Can Women Take Viagra? What You Need to Know!

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Sex is considered by many to be a fundamental part of any successful and fulfilling relationship. It is, however, true that sometimes problems can exist in this area which can prove challenging and stressful for partners. Problems such as these are common in both sexes.

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Male erectile dysfunction is a well known and relatively common problem affecting around 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 years of age according to the NHS website. To combat this there is a ‘wonder pill’ known as Viagra which is used in the treatment of this established condition. As a mark of its success, Viagra has generated millions of pounds of profit for the company.

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The standard starting dose of Viagra is 50mg and is usually taken one hour before sex. But can women take Viagra? Can this multi-million pound drug have any positive effects for the other sex? To be clear at this point, no, women cannot take Viagra but it is an interesting case as to the research and the general intrigue into the topic.

Women Can’t Take Viagra, Can They?

This is not a new idea nor concept; many popular female magazines and other high profile newspapers from both the UK and USA have at some point featured an article on this topic and it appears to be an intriguing topic for many people.

Obviously, with Viagra, the effects on men surround the process of penis dilation by increasing blood flow, so this will be different for women, but how so?
It is thought that Viagra can be used for women by increasing blood perfusion to the female genital area, increasing lubrication and aiding orgasm. Indeed, there has been some research done on women taking Viagra. These studies are broadly focused around the treatment of two female conditions; Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD) and Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).

 

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Product Description

How does Viagra and Sildenafil work?

Viagra (Sildenafil) helps men to get and maintain an erection when sexually stimulated and/or excited. The medicine relaxes the blood vessels in the penis which results in more blood flowing to the penis when you are sexually excited.

How do I take it?

You should take Viagra (Sildenafil) approximately 1 hour before planning to have intercourse. Within a window of between 30 minutes and 4 hours after you take the medicine, it will be easier to keep and maintain an erection when you are sexually excited. If you take this medicine after a meal with a high fat content it may take a little longer to start working. This medicine will only work when you are sexually excited. You won’t get an erection just by taking Viagra (Sildenafil).

Dosage

The standard recommended dose for Viagra (Sildenafil) is 50mg and this will be suitable for most people.  If this dose is not effective, you can try 100mg and if 50mg gives you side effects you can also reduce the dose to 25mg tablets.

You must not take more than 100mg daily of Sildenafil/ Viagra. Clinical trials have been conducted in patients taking up to 200mg sildenafil and it was found that ‘doses of 200mg did not result in increased efficacy but did increase the incidence of adverse reactions (headache, flushing, dizziness, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, and altered vision).’

In addition, in patients taking more than 100mg daily, there have been reports of rhabdomyolysis (a breakdown in skeletal muscle tissue the byproducts of which can lead to kidney failure), visual perception changes, vertebral artery dissection (a tear in the artery supplying blood to the brain), heart attacks and aggressive behaviour.

If the 100mg strength doesn’t work for you, there may be alternatives you can try and we recommend that you call us for a free consultation with our pharmacist or doctor to discuss any underlying conditions you may have. We recommend that all men taking medicine for erectile dysfunction have regular tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and hormone imbalances. For instance, it may be that by fixing a hormone imbalance such as testosterone, your Viagra medication will be even more effective.

In addition, drug manufacturers do not advise patients to split tablets in half to get the correct dosage as they cannot guarantee that the active ingredient will be distributed evenly throughout the tablet.  For instance, if you cut a 100mg tablet in two, you may find that you get 80mg in one half of the tablet and 20mg in the other half leading to either an overdose (increased risk of side effects) or a suboptimal dose (the medication may not work).

It is important that you choose the correct dose for you. If you wish to talk to our pharmacist or doctor about this, please contact us in the pharmacy on 01625 460621 or email [email protected]

Side Effects

Viagra (Sildenafil) is normally well tolerated, however, side effects can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Side effects normally subside after a few hours, however, if you experience a prolonged or painful erection (longer than 4 hours), then you must contact your doctor immediately.

Drug interactions

There are a number of medicines which interact with Sildenafil/ Viagra. For an exhaustive list please see the patient information leaflet (see section below) or call us in the pharmacy to discuss your specific situation. The main drug interactions are listed here:

Recreational drugs such as ‘poppers’ or amyl nitrate
Alpha blockers used for urinary retention or blood pressure problems (eg Flomax or Cardura)
Anti- arrhythmic drugs such as disopyramide
Antibiotics such as erythromycin
Antifungals such as itraconazole
Antivirals such as drugs used to treat HIV
Bosentan
Cobicistat
Calcium channel blockers to treat blood pressure and angina such as amlodipine
Dapoxetine (Priligy – used to treat premature ejaculation)
Grapefruit juice**
Nicorandil
Nitrates
Riociguat
Cimetidine (to treat stomach ulcers)

Please do not take Sildenafil/Viagra if you have taken any of the above drugs within the last 60 days without first consulting with either us in the Pharmacy ([email protected] / 01625 460621) or via email with our doctor [email protected]

**We advise not to take Sildenafil/Viagra with grapefruit juice as the blood concentration of Sildenafil will possibly be increased resulting in side effects.

