CortiBalm: A Miracle in a Little Tube

What are the differences between erectile dysfunction drugs? About half of men ages 40 to 70 have erectile dysfunction (ED) to some degree, although only one in 10 report a complete inability to have erections. Taking an ED drug produces an erection sufficient to start intercourse in about 70% of otherwise healthy men.

Does it make any difference which of the four erectile dysfunction drugs you take? “Yes, there can be differences,” says Dr. Louis Liou, chief of urology at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston. “For new patients, I have them try different ones to see what works best.”

Sildenafil (Viagra) is often the first drug your doctor offers. It’s been on the market longest and its side effects and the medications and foods it interacts with are well known.

But the main challenge to finding the best ED drug for you may turn out to be health insurance rules—not biochemistry. It’s a common practice among insurers to limit the number of pills you can obtain per month. After you hit your limit, the out-of-pocket cost for a single pill can be as high as $20. “The main obstacle in my practice is the cost,” Dr. Liou says. You’ll need to work with your doctor to get the pill you need at a price you can afford.

What erectile dysfunction pills are available?

In addition to Viagra, other ED drugs available in the United States pharma steroids include avanafil (Stendra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra). These all improve blood supply to the penis. In combination with sexual stimulation, the drugs can produce an erection sufficient to initiate and complete intercourse. There is also a fast-dissolving form of Levitra, called Staxyn, that you put under your tongue.

One ED drug, Cialis, is FDA-approved for use daily in a dose of 2.5 or 5 milligrams. This helps to produce erections on demand and may also help relieve urinary problems, like difficulty starting urination, that result from an enlarged prostate.

Cost of erectile dysfunction pills

The cost to you for ED drug therapy varies considerably, depending on the pharmacy price, prescription co-pays, and your level of health plan coverage. Nationally, the out-of-pocket cost per pill ranges from approximately $15 to $20. Even if private insurance covers it, you may be limited to four doses per month. Here are a few things you can do to contain costs:

  • Shop around, because pharmacy prices vary. Various web-based tools can help you compare prices easily. One of them is
  • Ask your doctor about pill splitting, where you get the pills at a higher dose than you need and divide them.
  • Explore manufacturer discount programs. These allow you to obtain a limited supply of medications not covered by your insurance.

How well do ED pills work?

ED drugs produce an erection sufficient for intercourse in about 70% of men. But the results vary quite a bit from one individual to another. A man with nerves or arteries damaged by prostate surgery, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease will not respond as strongly to ED drugs. “There are some men in whom none of these drugs work,” Dr. Liou says.

How quickly do ED pills work?

How soon the drugs start working ranges from 15 to 60 minutes. Neither Viagra nor Levitra will work if you take them after a meal, which blocks their absorption. However, neither Cialis nor Stendra interact with food this way. The onset time determines how soon you can engage in intercourse. Stendra and daily-use Cialis are closest to being an “on demand” erectile drug; using the others requires more planning.

How to use ED pills properly

Dr. Liou says that some men come to him after getting a prescription from their primary care doctors, claiming that the drug doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s because they used it incorrectly. “The biggest misconception is that these drugs are an on/off switch for erections,” Dr. Liou says. But the drugs don’t work well without sexual stimulation. “During that time, you need to be with your partner and have foreplay,” Dr. Liou says. “Don’t take it, do the taxes or the dishes, and then meet at the bedroom thinking you’ll be ready to go. It’s not like that.”

How long do ED pills last?

The ED drugs break down at different rates in the body. The durations of action range from four hours to more than a day (for Cialis in the higher doses). Each dose should be sufficient to provide a full cycle of intercourse, from erection to climax.

“Will it last through another cycle? It’s not guaranteed,” Dr. Liou says. To have sex more than once a day, Cialis is your best bet.

What are the side effects of ED pills?

