What Does Viagra Do?

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is one of the more common middle-age conundrums men experience as they age apart from male pattern baldness. ED may not seem like a severely debilitating condition at first, but it can have a serious impact on a man’s self-esteem and his marriage/relationship. Like it or not, sex is undoubtedly one of the important components of a happy marriage. Maintaining a good sex life helps keep the relationship alive and invigorating. That generally does not change with age even though it is a known fact that desire for sex may gradually diminish with age. But what is ED, really?

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ED is the result of a difficulty in developing or maintaining a rigid penis hard enough for penetrative sex. Causes of ED can be either physical or psychological or could be a combined effect of both. However, we are not going to discuss ED in great detail in this article. There are other articles available on our blog which discuss the symptoms and causes for ED. Treatments options are available for ED. Researchers in Pfizer developed a drug which was released in 1998 as an oral treatment for ED. It eventually became available in most parts of the world as a blue diamond-shaped tablet known as Viagra®.

Sildenafil-Blackboard-WebThe launch of Viagra® was generally well-received as there were no previous oral treatments for ED. All the previous treatments which mostly came in the form of hormonal injections were inconvenient to administer and quite possibly painful to administer. Viagra® is the brand name for sildenafil citrate, whose primary mode of action is to target the local pathway in the penis which gives rise to erections. Unfortunately, Viagra® only treats the physical causes but not the psychological effects of ED. To date, there are still no available treatments on the market that can deal with the psychological causes of ED.

Viagra® has now been part of the sexual dysfunction drug market for nearly 18 years. Many myths and misconceptions about the uses of Viagra® have risen throughout the years. Some of these myths may be more bizarre than others but it is likely that the drug’s popularity can be partly attributed to the false marketing carried out by some people especially via online marketing. Therefore, this article is intended as a mini-myth buster to discover what it really can and cannot do. Undoubtedly, the most common myth about Viagra® is about its ability as an aphrodisiac. For many years now, some people may have been under the impression that Viagra® functions by arousing sexual desire in middle-aged men.

Nitric-Oxide-WEbUnfortunately, contrary to people belief, it only functions to increase blood flow to the spongy tissue of the penis to ensure the penis remains hard enough for penetration. Sexual stimulation is still necessary for an erection to occur. Viagra®, or sildenafil, is only an aid which helps to improve the chances of getting or sustaining an erection. When a man becomes sexually stimulated or aroused, a chemical called nitric oxide is released which binds to a protein called adenylyl guanine which causes a cascade reaction that leads to a substance called cGMP being released which causes the blood vessels surrounding the spongy tissue in the penis to vasodilate or widen. The spongy tissue or corpus cavernosa in the penis becomes engorged in the blood which causes the penis to become rigid and stiff. Sildenafil inhibits the phosphodiesterase 5 enzyme by binding to it and preventing the breakdown of cGMP which causes vasodilation of blood vessels in the penis. More cGMP will lead to a sustained erection for long enough for a man to engage in sex. Thus, any man without any urge or desire for sex will not be able to achieve an erection with Viagra® alone.

Occasionally, an ED patient may have certain underlying conditions such as cardiovascular conditions and/or diabetes which may have been part of the reason why they developed ED. It is not advisable to use Viagra® to treat cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension even though sildenafil is known to have vasodilatory properties (i.e. lowers blood pressure). However, there is another form of sildenafil marketed as Revatio® which is indicated for use in certain cardiovascular conditions. Using Viagra® as a substitute for Revatio® especially without consulting your physician can bring about serious consequences to your health. You may also be at risk of serious side effects of sildenafil such as very low blood pressure which can be fatal. Moreover, using Viagra® together with medications for angina such as isosorbide dinitrate and glyceryl trinitrate may cause a sharp fall in blood pressure which can be fatal. There are also many other medications which can interact with Viagra® with some very serious consequences.

Another common misconception is that Viagra® transforms a man into a lovemaking machine who can engage in sex for several hours without a break in between. In fact, taking sildenafil does not turn you into a ‘human jackhammer’ as described by some people. Oddly enough, there are even some middle-aged or elderly men who claimed that Viagra® made them feel like an ’18-year-old again’. Even if this were true, they are most likely trying to say that taking sildenafil helped them achieve a hard enough erection which they were not able to achieve until more recently.

Another thing worth committing to memory is that Viagra® neither causes ejaculation nor does it cause orgasm. Taking Viagra® has no bearing on the chemical and physiological pathway which causes ejaculation or orgasm. That depends on sexual stimulation to trigger the pathway for those two processes to occur.

 

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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.

51 reviews for Viagra & Generic Sildenafil

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Believe it or not, there are people who believe that Viagra® can be used as a protection against STIs. Such a claim is absolutely false as sildenafil citrate cannot be used to prevent the spread of STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or HIV/AIDS. Only barrier contraceptive methods such as the use of condoms can prevent the spread of these STIs.

Blue-Vision-WebOther than that, some people harbour the belief that Viagra® can cause blue vision. There is some truth to this myth as sildenafil citrate has some affinity to phosphodiesterase 6 (PDE6) enzymes. In fact, studies done on Viagra® has shown that its affinity for PDE6 is only 10 times less than its affinity for PDE5. PDE6 is involved in the pathway in the retina of the eyes which contributes to visual perception. This temporary visual distortion which may cause people to perceive blue and green colours differently is only temporary and does not cause any long-term harmful effects. It may, however, be indicative of an overdose of sildenafil citrate.

Switching from a lower to a higher dose of Viagra® does not extend its effects. Every prescribed dose of Viagra® is specific to a particular person based on their physical health and any medical condition they may have. While it is true that a higher dose may be necessary for some people in order to actually experience the effects of the drug, effects will wear off after 4 or 5 hours, which is the same for other strengths of sildenafil. As such, taking a higher dose will not give you the intended effect and will instead increase your risk of experiencing unwanted side effects.

If ever in doubt, always consult with a qualified GP or pharmacist such as our GP and pharmacy team here at Assured Pharmacy. We provide an online consultation service via an online health questionnaire which will be reviewed by our GMC registered GP. Our GP will consider any medical conditions you may have and past medication as well as other lifestyle factors before deciding if Viagra® is safe for you. If so, you will be able to receive your medication through the post with our free delivery service to your home. Rest assured that the whole process from start to end will ensure you receive a safe, reliable, convenient service for the supply of your medication. To find out more, please check our website for more information.

 

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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].