Patient Information Leaflets

Please click here for the patient information leaflet for Viagra.

For Actavis Sildenafil please see the following leaflets: 100mg, 50mg, 25mg.

Storing Medicines Safely

Please keep your medicine out of the reach of children and store at room temperature.  Unwanted medicine can be disposed of by returning it to any local pharmacy or indeed to us here for us to dispose of it for you.

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Common symptoms of both conditions include lack of ‘excitement’, vagina dryness, loss of sensation and sensitivity in the genital area and, or nipples. The causes of either disorder are generally unknown but in known cases the cause can be multi-factorial and vary greatly between woman to woman, some examples of common causes include drug interactions, psychiatric problems, low levels of testosterone and high levels of prolactin. Understandably, this can cause significant distress for sufferers which may lead to a range of health problems. It is estimated that around half of women, at some point in their life, suffer from some of these symptoms.

It is therefore thought that, by taking Viagra, women who are suffering from these conditions and those similar to that would have their symptoms alleviated. Sildenafil-100-4Indeed, the action of Viagra involves increasing blood flow to the genital area (which is the same process for men treating erectile dysfunction) and consequently increasing the sensitivity and feeling a woman experiences during sexual intercourse. The mechanism behind its action is increasing nitric oxide in the genital tissues; again, this is similar to the process in men. This increases blood flow allowing a woman’s clitoris and labia become more engorged (filled with blood) than usual which results in greater stimulation. In addition, the vaginal lining can become more lubricated.

It is important to note that Viagra does not affect the sexual drive of a woman or her libido. This is significant as all the conditions listed above such as FSAD or HSDD are characterized by sufferers having a low sex drive.

What Do The Studies Show?

In relation to studies in this field, results and findings have been interesting and to a certain extent very promising. One such example is an article featured in the American Journal of Urology written by Laura Berman, director of Berman Centre and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and psychiatry at North Western University Chicago and Dr Jen Berman, director of female sexual medicine at UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles, USA.

They conducted a study over a twelve week period in 202 postmenopausal or post-hysterectomy women who complained of suffering from female arousal disorder. The women were aged between 30 and 71 years with an average age of 51 years. The findings of the experiment were based on feedback from the women who kept a journal of their sex lives during the trial period.

Female ViagraIt was found from feedback that 69% of women experienced an increase in sensation/ feeling in their genital area during intercourse, eight times greater compared to the group of women taking a placebo medication. Furthermore, 50% of participants reported more pleasant/enjoyable foreplay and intercourse which is nine times greater than the control group. In addition, the side effects experienced by women in this trial were reported as mild to moderate and similar in nature to those experienced by men taking Sildenafil including symptoms such as a headache and dizziness.

However, in this study women suffering from Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSSD) displayed much less efficacy when asked regarding their experiences while taking Sildenafil. This is thought by researchers to confirm that HSDD is more likely to be caused by an underlying emotional or relationship problem leading to a lack of sexual desire for which Viagra cannot alleviate the symptoms.

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It is important to mention at this time that these women in the study were made up of a small and very specific group of particular circumstances (postmenopausal women or had a hysterectomy at some point) and so the findings cannot and have not proven that neither Sildenafil nor products containing Sildenafil such as Viagra are safe or effective for women to use especially considering its effect on pregnancy or women of a childbearing age are unknown.
Indeed, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) have not approved the use of Viagra for women at all, regardless of circumstances. Therefore, if a woman was to request a prescription of Viagra from her doctor or health care professional it would not be allowed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the answer to the question ‘Can women take Viagra?’ is a long one; but in terms of a clear clarification, no they cannot. Indeed, despite some research showing some promising results which suggest that Viagra can help some women in achieving a more pleasing and pleasurable sexual experience, it is not approved by the MHRA and so cannot be supplied to a woman via a prescription from a doctor. Lack of knowledge or a broad range of evidence and research have limited any chances of this situation changing in the near future. Therefore, as a definitive close to this proposal; No, women cannot take Viagra, as not only is it not proven yet to be safe nor can it be confirmed to be truly effective.

Women who are suffering from symptoms as mentioned above should contact their doctor or pharmacist for advice and support.

 

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References:

 

Assured Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected].