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Erectile dysfunction has some pretty well-known pills for treatment. Now with chewable ED medications in the mix, the question is if they work just as well or better than the pills.

Person standing in the kitchen, holding a glass of water, about to take a blue pill.Share on Pinterest
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Erectile dysfunction (ED) meds like Viagra have a long and storied history.

Sildenafil (Viagra), in particular, was first created in 1989 as a medication meant to treat hypertension. But it soon became clear that Viagra had a much more potent use as a treatment for sexual dysfunction in people with penises by the time it hit the market in the mid-1990s.

Now, ED medications are considered a first-line treatment for ED. And there are increasing numbers of ways to take sildenafil and other ED meds to help provide benefits when the timing’s right — including chewable tablets.

Read on to learn more about chewable ED medications, what brands produce this form of treatment, and how they stack up against traditional versions of ED medications like pills.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) means that you have trouble getting or keeping an erection. It can also mean that your erections don’t stay hard enough for penetrative vaginal or anal sex.

Many people with penises have trouble with ED at some point. Stress, lack of sleep, a poor diet, and aging can all affect how easily you can get erections. But it’s usually temporary and goes away once the trigger goes away too. In these cases, you don’t typically need medical treatment or ED medication.

But having ED for a long period of time — about 6 months or more — could be a symptom of an underlying problem, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. And ED can also simply result from being in a toxic or negative relationship that affects your sexual performance.

Treating the underlying cause of ED is usually the best way to ensure your overall long-term sexual health. But ED medications like Viagra can also help you when you just need a boost in your erection strength and duration.

Some other options for ED medications include:

  • avanafil (Stendra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

Chewable ED medications are exactly what they sound like — chewable versions of the same trustworthy ED medications that are already available through a prescription.

Like their pill counterparts, chewable ED medications contain either sildenafil, avanafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil as their active ingredients. But instead of swallowing a pill, you can pop a chewable ED medicine in your mouth like candy and chew it so that the ingredients are absorbed into your digestive tract and your bloodstream.

Chewable ED medications may not work as fast as pills because chewable tablets can take longer to metabolize and enter the bloodstream.

But chewable tablets can be a lot more subtle because you don’t need to swallow them whole with liquid, making them easier to use low-key when you think you’re going to need them.

There are a few reputable online subscription services that offer chewable ED medications. Here are some chewable ED tablets that you can consider.

Staxyn

Staxyn is one of the brand names for the ED medication vardenafil. Staxyn was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010 and has been offered as a regular pill for years now, but has more recently been offered as a chewable tablet too.

Like sildenafil and tadalafil, Staxyn is a classic PDE5 inhibitor that helps improve the mechanisms that allow blood to flow into the penis to cause an erection. And like other chewable PDE5 inhibitors from Hims and BlueChew, they’re a much more subtle and easy method for taking ED medication when you think you’ll need it.

Staxyn is also covered by most insurance plans. This means that you can receive a prescription from any qualified medical professional, whether in person or through a telemedicine provider. This also means that cost may vary depending on your insurance, ranging from $30 to $120 per pack.

Chewable PDE5 inhibitors work just like regular ED pills that you swallow. The main difference is the way that they’re consumed and the speed at which they metabolize and begin working.

To know how PDE5 inhibitors work, it’s useful to know what happens when you get an erection.

First, nerve signals that occur when you’re aroused stimulate neurons in your brain to send molecules known as neurotransmitters to spongy tissue in your penis called the corpora cavernosa.

This triggers these tissues to produce a chemical known as nitric oxide that gets into the smooth muscle in your penis. This helps create a substance known as cGMP that open blood vessels in your penis to let blood engorge the penis.

But the enzyme known as PDE5 can stop cGMP from forming properly and interrupt the final steps in the process of getting an erection. PDE5 inhibitors reduce how much PDE5 your body makes so that cGMP can help open your blood vessels and allow you to both get an erection and keep one long enough to have satisfying sex.

There’s no evidence supporting the effectiveness of one or the other type of ED medication. There’s a study, however, that shows chewable tables may enhance how much of the drug is available to be used once it enters the body.

