Viagra is the most well-known preparation for the therapy of male sexual inability. This medication is considered to be revolutionary as, with its appearance in the late 1990s, Viagra changed the lives of millions. Despite more than 20 years of the history of usage, Viagra still keeps the leadership among the drugs applied for impotence.
Whenever you face the problem of erectile dysfunction, it’s almost for sure that Viagra will be the first medicine you’ll be prescribed.
The active component of Viagra is called sildenafil citrate. It is the first and the most often applied representative of the phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE-5 inhibitors) class of drugs. The preparation is targeted at stimulating firm and lasting erection in men suffering from sexual inability.
The mechanism of action of the drug is based on the relaxation of the smooth muscular tissue of the blood vessels and the cavernous bodies of the penis that allows filling the organ with enough blood. The effect of the preparation is triggered by sexual stimulation. This process causes the release of nitric oxide (NO) by the endothelial cells of the inner lining of the blood vessels. NO, in its turn, enhances the secretion of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in the tissues of the male sex organ. Viagra helps to reduce the amounts of phosphodiesterase type-5 – an enzyme that breaks down cGMP, which allows it levels to grow and widen the arteries bringing blood to the penis.
Overall, the erection achieved with the help of Viagra is no different from the natural process. After a man reaches the climax and ejaculates, the penis gets back to its usual size and the erection disappears. Still, due to sildenafil citrate, which shortens the refractory period, a man can go for another round within 15 minutes only.
Viagra should be used only by men whose diagnosis has been confirmed by a doctor. Men that don’t have any problems with erectile function won’t benefit from taking the preparation, yet they may put themselves at risk of experiencing side effects. This preparation doesn’t work for low libido.
Administering the preparation on an empty stomach is preferable as food may interfere with the speed of its absorption from the gastric tract. A fatty meal may delay the onset of its action or worsen the quality of Viagra-induced erection.
Depending on your response to sildenafil citrate, the medication may need from 30 minutes to an hour (in rare cases up to an hour and a half) to be able to get an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse with vaginal penetration. Therefore, you should better administer the tablet at least an hour before the planned sexual activity. Don’t chew or crush the tablet. Wash it down with a glass of plain water.
The effects of Viagra tablets last for 4 – 5 hours. Yet according to some studies, 75% of men can achieve an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse even 12 hours after taking a pill. This medication is not intended for a scheduled intake, you should only use it when planning to have sex. Never take more than one tablet per 24 hours.
Brand Viagra is produced only in the form of tablets. You may have heard the name ‘blue pill’. That’s a common name for Viagra. The preparation is available in three dosage strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg.
The doctors usually recommend to start with a 50 mg tablet, yet for those suffering from certain chronic conditions, or have some precautions to the drug use or are older than 65, a 25 mg dosage is preferable.
The efficiency of Viagra is strongly linked to the dose of the drug taken. In case the initial dose doesn’t work well enough or you feel some unwanted reactions, it can be either increased to 100 mg or 50 mg or reduced to 25 mg.
Men starting the treatment with a PDE 5 inhibitor for the first time should better consult a doctor before first. A specialist will check their medical history, and based on the results, will give recommendations concerning the most appropriate dose.
Exceeding the maximum daily dose of 100 mg, you put yourself at risk of developing severe adverse effects.
Viagra has quite a positive safety profile. However, there are situations when men are more prone to developing severe adverse effects. Such patients may take the medication with caution, and only after their doctor weighs all the benefits and risks of the therapy. The following conditions demand special caution when taking Viagra:
liver or kidney disease;
elevated blood pressure;
heart health issues;
Viagra may lower your blood pressure. Therefore, you may feel dizzy. Try to avoid driving a car or operating machinery when taking the preparation until you know how your body reacts to it. Marijuana may exacerbate dizziness, so you should avoid their concomitant use or stay away from any actions that demand alertness.
Drinking alcohol when on Viagra should better be avoided. The reason is that alcohol depresses the nervous system, thus not letting it react properly to sexual stimulation and the medication itself. When on Viagra, a man may take up to three drinks but not more.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice are not the products to be mixed with Viagra. Grapefruit juice slows down the metabolism of the medication, thus increasing its concentrations in the blood flow. This may increase the risks for adverse effects, including the severe ones.
Concomitant administering of Viagra with a number of other preparations may provoke a number of unwanted reactions. Sildenafil citrate may reduce the efficacy of some preparations and vice versa. Therefore, informing your attending doctor about all the medical products, including herbal drugs you take is utterly important.
Viagra may get into potentially life-threatening interactions with numerous drugs. Some of them are listed below:
nitric oxide donors (when mixed with sildenafil, they lead to a severe drop in blood pressure);
HIV protease inhibitors;
other PDE 5 inhibitors;
When the possible risks prevail on the potential benefits of the therapy with Viagra, men should avoid its intake. This preparation is contraindicated in the following cases:
a heart attack or a stroke within the past half a year;
Peyronie’s disease or other penile deformities;
uncontrolled blood pressure;
severe renal or hepatic impairment;
active peptic ulcer.
This preparation is not intended for use in children and women. However, the other preparation containing the same active ingredient may be applied in these patients for the maintenance therapy of COPD.
The results of numerous studies on Viagra prove this drug to be very safe. Only 25% of men taking it experience light-to-moderate adverse reactions. Less than 2% may face severe side effects of the drug. The most often adverse reactions to Viagra are:
trouble differentiating between blue and green colors;
These symptoms are temporary and disappear soon after the effect of the drug is over. As you move on in your Viagra therapy, these reactions may get milder and gradually go away. Usually, there’s no need for medical care in such situations. However, persistence or worsening of any of the listed symptoms should make you consult a medical specialist.
Severe reactions are very uncommon, yet you’d better be aware of them to seek medical attention right after their first symptoms appear. The side effects that demand immediate medical attention are listed below:
pain in the chest, arm, or jaw, which may signal a heart attack;
partial or complete vision loss;
ringing in the ears, partial or complete hearing loss;
priapism – painful erection lasting longer than 4 hours;
reactions of hypersensitivity – swelling of the face, tongue, throat, rash, trouble breathing.
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