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The Truth About Viagra: Is It Safe to Use


picture of Viagra bottle and tablets with a headline saying Is Viagra Safe

Viagra, also known by its generic name Sildenafil, is a popular medication used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. While millions of men worldwide have been using this medication for over two decades, concerns surrounding its safety, potential side effects, and interactions with other drugs remain a topic of discussion. 

How Does Viagra Work?

Viagra belongs to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, or PDE5 inhibitors. These medications work by inhibiting the effects of the PDE5 enzyme, which is responsible for contracting the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. By blocking the enzyme, Viagra increases blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection when a man is sexually aroused.

Viagra is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a form of high blood pressure that affects the lungs. In this context, the drug helps to relax the blood vessels in the lungs, reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow.
Read more on: How does Viagra work?

Is Viagra Safe to Take?

Viagra has been on the market for over 20 years and has been used by millions of men worldwide. Its safety record is generally good, and the FDA has approved its use for treating erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. However, like all medications, Viagra can cause side effects in some individuals.
Related: How long does Viagra last

Common Side Effects of Viagra

The most common side effects of Viagra include:

  • Headaches;
  • Flushing (due to vasodilation);
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion);
  • Nasal congestion (stuffy nose);
  • Back and/or muscle pain;
  • Dizziness;
  • Skin rash;
  • Vision issues, such as blurred vision, changes in color vision, or other abnormal vision;

These side effects are generally mild and transient, gradually disappearing as the body processes the drug. However, some individuals may experience more severe or persistent side effects.

Serious Side Effects of Viagra

While rare, Viagra can cause more severe side effects in some cases. These include:

  • Chest pain;
  • A prolonged and painful erection lasting several hours (priapism);
  • Allergic reaction (wheezing, breathing difficulties, or swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, or throat);
  • Severe skin reactions, such as skin peeling, swelling, and blistering of the mouth, genitals, and around the eyes;
  • Seizures (fits);
  • Tightening of the throat;
  • Palpitations;
  • Sudden decrease or loss of vision;
  • Blood in the urine;

If you experience any of these severe side effects, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial.

Who Can Take Viagra?

Most men can use Viagra over the age of 18 who are experiencing erectile dysfunction. However, certain medical conditions and medications can increase the likelihood of dangerous side effects or make Viagra unsuitable for some individuals.

When is it Not Safe to Take Viagra?

You should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking Viagra if you have any of the following conditions or are taking medications that may cause erectile dysfunction:

  • A history of allergic reactions to sildenafil or any other medicines;
  • Low blood pressure;
  • Angina (chest pain) and use of nitrates for treatment;
  • A severe liver or heart condition;
  • Sickle cell anemia;
  • Multiple myeloma;
  • A stomach ulcer;
  • Recent history of stroke, heart attack, or other heart conditions;
  • A rare inherited eye disease, such as retinitis pigmentosa;
  • A penis deformity, such as Peyronie’s disease;
  • History of an erection lasting more than four hours;

Additionally, you should not take Viagra or other PDE5 inhibitors if you are taking or prescribed any of the following medications:

  • Nitrate-containing medications for chest pain, such as GTN spray or tablets, isosorbide mononitrate, isosorbide dinitrate, or nicorandil;
  • GTN cream for anal fissures (rectogesic);
  • Certain HIV medications that interact with sildenafil (consult your specialist);
  • Riociguat for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH);
    Related: How long does Viagra stay in your system

How to Take Viagra Safely

To ensure the safe use of Viagra, follow these guidelines:

  • Only take Viagra once a day;
  • Swallow tablets whole with water or juice;
  • Ideally, take on an empty stomach;
  • Take an hour before you want to have sex;
  • Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol before taking it;
  • Do not take Viagra with recreational drugs, such as poppers (amyl nitrate), ecstasy, cocaine, or LSD;
  • Do not take Viagra in combination with certain heart medications containing nitrates or creams for treating anal fissures, as this can cause a fatal reaction;
    Find out where to buy Viagra online

How Much Viagra Should I Take?

Viagra has three strengths: 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. The standard recommended dose is 50mg, taken as needed before engaging in sexual activity. However, some individuals may require different dosages following consultation with their healthcare provider.

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