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All about Viagra

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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In this article we'll talk about Viagra, who it is suitable for, and other options available.

What is Viagra?

Viagra contains the active ingredient sildenafil. It belongs to a group of medicines called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. Sildenafil treats erectile dysfunction that affects the ability to get an erection and maintain an erection during sex. It does this by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis so more blood can flow. It only works if you are also sexually aroused. The maximum dose is one tablet daily, taken up to 1 hour before sex. The effects of sildenafil last for around 4 hours, so an erection can still be achieved within this time. Viagra (sildenafil) does not affect performance and sexual drive or reduce premature ejaculation; other treatments are available for this, so be sure to speak to your doctor.

Is it safe for me to take it regularly?

Viagra is still a medication and must be used responsibly and only for the correct use - erectile dysfunction. Viagra can cause a drop in blood pressure and headache. Individuals with unstable heart conditions should not usually take Viagra without seeking advice from their doctor first. However, if you are taking it for the right reasons and you are healthy enough to take Viagra, then it is safe to take it regularly or often, a maximum of one tablet daily.

How can I obtain Viagra?

Your doctor may prescribe Viagra if you are fit enough to have sex, do not suffer from low or unstable blood pressure, have no heart conditions or are not taking medications that lower your blood pressure rapidly, like nitrates (regular blood pressure medication is okay if your blood pressure is stable). This is not an exhaustive list but your doctor can determine if Viagra is right for you.

What other options are available?

Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, is available in 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg strengths. Your doctor will determine your starting dose.

Other PDE-5 inhibitors, avanafil, tadalafil and vardenafil, are available on prescription from your doctor and have different profiles. The effect may last longer so that sex can happen spontaneously rather than planned.

If PDE-5 inhibitors do not work effectively, injectable alprostadil may be available after specialist advice.

Other treatments may be necessary to treat the root cause of erectile dysfunction, (e.g., psychological).

If you experience any side effects, you may need to speak to your pharmacist or doctor.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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