How Viagra works

Viagra helps a man get and maintain an erection sufficient for sex by increasing blood flow to the penis. Like all medicines Viagra can cause side effects, however not everybody experiences them. In fact, less than 1% will have serious side effects.

Side Effects

Very common (occur in 1 in 10 people)

    •  Nausea/headache

Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)

    •  Stuffy nose
•  Indigestion
•  Dizziness
•  Changes in vision (blue tint or blurring)
•  Skin flushes on the face (redness)

Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)

    •  Tiredness
•  Muscular aches and chest pain
•  Dehydration
•  Numbing sensation or hypersensitivity to pain or touching
•  Vomiting
•  Noticing a ringing or other noise in the ears (tinnitus)
•  Heart palpitations and an increased heart rate
•  Sensation of spinning or vertigo
•  Skin rashes
•  Evidence of blood in urine or semen (or bleeding from your urethra)
•  Pain or discomfort within the eye – may include blurred or double vision, watery eyes, eyes appearing bloodshot, increased sensitivity, bleeding in the eye

Rare (affect between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 people)

    •  Lightheadedness leading to fainting or passing out
•  Problems hearing
•  Nosebleeds
•  Increased or decreased blood pressure
•  Stroke (cerebrovascular accident) or other heart related medical conditions

Frequency Unknown But Very Rare

    •  Prolonged erection, or persistent painful erection of the penis (priapism)
•  Unstable angina/irregular heart beats (arrhythmias)
•  Seizures or other epileptic reactions
•  Sudden death due to heart attack
•  Severe flaking of the surface layer of the skin (toxic epidermal necrolysis)
•  Extensive blistering of the skin (Stevens-Johnson syndrome)
•  Mini-stroke (transient ischaemic attack) or loss of blood supply to the brain

How to decrease the risk of Viagra side effects

  • Avoid alcohol – more than two units of alcohol can have effects not only on the time Viagra takes to kick in, but may also disrupt a person’s ability to gain an erection.
  • Avoid recreational drugs – Recreational drugs such as ‘Poppers’ and ‘Room Odourisers’ can contain Nitrates which may potentially cause a fatal interaction with Viagra. Many recreational drugs can cause dangerous interactions with Viagra, so please consult your doctor for more information.
  • Take a lower dose – By taking a lower dose than normal you may experience fewer side effects and still get the benefits of the treatment. Please consult your doctor (via your Patient Record or your local GP) if you are considering lowering your dosage.
  • Potentially take with food – It is generally recommended to take Viagra on an empty stomach, but to reduce side effects you can take it with food. However please bear in mind that this may also reduce the effectiveness as it delays absorption, so some trial and error may be required to find a balance that suits you.
  • Check the interaction of prescription medicines with Viagra – Due to Viagra’s effect on blood pressure and the cardiovascular system, certain medicines can react dangerously with Viagra. This includes alpha blockers, medicines for heart attacks or strokes, nitrate based medicines or medicines which treat liver or kidney failure.

Conclusion

Viagra is a reliable choice to treat erectile dysfunction, and while side effects may occur they are very unlikely for the vast majority of users. After extensive testing, Viagra has been established as safe for consumption, and millions of men feel that its benefits considerably outweigh the possible exposure to side effects. If you are at all in doubt about the side effects of Viagra, please consult your doctor immediately.

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