Viagra

Viagra helps men with erectile dysfunction get and maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. It usually starts to work within 30-60 minutes.

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Pharmacist Beth Bolt, RPh overviews the uses and common side effects of Viagra
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Pharmacist Beth Bolt, RPh overviews the uses and common side effects of Viagra
PDE5 Inhibitors
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Pharmacist Beth Bolt, RPh summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the PDE5 Inhibitors class of medications

Viagra Overview

Updated: 

Viagra is a prescription medication used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

Viagra is in a class of medications called PDE inhibitors. It increases blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. This increased blood flow can cause an erection.

This medication comes in tablet form and is taken one hour before sexual activity if treating for ED.

Common side effects include headache, facial flushing, and upset stomach.

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Viagra Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Viagra

Viagra is a prescription medication used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in adult males.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Viagra Drug Class

Viagra is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Viagra

The most common side effects of Viagra are:

  • headache
  • flushing of the face
  • upset stomach

Less common side effects that may occur are temporary changes in color vision (such as trouble telling the difference between blue and green objects or having a blue color tinge to them), eyes being more sensitive to light, or blurred vision.

In rare instances, men taking PDE5 inhibitors reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision in one or both eyes. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to these medicines, to other factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, or to a combination of these. If you experience sudden decrease or loss of vision, stop taking PDE5 inhibitors, including Viagra, and call a doctor right away.

In rare instances, men have reported an erection that lasts many hours. You should call a doctor immediately if you ever have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours. If not treated right away, permanent damage to your penis could occur.

Sudden loss or decrease in hearing, sometimes with ringing in the ears and dizziness, has been rarely reported in people taking PDE5 inhibitors, including Viagra. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to the PDE5 inhibitors, to other diseases or medications, to other factors, or to a combination of factors. If you experience these symptoms, stop taking Viagra and contact a doctor right away.

Heart attack, stroke, irregular heart beats, and death have been reported rarely in men taking Viagra. Most, but not all, of these men had heart problems before taking this medicine. It is not possible to determine whether these events were directly related to Viagra.

Viagra may cause other side effects besides those listed. If you want more information or develop any side effects or symptoms you are concerned about, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Viagra Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take any of the following:

  • medicines called alpha blockers. These include Hytrin (terazosin HCl), Flomax (tamsulosin HCl), Cardura (doxazosin mesylate), Minipress (prazosin HCl) or Uroxatral (alfuzosin HCl). Alpha blockers are sometimes prescribed for prostate problems or high blood pressure. If Viagra is taken with certain alpha blockers, your blood pressure could suddenly drop and you could get dizzy or faint.
  • other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • medications that block a protein in the body (CYPA4) such as some macrolide antibiotics (clarithromycin, telithromycin), some HIV protease inhibitors (indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir), some HCV protease inhibitors (boceprevir, telaprevir), some azole antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), conivaptan (Vaprisol), delavirdine (Rescriptor), and nefazodone (Serzone)
  • medications that increase the activity of the enzyme CYP3A4 such as carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, Carbatrol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin (Rifadin), St John's wort, and nimodipine (Nimotop)
  • other medicines or treatments for ED

Do not take Viagra if you take any medicines called “nitrates.” Nitrates are commonly used to treat angina. Angina is a symptom of heart disease and can cause pain in your chest, jaw, or down your arm.

  • Medicines called nitrates include nitroglycerin that is found in tablets, sprays, ointments, pastes, or patches. Nitrates can also be found in other medicines such as isosorbide dinitrate or isosorbide mononitrate. Some recreational drugs called “poppers” also contain nitrates, such as amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite.
  • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if any of your medicines are nitrates.

This is not a complete list of Viagra drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Viagra Precautions

  • Viagra is not for newborns, children, or women.
  • Do not let anyone else take your Viagra.
  • Viagra must be used only under a doctor's supervision.
  • There is potential risk of sexual activity in patients with cardiovascular risk factors. If you experience symptoms (chest pain, dizziness, nausea) upon initiation of sexual activity, it is advised to refrain from further sexual activity and discuss the episode with your doctor.
  • Viagra can cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly to an unsafe level if it is taken with certain other medicines. You could get dizzy, faint, or have a heart attack or stroke.
  • Tell all of your healthcare providers that you take Viagra. If you need emergency medical care for a heart problem, it will be important for your healthcare provider to know when you last took Viagra.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if sudden loss of vision occurs, which could be a sign of non-arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).
  • Seek immediate medical attention if sudden decrease or loss of hearing occurs.

Do not take Viagra if you:

  • take any medicines called “nitrates”. See "Drug Interactions" section.
  • use recreational drugs called “poppers” like amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite
  • are allergic to Viagra or any of its ingredients. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
    • rash
    • hives
    • swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you have any of the symptoms of an allergic reaction listed above.
  • Only your doctor can decide if Viagra is right for you. Viagra can cause mild, temporary lowering of your blood pressure. You will need to have a thorough medical exam to diagnose your erectile dysfunction and to find out if you can safely take Viagra alone or with your other medicines.

 

Viagra Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Viagra and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

 

Inform MD

Be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • have ever had any heart problems (e.g., angina, chest pain, heart failure, irregular heart beats, heart attack or narrowing of the aortic valve)
  • have ever had a stroke
  • have low or high blood pressure
  • have ever had severe vision loss
  • have a rare inherited eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa
  • have ever had any kidney problems
  • have ever had any liver problems
  • have ever had any blood problems, including sickle cell anemia or leukemia
  • are allergic to Viagra or any of the other ingredients of Viagra
  • have a deformed penis, Peyronie's disease, or ever had an erection that lasted more than 4 hours
  • have stomach ulcers or any types of bleeding problems
  • are taking any other medicines
  • have sickle cell disease; Viagra may cause serious complications if PAH is secondary to sickle cell disease

Viagra and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category B.

Viagra is not indicated for use in newborns, children, or women.

Viagra and Lactation

It is not known if Viagra or its metabolites are excreted in human breast milk. Because many drugs pass into human milk, caution should be used when Viagra is administered to a nursing woman.

Viagra Usage

This medication comes in tablet form and is taken one hour before sexual activity if treating for ED.

Viagra Dosage

For the treatment of ED:

For most patients, the recommended dose is 50 mg taken, as needed, approximately 1 hour before sexual activity. However, Viagra may be taken anywhere from 4 hours to 0.5 hour before sexual activity. Your doctor may increase the dose to a maximum recommended dose of 100 mg or decreased it to 25 mg. Viagra is to be taken only once per day.

Viagra Overdose

If you take too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Keep Viagra out of the reach of children.
  • Keep Viagra in its original container.
  • Store at room temperature away from excessive heat or moisture.