Sildenafil (Viagra) is a drug that is used to treat erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil relaxes blood vessels in the penis and improves blood flow into the penis during sexual arousal. It also helps the muscles of the penis relax, allowing it to become erect. Sildenafil can be used for up to 36 hours after sex if you are taking Viagra for erectile dysfunction.

Why is Sildenafil Prescribed?

Sildenafil is an oral medicine that is effective for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare disease characterized by high blood pressure in the blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood to the lungs.

Sildenafil (Viagra) is also an approved treatment for erectile dysfunction in adults. It’s used with nitrates, which cause the blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow to the penis. Essentially, Viagra is a drug used to treat erection problems. However, you should know that taking sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction will not cure erectile dysfunction or increase sexual desire.

How Should Sildenafil Be Used?

How to use Sildenafil

Sildenafil is taken by mouth. If you’re taking sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, the recommended dosage is 50 mg, which should be taken at least 1 hour before sexual activity. The pill should be swallowed with a glass of water, not mixed with anything else.

Sildenafil should not be used more than once a day. If you have certain health conditions or are taking certain medications, your doctor will be able to help you with the right dosage.

Your doctor might start you off with an average dose of sildenafil, and will increase or decrease it based on how well you do with the drug. Tell your doctor if sildenafil doesn’t work well or if you have side effects.

Sildenafil Dosage

Dosage will depend on what the drug is being taken to treat. The recommended dosage is 50 mg if it is being taken as treatment for erectile dysfunction, 1 hour before sexual activity. It can also be taken 30 minutes to 4 hours before sexual activity.

If the drug is being used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, however, the recommended dosage is around 5 to 20 mg, three times a day and around 4 to 6 hours apart.

In both treatment options, your doctor may start with a lower dose and increase it gradually once your body is used to the drug.

Side Effects of Sildenafil

Side Effects of Sildenafil

The most common side effects of sildenafil are similar to the side effects of other medications used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Some common side effects of sildenafil include:

  • Headaches
  • Flushing
  • Soreness in the throat
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

After taking sildenafil or other medications that are similar to sildenafil, some patients experienced a sudden loss of some or all of their vision. In some cases, the vision loss was permanent. It’s unclear whether the medication caused the vision loss. If you suddenly lose your vision while taking sildenafil, contact your doctor right away. Until you speak with your doctor, don’t take any more sildenafil or similar medications like tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra).

After taking sildenafil or other medications that are similar to sildenafil, some patients experienced a sudden decrease or loss of hearing. When the medication was stopped, the hearing loss usually only affected one ear and did not always improve. It’s unclear whether the medication contributed to the hearing loss. While taking sildenafil, if you experience sudden loss of hearing, ringing in the ears, or dizziness, contact your doctor right away. If you’re taking sildenafil (Viagra) for erectile dysfunction, stop taking it and other similar medications like tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra) until you speak with your doctor. If you’re taking sildenafil (Revatio) to treat PAH, don’t stop taking it until you speak with your doctor.

See also Alprostadil: What It Is and How It Works

Sildenafil Drug Interactions

Sildenafil users should be advised that other medicines that lower the effectiveness of sildenafil may cause this drug to work less effectively in the long term. In particular, drugs that lower cholesterol levels (such as statins) and some antibiotics can interfere with the metabolism of sildenafil.

The combination of sildenafil and an α1 blocker (typically prescribed for hypertension or for urologic conditions, such as benign prostatic hypertrophy) may cause low blood pressure. However, this effect does not occur if they are taken at least four hours apart.

It is recommended that those taking protease inhibitors limit their sildenafil intake to one 25mg dose every 48 hours. Erythromycin and cimetidine are two other drugs that can cause prolonged plasma half-life levels by interfering with sildenafil metabolism.

Who Should Not Take Sildenafil?

Who Should Not Take Sildenafil

You should not take Viagra if you are allergic to it, or if you are taking medications such as riociguat (Adempas), a new drug that also treats PAH.

Taking more than one medicine for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) increases the risk of side effects. In addition, if you also take a nitrate drug to treat chest pain or heart problems, you should not take Riociguat (Adempas).

The nitrates that can be found in sildenafil are nitroglycerin, isosorbide dinitrate, and isosorbide mononitrate. Nitrates are also found in some recreational drugs, including amyl nitrate or nitrite “poppers”.

If you have heart problems, check with your doctor before taking sildenafil.

Sildenafil can also cut off blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye, which can cause sudden vision loss. There have been a few people who took sildenafil who have had this happen. Most of them had heart disease or diabetes or high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and they also smoked or were over 50 years old. People don’t know for sure if this medicine is the real reason for their vision to go bad. 

This medicine is not thought to harm an unborn child. Your doctor will need to know if you are pregnant or if you plan to get pregnant. They should not stop taking sildenafil without consulting with their doctor first. 

It isn’t known if sildenafil gets into breast milk or if it could hurt a nursing child, so we don’t know for sure. If you are breast-feeding a child, tell your doctor about it. They should not stop taking sildenafil without consulting with their doctor first.

Summary

Sildenafil (Viagra) is a popular drug for treating erectile dysfunction. However, it is also used to treat PAH. It is important to tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, especially other medicines that affect the heart. They should be aware of any other medicines you are taking and check to make sure that you are not taking any medicines that could interact with this medicine.

Sildenafil can be helpful for many people, but it can also have serious side effects. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this medicine before you take it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How Long Does Sildenafil (Viagra) Last?

There are many different factors that affect how long sildenafil lasts for people, such as how big they are and how old they are. The pill usually wears off after 4-6 hours. It’s important to remember that your erection should never last more than four hours at a time. If it does, you might need to consult with a doctor.

  1. Should I take Sildenafil On An Empty Stomach?

Sildenafil (Viagra) is most effective when taken on an empty stomach. Avoid taking the pill after having had a high-fat meal because it may not work well in this case. If sexual stimulation fails to produce an erection, you can increase the dosage of your medication the next time you plan to engage in sexual activity.

  1. What Can I Do To Reduce Side Effects of Sildenafil?

The majority of Viagra’s minor side effects can be expected to subside within a few hours of taking the drug. For most people, they can be easily alleviated. Headaches, flushing, and dizziness, for example, can often be relieved by lying down and resting. Avoiding alcohol will also help you avoid side effects.

  1. What’s The Difference Between Sildenafil and Viagra?

The main difference between generic sildenafil and Viagra is that Viagra is strictly marketed as a treatment for ED. Viagra’s marketing is a bit different, with its focus on erectile dysfunction. In contrast, generic sildenafil is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

See also Avanafil: How It Works, Side Effects and Benefits