The most common side effects of ED drugs, in order of most to least common are headache, flushing, upset stomach, nasal congestion, urinary tract infections, vision problems, diarrhea, dizziness, and rash. A man who has an erection that lasts four hours or more needs to get to a hospital or risk permanent damage.

None of the ED drugs is safe to take with cardiac drugs called nitrates because it could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Drugs that many men take for urinary symptoms, called alpha blockers, can also lower blood pressure, so take them at least four hours apart from ED drugs. Your doctor may start you on a smaller dose of the ED drug if you already take an alpha blocker, or may recommend the alpha blocker tamsulosin (Flomax), which affects blood pressure less.

Heart health and erectile dysfunction

ED is often an early warning sign of underlying cardiovascular disease, such as clogged arteries (atherosclerosis). “It can predate a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease by at least a few years,” Dr. Liou says. We don’t have strong proof yet that starting to live a healthier lifestyle can reverse erectile problems, but it can’t hurt.

ED drugs: How soon they start working and how long they last

After treating thousands of patients with mild to severe chapped lips, Dr. Dan Viders developed the only truly hypoallergenic medicated lip balm with 1% hydrocortisone – CortiBalm. This lip balm is perfect for severe chapped lips caused by a variety of factors including exposure to the sun, wind, cold weather, allergies to cosmetics, medications and more. It also works to treat cold sores and inflamed lips caused by medical conditions like psoriasis and eczema. In addition, it is great for acne patients currently taking Accutane, Amnesteen or Soriatane. So far, over one million tubes have been sold! prohormone


How can Dr. Dan’s lip balm Help You

CortiBalm treats painful, cracked, chapped lips from a variety of conditions. Explore below!


Cold Sores


Psoriasis & Eczema

Accutane Patients

Chemotherapy Patients


Cold Sores


Psoriasis & Eczema

Accutane Patients

Chemotherapy Patients

Have Dr. Dan’s products changed your life? We want to hear about it!

Send us your story and help us spread the Dr. Dan’s love.



Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm is the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand for all types of mild to severely chapped lips. See how your current lip balm stacks up to our patented formula.


Dr. Dan’s Note

Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm: 1 % hydrocortisone, beeswax, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil.


Medicated Blistex Lip Medex

Petrolatum, Camphor (1%), Menthol (1%), Phenol (0.5%) in a base that includes cocoa butter, flavor, lanolin, mixed waxes and oil of cloves.

Dr. Dan’s Comment: Oil of Cloves contains Eugenol which “readily sensitizes the mucous membrane of the skin”.  In other words, it can easily cause irritation of the lips. Menthol, phenol and lanolin can also irritate the lips. Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm will never contain a known common irritant.

Ref. Fischer’s Contact Dermatitis, Fourth Edition pgs, 910, 294-295, 145.

Blistex Complete Moisture

 Dimethicone 2%, Octyl methoxycinnamate 7.5% Oxybenzone 2.5%, behenoyl stearic acid, butylparaben, caprylic/capric triglyceride cholesteryl/behenyl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, dioctyl adipate, ethylparaben, flavor, glycerin, jojoba esters, lecithin, methylparaben, microcrystalline wax, occtylpalmitate, occtyl stearate, ozokerite, panthenol, petrolatum, propylparaben, purified water, sodium borate, sodium saccharin, and squalane.

Dr. Dan’s comment: In addition to at least six potential allergens this lip balm contains many chemicals that even a chemistry major, like myself, can’t quite figure out. I can see why they called it Complete. Also, I am sure they needed to add saccharin because it probably didn’t taste very good without it. Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm needs no artificial sweeteners.

Ref. Fisher’s Contact Dermatitis Fourth ed. pgs. 531-532, 902, 900.

