Viagra, What Are The Alternatives?

Viagra; It’s the little blue wonder pill of the 21st century, but what’s the alternative?

Viagra is a tablet which contains the active ingredient Sildenafil Citrate which is used in the treatment of male impotence or erectile dysfunction. Male impotence is a very common problem affecting approximately half of men over the age of fifty and symptoms are typically characterised by an inability to achieve a sufficiently rigid penis necessary for sexual intercourse.

Viagra has shown extremely promising results in how well it alleviates the symptoms of male impotence with success rates in clinical trials over 75% in cases.

Viagra appears as a blue diamond-shaped tablet and is available in three strengths only; 25mg, 100mg and 75mg. The typical starting dose of Viagra is one 50mg tablet once daily and should be taken 30 minutes to one hour prior to sex. The dose of Viagra can be tailored to each individual patients needs in accordance with advice supplied by a healthcare professional.

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Confused ManViagra has very few adverse effects and of those that it does possess they are generally mild in severity and short in duration. Indeed, of the many millions of men who take Viagra, it is estimated that only 2.3% actually discontinue use as a result of experiencing unpleasant side effects. The most common adverse effect is a headache and other less common adverse symptoms include nausea and facial flushing.

However, despite all the benefits of Viagra, some men find they would rather try an alternative, but what exactly are they? Could there really be anything better the original blue wonder pill?

The first starting point to consider in trying a substitute to Viagra would be to ask yourself what could be causing the problem of your symptoms. Generally, in a majority of cases, impotence is of a physical or psychological origin. For simplicity, in cases where the symptoms of male impotence are variable in nature and fluctuate on different occasions are often presumed to be the result of a psychological condition, whereas, in scenarios where men find that the symptoms are continuous on all occasions, it is thought the cause is of a physical basis.

Physical factors which may cause the experiences of erectile dysfunction could be the result of many events such as trauma, surgery or could be the association with another existing medical condition such as high blood pressure. In cases like this, the first thing to do would be to consult your doctor and ask them for advice as potentially they will be able to resolve the condition very quickly via surgery or medication and thus negate the need for Viagra or an alternative.

Avoid AlcoholFurthermore, in cases where the impotence has been the result of physical factors such as the patient being overweight (a BMI over 25) changes to diet and increased exercise may help resolve the problem of erectile dysfunction. Indeed, healthier lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, as well as managing stress levels, can all have a major impact on sexual performance.

This all sounds extremely promising, however, in some cases, this idyllic outcome of finding a complete physical solution is not always feasible. This is because in some circumstances this is not always possible due to a range of complex medical conditions/ physical conditions and so Viagra or alternative will be required to resolve the condition. A doctor upon consultation will be able to provide the best advice to patients on this matter fully on an individual to case basis.

In regards to a psychological basis for erectile dysfunction, conditions such as anxiety, depression or depression may be the cause. Psychological factors are responsible for around 10 to 20% of cases of male impotence. Problems such as stress which can be money or work-related, anxiety caused by performance pressures or fear of failure can all lead to the inability to achieve an erection. Similarly, depression can induce the signs of erectile dysfunction as it can cause feelings of sexual disinterest and low self-esteem. Psychoses such as these can also further alter the way neurotransmitters and other brain chemicals work in our body which can increase the incidence/ severity of the condition. In cases like this it can very much be a self perpetuating problem in that in a scenario where a man first experiences the effects of impotence it makes him suffer a degree of anxiety/fear/low self-esteem/ depression which then further enhances the problem on subsequent occasions and so that it continues to get worse and worse as a result.

The best initial action to take if you believe that a psychological condition is causing your erectile dysfunction would be to contact your doctor who will be able to assess you fully. It is possible that the psychosis could be treated by medication and therefore alleviates the condition of erectile dysfunction. However, similarly to physical solutions to male impotence, this total resolution may not always be possible; for example, many anti-depressants can worsen and even induce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. It may be in instances such as these that Viagra medication may also necessary.

In cases such as those above it is clear that although it may be possible to reduce the severity of male impotence by considering the actual cause, there are still scenarios where medication is also necessary. In relation to this, the next question you may be asking would be could there be an alternative medication to Viagra?

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Viagra & Generic Sildenafil

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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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There are many other Viagra alternatives such as Levitra or Cialis. These medicines are similar in their mode of action compared to Viagra in that they too work by promoting blood flow to the penis. For simplicity the main comparisons of these products are tabulated below:

Viagra, Cialis, Levitra:

Duration of Action Approximately 4 to 6 hours Up to 36 hours Around 4to 6 hours
Dosing Once a day, with or without food Once a day (small dose), with or without food Once a day, with or without food
The optimum time to take the medication About 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse About 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse About 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse
Table 1: A table comparing three different erectile dysfunction medicines in terms of duration, dosing and the optimum time to take the medication prior to sex

  Viagra Cialis Levitra
Duration of Action Approximately 4 to 6 hours Up to 36 hours Around 4to 6 hours
Dosing Once a day, with or without food Once a day (small dose), with or without food Once a day, with or without food
The optimum time to take the medication About 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse About 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse About 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse

 

Therefore, it can be seen that although alternatives are available they are all generally very similar as shown in the table above. Furthermore, the also possess similar adverse effects.

Another type of medicine which could be considered as an alternative to Viagra is those similarly acting herbal products. Some of the more common products in this category are Arginine (thought to improve blood circulation to the genital area), Yohimbine (its active ingredient works by widening blood vessels, increasing the amount of blood going to the penis thus aiding an erection), and Korean Red Ginseng (the mechanism is very unclear and very little clinical research supports its efficacy). Indeed, there definitely are alternatives to conventional medicines such as Viagra however it is important to acknowledge that these items have not undergone similar testing that their counterparts have and as result not only may they not have any actual evidence to prove they work, they can be dangerous. Before trying herbal alternatives to Viagra, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

One final alternative to mention to Viagra is natural therapies. Natural therapies include things such as acupuncture and homoeopathy. Due to the fact that these alternatives have little evidence to their efficacy especially in terms of treatment of erectile dysfunction, they will not be discussed any further.

Sildenafli-50-4In conclusion, there are many alternatives to Viagra but the real catch in this query is whether or not they will actually work and if you individually are suitable for the substitute. As discussed, the first step is to try and identify the origin of the condition and from there research the options; surgery, counselling, drugs or lifestyle changes. In addition, for those who do wish to opt for something less conventional there are options such as herbal products, homoeopathy and acupuncture, but how well these options actually work may possibly prove to be a disappointment.

Finally, to re-ask the golden question ‘is there an alternative to the wonder that is Viagra?’- Yes there are but none of them have yet to be dubbed as a wonder of medicine or to have such a high success rate among millions of tried and tested users, but you individually can be the judge.
Viagra can be bought safely and discreetly via Assured Pharmacy- a pharmacy you can trust.

 

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References:

http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/erectile-dysfunction-treatments
http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/guide/ed-psychological-causes
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-ginseng
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Obesity/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

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].

2 thoughts on “Viagra, What Are The Alternatives?

  1. I receive a monthly NHS pack of four sildenafil as an erectile dysfunction treatment. This is because I am a registered type II diabetic. However, I find myself running out prior to month end. Therefore, I would like to find a way of obtaining some additional supplies. Would I be able to use this site to do so?

    1. Hi Simon,

      You would be able to order additional supplies of this medication on our website.

      The advised dose is 100mg in any 24 hour period and the maximum quantity that you can order at any one time is 64 tablets.

      Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

      Best Wishes

      Angela Lillie
      Pharmacist
      Assured Pharmacy
      01625 460 621
      http://www.assuredpharmacy.co.uk

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