Taking Viagra for Erectile Dysfunction

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

Blue pills in glass
Credit: Brandonrobbins.com/www/Getty Images

Viagra (sildenafil) was approved by the Food and Drug administration (FDA) in 1998 and was the first drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, also known as ED. Nine tablets are dispensed every second worldwide and Pfizer, the manufacturer of the drug, says that Viagra has helped millions of men improve their sex lives.

Erectile dysfunction is a problem that affects most men at some point in their lives.

Viagra is a drug for those whose ED problem is persistent and who have been advised by their doctor that it is a safe drug for them to try.

How Viagra Works

Originally studied for use in people with high blood pressure and cardiac problems, Viagra works by increasing the blood flow to the penis for four to six hours. During this period, it usually becomes much easier to achieve a satisfactory erection with sexual stimulation. It only works if the man is sexually stimulated, so you will not get an erection simply by taking the pill.

How to Take Viagra

Viagra is taken orally in pill form. It will usually start working within 30 minutes to an hour. Only take one Viagra tablet in 24 hours.

The dosage of Viagra for most men is 50mg. Depending on its effectiveness and your tolerance, your doctor may prescribe a smaller dose at 25mg, or a higher dose up to a maximum of 100mg.

Viagra can be taken up to four hours prior to sexual activity, and it will usually start working between 30 and 60 minutes after taking it.

Consumption of a high-fat meal when taking Viagra can delay its effectiveness.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Viagra are headache, facial flushing, dizziness, visual problems (such as blurred vision, bluish vision and sensitivity to light), nasal congestion and an upset stomach.

Potential Dangers of Viagra

Do not take Viagra if you use nitrate drugs.

These types of drugs, which are sometimes used to treat cardiac problems such as angina, can cause your blood pressure to drop to unsafe, sometimes life-threatening levels if used in combination with Viagra.

Men with cardiac problems, anatomical malformations of the penis, such as Peyronie's disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, liver problems (especially severe liver disorders), kidney problems, men taking certain medications used for HIV, men with a predisposition to prolonged erections caused by sickle cell anemia, or those over 65 should not take Viagra unless prescribed by a medical practitioner. Deaths have occurred during sexual activity in men using the drug.

If your erection lasts longer than four hours after taking Viagra, you should seek medical attention. This condition, known as priapism, can cause permanent damage to your penis.

If you experience the loss of vision in one or both eyes, you may suffer from a serious condition known as non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).

It is sometimes referred to as a stroke of the eye. It occurs when blood flow to the optic nerve is interrupted, resulting in tissue damage called ischemia. If this occurs, stop taking the drug and seek medical attention.

Medically reviewed on 1/12/2012

Continue Reading