Blistex Lip Revitalizer

 Dimethicone (1%) in a base that includes cyclomethicone, phenyl trimethicone, petrolatum, microcrystalline wax, isohexadecane, lactic acid, silica, hydrogenated soybean oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, menthyl anthranilate, glyceryl stearate, bis-diglyceryl caprylate/caprate/isotearate/sterate/hydroxystearate adipate, lecithin, flavor, glycolic acidSqualane, almond oil, vitamin E, corn oil, vitamin A, saccharin, polybutene, sorbic acid, methylparraben, sunflower seed oil and calendula extract, bisabolol, sesame oil, and rhatania root extract, borage seed oil, cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, and polyamino sugar condensate.

Dr. Dan’s Comment: Of these 35 chemicals, six are known allergens/irritants and in my personal experience glycolic acid can cause severe irritation and burning especially on cracked skin or lips. If you are using this for your lips and are getting worse it would not surprise me. Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm will never contain known common irritants or unknown root extracts.

Burt’s Beeswax Lip Balm

 Coconut oil, beeswax, sweet almond oil, lanolin, tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol (vitamin E), peppermint oil, and comfrey root extract.

Dr. Dan’s Comment: Lanolin can cause a high number of allergic reactions in states where the skin is cracked or open. This explains why, when a person’s lips are fissured or irritated from Accutane, Lanolin can make the condition much worse. In addition, the last patient that I observed using this lip balm experienced a severe burning sensation every time she applied this balm. My guess is that the peppermint oil, even though it smells nice, can cause a contact allergy.

Ref. Fisher’s Contact Dermatitis Fourth


Menthol, camphor, alum, salicylic acid, phenol, fragrance, petrolatum, lanolin, cocoa butter and wax base.

Dr. Dan’s Comment: Of the ten listed ingredients in Carmex, 50% of them are known allergens. Although rare, a person might be allergic to one of the ingredients in Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm, 0% of mine are “common” and according to the “the Bible of contact dermatitis”, bee’s wax is “a rare sensitizer” and “very few cases have been reported of allergic hypersensitivity to petrolatum” which are the two main ingredients of Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm.

Ref. Fisher’s Contact dermatitis. Fourth Edition. pgs. 294-295, 910, 145,159,146, 180, 149.


44% Petrolatum’s, 1.5% Padimate 0, 1% Lanolin, 1% Isopropyl myristate, and 0.5% Cetyl alcohol

Dr. Dan’s Comment: Lanolin can cause a high number of allergic reactions in states where the skin is cracked or open. This explains why, when a person’s lips are fissured or irritated from Accutane, Lanolin can make the condition much worse, and as crazy as it sounds, in my humble medical opinion ChapStick should only be used when your lips are not chapped! Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm will never contain Lanolin.

Ref: Fisher’s Contact Dermatitis Fourth Edition pg. 295

Chapstick Lip Moisturizer SPF 15

White Petrolatum 40.7%, Octyl Methoxy cinnamate 7.5%, Oxybenzone 3.5%, aloe vera oil, carnauba wax, cetyl alcohol, fragrance, isocetyl stearate, isopropyl lanolate, isopropyl myristate, lanolin, methylparaben, paraffin wax, propylparaben, vitamin E, acetate, tocopheryl linoleate/oleate, and white wax

Dr. Dan’s Comment: This lip balm contains at least 6 ingredients that can cause allergic reactions and make your lips worse, especially depending on what exact “Fragrance” was used. That is why Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm has no added fragrance.

Ref. Fisher’s Contact Dermatitis Fourth Edition pgs, 531-532, 533, 295, 792, and 374.

Chapstick Overnight Lip Treatment

Dimethicone 2%, aloe extract, cetyl alcohol, colloidal silicon dioxide, cyclomethicone, hydrogenated polyisobutene, isocetyl stearate, lactic acid, methylparaben, microcrystalline wax, petrolatum, propylparaben, salicylic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin E.

Dr. Dan’s Comment: This medicated lip balm contains multiple allergens and the lactic acid can cause an intense stinging reaction. Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm will never contain any acids.

Ref. Fischer’s Contact Dermatitis Fourth Edition pgs. 634, 549, 676, 146.

Review other lip balm ingredients via SkinSAFE