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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 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 increases blood flow in the corpora cavernosa, which helps to increase the muscle movements required to create and maintain an erection.

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 the lowest dose that has been proven effective in clinical studies. 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 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, lie down or stay seated until you feel better.

Viagra may not be safe for you if you have certain health problems, such as blood cell disorders (such as sickle cell anemia or multiple myeloma), or a history of Peyronie’s disease. 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. Talk to your doctor before you take 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 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.

You should also avoid drinking a lot of alcohol while 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

A person’s ability to achieve an erection may be affected if they take Viagra for a prolonged period of time. This may lead to a psychological dependency on Viagra and a desire to take it even when there is no sexual need. This can also lead to relational problems and distress.

People with certain eye conditions, such as non-arteritic posterior ischemic optic Neuropathy (NAION) and hereditary retinitis Pigmentosa, should not take Viagra because it can cause a sudden loss of sight in one or both of their 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 decrease the effectiveness of the drug or cause side effects.