How Often Can You Take Viagra?

The quest to research and develop a pharmaceutical drug may not always end up with the intended results. Take Viagra® as a good example. After many years of working on Viagra® as a means of targeting angina, researchers may have felt disappointed knowing that it had failed as a treatment for angina.

Sildenafil-Blackboard-WebHowever, there was a silver lining that appeared out of this apparent failure. Researchers were perplexed when they noticed that some of the patients were reluctant to stop taking sildenafil citrate, which is the active ingredient contained in Viagra®, or better known as UK92480 back then. When asked, these clinical patients said they were able to obtain a hard enough penis for penetrative sex despite suffering from Erectile Dysfunction (ED). This puzzling discovery was later confirmed by Pfizer’s senior scientist Chris Wayman after undertaking experiments in a lab using penile tissue samples from patients with ED.

For those still unaware, ED is caused by the inability to produce an erection or a rigid penis hard enough for sex to occur despite being sexually aroused. Previous treatments for ED did exist, but none had much of an impact as Viagra® did as they were seen as being uncomfortable and painful to administer. Viagra®, on the other hand, was much easier to administer as it appears in the form of an easily swallow able tablet with the words ‘Pfizer’ on one side and ‘VGR 25/VGR50/VGR100’ on the other. Its blue diamond shaped appearance made it easy to distinguish from other medications.

Celebration-Image-WebSo how did the general public respond to it? It became an instant success, easily securing its place as one of the top 100 bestselling drugs of all time. All this sounds great and all, but how does it actually work in real life? More importantly, how often can I take this drug especially if I am or would like to be sexually active?

The active ingredient sildenafil citrate works by reducing the breakdown of cGMP by inhibiting the phosphodiesterase 5 enzyme which breaks it down. By allowing cGMP to accumulate, this will cause a widening of blood vessels in the penis allowing increased blood flow to the spongy tissue in the penis which will lead to the penis growing in size and eventually becoming rigid enough for sex. Of course, sildenafil citrate or Viagra® is no aphrodisiac and depends wholly on signals from the brain which are triggered during sexual arousal in order for it to work effectively.

So how do I take it? Are there any special instructions for taking it?

As a prescribed medication, the dose of Viagra® is decided solely by your GP as sildenafil can cause some harmful adverse effects if it is misused. Viagra tablets are available in strengths of 25mg, 50mg and 100mg tablets. Before prescribing Viagra, your GP will have to decide if it is safe for you to take sildenafil by considering your medical history and past medications you are taking. Some medications such as nitrates and hypertensive medications cannot be consumed together with Viagra®. Your GP may also need to check if you are responding well to your medication therapy for any possible heart-related condition before deciding to prescribe Viagra®.

The most typical initial dose for Viagra® is 50mg once a day when required. The dose can be adjusted by your GP according to your health condition. Different people may respond differently to the same dose. If necessary, your GP may reduce or increase your dose depending on how you respond to your starting dose of Viagra®. It is very rare for GPs and consultant specialists to go beyond the maximum daily dose of 100mg.

Kidney-Image-WebIf you have kidney and or liver problems, your dose of Viagra® may need to be adjusted to account for your impaired kidney or liver functions. Your liver and kidney are important in metabolising or breaking down the drug before it can be removed from the body. Taking the common 50mg daily dose may not be suitable because the drug may accumulate to toxic levels since it may be more difficult to remove the drug from the body. The readjusted dose will depend a lot on the degree of liver and kidney impairment which will determine how well both organs can metabolise and remove the drug as waste products from the body. Usually, most patients with kidney and liver impairment take a dose of around 25mg once a day unless advised otherwise by their physician. Ultimately, you should discuss with your GP or physician on the best treatment option for your ED.

Viagra® tablets can be taken with or without food. However, you should bear in mind that taking the drug with a heavy meal before sex will not only make intercourse uncomfortable but also increases the time it takes for it to be absorbed into your bloodstream. In other words, it may take longer than usual for the drug to work.

Under normal circumstances, men taking Viagra will notice the effects within 30 minutes after taking the drug but that varies from one person to another. The effects will wear off after 4 to 5 hours when the drug is cleared from the body. Taking a higher dose than normal can lead to some adverse effects such as priapism. Priapism is a prolonged erection that can last even longer than 4 or 5 hours. This should be treated as a medical emergency as prolonged erections can cause serious physical damage to the penis as well as being really painful.

Other common side effects will include dizziness, headache and even nasal congestion. These side effects may wear off after a while and should not interfere too much with sex. More serious effects are uncommon but may present itself in the form of sudden loss of vision and hearing. This may be related to the ability of sildenafil to bind to other phosphodiesterase enzymes such as PDE6 which is involved in visual perception of images. If you do experience chest pains while having sex, please do not use nitrates such as isosorbide dinitrate or glyceryltrinitrate (GTN) as sildenafil interacts with these medications. Instead, call emergency services immediately for assistance. Regardless, always seek medical assistance as soon as possible if you do encounter an adverse reaction which you are not familiar with while taking this medication.

Private-Image-WebSome people may feel the need to consume Viagra® discreetly to prevent others from finding out that they are being treated for ED. Viagra® is available in small pack sizes of 4 tablets per box which are easily stored in pockets or bags. It is also possible nowadays to legally buy Viagra® online. For those who are still unconvinced, it may be comforting to know that all healthcare professionals are professionally and legally obligated to keep all patient information in a confidential and secure manner as detailed in the Data Protection Act 1998. Even online pharmacies such as Assured Pharmacy are required to comply with such regulations.

This means that you can be confident that we will do our level best to provide you a professional, reliable, private and confidential service when you seek treatment for ED from us. All the information you provide to us will only be handled by our GP and pharmacy staff involved in preparing your medication. Consultations are done online where you will fill up our health questionnaire which will be vetted by our GP before issuing a prescription.

So this means that there will not be any face to face contact with our pharmacy team or GP. We will also be more than happy to assist you if you have any questions or would simply require advice about treating ED. Please check our website for more info or email us for further information. You may even call us during our operational hours if you prefer to do so.

 

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References

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8466118.stm
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/849457
http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=652#section-10

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