable ED pills for people with diabetes. Research shows that sildenafil is effective in treating ED in people with diabetes. Additionally, sildenafil is more widely available through pharmacies.

While pricing can vary depending on the dose, sildenafil may be 90% cheaper than Viagra. However, sildenafil does have the same side effects as Viagra, including dizziness and vision changes, and it shouldn’t be taken more than once per day.


  • can cost 90% less than name-brand treatments
  • one of the most effective ED treatments for people with diabetes
  • widely available in generic form


  • side effects can include dizziness and visual disturbances
  • may not be effective for all people with diabetes
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Services with ED pills

Now that we have discussed some of the best ED medications available, it’s important to know where you can find them. Here are our picks for the best services offering ED pills.

An estimated 52.5% of men with diabetes also experience ED. While not all people with diabetes will have ED, the two conditions commonly occur together.

Multiple factors can cause or contribute to ED. Many conditions that commonly occur with diabetes also co-occur with ED, including:

  • depression
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity

Diabetes can also affect parts of the body’s functioning, which can also worsen ED. An example of this is neuropathy or damage to the body’s nerves. If nerves in the corpus cavernosum of the penis are damaged, PDE inhibitors like Viagra don’t usually work as well.

For this reason, people with diabetes may find that some ED medications aren’t as effective.

Having diabetes can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the blood vessels. This could affect blood flow to the penis, which is needed to achieve and maintain an erection.

Many people with diabetes are able to successfully take ED medications. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your individual health and medication list may conflict with certain ED medications, which is why it’s important to talk with your doctor before taking any new medications.

Your doctor can evaluate potential side effects and determine if ED medications are safe for you.

If you have difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection, it’s important to see your doctor or a healthcare professional when your symptoms start. They can help you address any underlying causes and potentially prescribe ED medications.

Despite how common ED is, many people feel uncomfortable speaking with a doctor or healthcare professional. If you would prefer to avoid an in-office visit or a trip to the pharmacy, virtual appointments and online services allow you to receive your prescription online and have your medications shipped directly to your home.

ED symptoms can sometimes be temporary, especially if you’re experiencing stress or you have made changes to your diet or lifestyle. Seeking an evaluation from your doctor is a good way to assess your symptoms and situation.

If for any reason you start taking ED medications and experience side effects, talk with your doctor. There are multiple medications to treat ED, so if you’re not seeing results from one medication, there are others that may work better.

Can you treat erectile dysfunction with diabetes medications?

There aren’t a lot of studies related to the effectiveness of diabetes medications in treating or reducing ED. However, because diabetes medications help lower blood sugar, they may help minimize complications such as nerve and blood vessel damage from high blood sugar levels that can lead to or worsen ED.

Can a person with diabetes take Viagra or Cialis?

Viagra and Cialis are PED5i medications. If you experience ED and have diabetes, most healthcare professionals consider these medications first-line treatments. However, be sure to review any medications or supplements that you take with your doctor to ensure Viagra or Cialis is safe for you.

Are there any over-the-counter alternative ED pills for people with diabetes?

Many pharmacies and health food stores will sell supplements or herbs as alternative ED treatment options. Examples of these include L-arginine, ginseng, yohimbe, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

These medications can have side effects that might interact with your diabetes medications or other medications you may be taking. Be sure to talk with your doctor about any treatments you may be considering.

Can taking metformin for diabetes also treat ED?

When you have ED, treating conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure may also help reduce your symptoms. Metformin can help you manage your diabetes, and some studies suggest that metformin may even help reduce ED symptoms.

Metformin can help increase your body’s ability to widen blood vessels, which could improve blood flow to maintain an erection.

However, while metformin alone likely isn’t enough to treat ED, it could enhance the effects of other ED treatments.

It’s understandable that discussing ED with your doctor can be uncomfortable. However, ED is much more common than you think, and doctors are very familiar with treating ED. Additionally, several online pharmacies offer consultations that are private and discreet if you would rather skip an in-person visit.

If you have diabetes and experience ED, you aren’t alone. Diabetes can affect your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Treatments are available that can help address your ED symptoms without interfering with your diabetes management.