Since chewable formulations aren’t regulated by the FDA, though, finding comparisons and research in general is limited. There’s no significant evidence to support the assertion that chewable tablets are superior to traditional tablets in this context and vice versa.

And if taking a chewable pill makes you feel more comfortable taking ED medication as well as taking it more readily before sex because of its subtle delivery method, then a chewable tablet may be a better fit for you.

As with any medication, chewable ED medications have some side effects that you may want to consider.

Some of the most common side effects can include:

  • headaches
  • pain and aches around your body
  • diarrhea
  • indigestion
  • feeling dizzy
  • blurry or reduced vision
  • runny or stuffy nose

Some less common side effects that should prompt you to seek medical help include:

  • having an erection that doesn’t go away after 4 hours (priapism)
  • having trouble hearing
  • losing vision completely

There’s no real difference in how effective pills and chewables are at addressing the symptoms of ED.

Here are some considerations that you can take when you’re wondering whether you should use a pill or a chewable tablet to take ED medications:

  • Do you have trouble swallowing pills? Try a chewable so it can go down easier.
  • Are you concerned that your sexual partner will notice that you’re taking ED medication? Use a chewable to take your medication more subtly.
  • Do you want to keep your medication with you all the time in case you have sex unexpectedly? Consider keeping chewables with you because they can be easier to transport.
  • Do you have ready access to water when you’re about to have sex? Take a pill since you’ll need water to help you swallow it.
  • Are you watching your blood sugar or have a diagnosis of diabetes? Chewable tablets often have a sweetener to mask the bitterness that comes from the tablet being chewed. The taste may be something to consider.

Is there a cure for ED?

There isn’t a cure for ED. But treating any underlying medical or psychological cause of ED can help you resolve many of its symptoms.

Contact a doctor if you believe that your health is affecting your sexual performance, or consider seeing a mental health specialist if personal issues or relationship troubles might be the source of your ED.

Is chewable Viagra better than regular Viagra?

There’s no specific evidence to support that chewable Viagra is any better than regular Viagra.

But research suggests that it’s just as good as regular Viagra for ED. A 2017 study of 60 male participants found that chewable forms of sildenafil appeared to be processed by the body very similarly to coated pills — and remain in the blood just as long.

Is BlueChew the same as Viagra?

BlueChew offers chewable forms of several common ED medications: sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra).

All three of these medications are PDE5 inhibitors that act as vasodilators, helping blood flow more effectively into the penis when you’re aroused.

BlueChew offers sildenafil in 30- or 45-milligram (mg) doses to provide similar effects as prescription Viagra.

It’s important to note that the doses sold by BlueChew are not the FDA approved doses of sildenafil.

Do I need a prescription for chewable ED meds?

You’ll need a prescription for chewable ED meds.

But the good news is that most online providers of ED medications also provide telemedicine services that allow you to speak with a doctor and receive a prescription virtually without needing to visit a facility or doctor’s office.

Does chewing ED medications make it work faster?

Chewing ED medications doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll work faster. There’s no compelling evidence that one works faster than the other.

But some factors can affect how quickly ED medications are metabolized in your digestive tract, such as:

  • eating a heavy, fat-dense meal
  • drinking a lot of water and diluting the tablet ingredients
  • exercising regularly to improve blood flow
  • being in a warm environment that promotes blood flow

Is Hims FDA approved?

None of the products from Hims have been specifically approved by FDA.

But all of the PDE5 inhibitors that Hims sells through its platform are FDA approved and are backed by decades of evidence of their safety and effectiveness.

Is BlueChew FDA approved?

As with Hims, BlueChew products are not FDA approved and haven’t been tested for safety according to FDA standards.

But the active ingredients in the medications that BlueChew sells are all considered safe and effective for treatment of ED.

It’s important to note that the doses sold by BlueChew are not the FDA approved doses of sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil.


Tim Jewell is a freelance writer, linguist, and communications expert based in Southern California. At age 4, he read a book called “1001 Questions about the Human Body” and has since dedicated his life to breaking down the complexities and stigmas around the human body and the cultures surrounding it, especially in relation to mental health, sexual health, and gender identity. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.