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What You Should Know About Viagra

Viagra (sildenafil) is an oral medication that treats erectile malfunction in men. It works by blocking some naturally occurring enzymes, which cause blood vessels to dilate. This improves blood flow to the penis.

It takes about an hour to take effect — but it only helps with an erection if you’re sexually aroused and stimulated. It also needs to be taken on an empty stomach, as a fatty meal can delay the drug’s absorption.

Dosage

Viagra is a unique medication that only works when you are sexually aroused. The medication helps with the muscle movements needed to create and sustain an erection by increasing blood flow through the penis, or corpora cavernosa.

It starts working about an hour after you take the tablet, but it can take less time or longer depending on how much you eat and whether you’re eating fatty foods. You typically only take Viagra once a day, and it works best when taken about an hour before sex.

Most likely, your doctor will start you out on 25mg Viagra. This is the lowest dosage that most people can tolerate. It’s also the lowest dosage that’s been proven to be effective in clinical trials. The lower dose may help reduce the risk of side effects, such as visual disturbances and a blue haze. You can also choose this option if you suffer from health conditions or are taking drugs that interact negatively with Viagra.

Side effects

Besides helping men get and keep an erection, Viagra also helps blood vessels around the body to relax. This can help with heart conditions like angina pectoris, a type of chest pain caused by cardiovascular problems.

In some cases, Viagra may cause mild side effects like headaches or a blocked or runny nose. It can also make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. If this happens, you can either lie down or remain seated until your symptoms improve.

If you have a history of Peyronie’s disease or blood cell disorders such as sickle cell or multiple myeloma, Viagra may not be right for you. It can also be dangerous if you take nitrate medications such as nitroglycerin for chest pain or high blood pressure. Taking the pill with a fatty meal can affect how well it works, and consuming alcohol can decrease how long the effect lasts. Speak to your doctor about this medication.

Precautions

Viagra can cause a sudden fall in blood pressure, which can make you feel nauseous or dizzy. This is more likely to happen if you combine Viagra with certain drugs that treat high blood pressure, enlarged prostate or alcohol. Talk to your doctor if you have these conditions before taking Viagra.

Avoid drinking alcohol when taking Viagra. Some side effects, such as flushing and headaches, can be made worse by alcohol.

You should not take Viagra if you have a heart condition or a history of stroke, or if you are taking nitrate drugs (such as nitroglycerin or isosorbide dinitrate/mononitrate, used to treat chest pain). Nitrates may block Viagra’s action. This medication can cause a painful and long-lasting erection called priapism. Priapism can damage your penis and lead to permanent ED.

Other Drugs

If a person takes Viagra for a long period of time, it may affect their ability to induce an erection naturally. This can lead to a psychological dependence on Viagra, and a desire for it to be taken even when there isn’t a sexual need. This can also lead to relational problems and distress.

Viagra should not be taken by people who have certain eye conditions such as non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) or hereditary retinitis pigmentosa because it can cause sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes. It should also be used with caution in people who have low blood pressure because it can decrease blood pressure to an unsafe level.

Other medications, including over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and alpha-blocker medication such as doxazosin and terazosin (used to treat high blood pressure and a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia), can interact with Viagra. These interactions can lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of the medication or can cause side effects.