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What You Should Know About Viagra

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is an oral medication used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It works by blocking certain naturally occurring enzymes in the body, causing blood vessels to dilate and improve 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.

Your doctor will probably start you on 25mg of Viagra, which is the lowest dosage for most people. It’s the lowest dose that has been proven effective in clinical studies. The lower dosage may reduce the risk of side-effects, such as visual disturbances or 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 can cause mild side effects such as headache or a runny or blocked 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 be dangerous if your nitrate medication, such as nitroglycerin, is prescribed for chest pain or high 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

Taking Viagra can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure that can make you feel dizzy or faint. This is more likely if you take it with certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure or enlarged prostate, or with alcohol. Speak to your doctor before taking Viagra if you suffer from these conditions.

You should also avoid drinking a lot of alcohol while taking Viagra. It can make some of the side effects worse, including flushing and headache.

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 can block the action of Viagra. This medication can also cause a long-lasting and painful erection, called priapism. Priapism can damage your penis and lead to permanent ED.

Other drugs

A person’s ability to achieve an erection may be affected if they take Viagra for a prolonged period of time. 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 cause relationship 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 such as over-the-counter ibuprofen, alpha-blocker drugs such as Terazosin or doxazosin (used for high blood pressure treatment and benign prostatic hyperplasia), and alpha blocker medication like terazosin and the doxazosin can interact with Viagra. These interactions can decrease the effectiveness of the drug or cause side effects.