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Viagra: How To Take, Uses, and Side Effects

Viagra relaxes muscles found in the walls of blood vessels and increases blood flow to particular body areas. Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with Viagra. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines.  

What is Viagra?

Viagra is a medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED, also called impotence). It works by helping to relax the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis and causing an erection. If you plan to use Viagra, take it an hour before the planned sexual activity.

Viagra doesn’t cause erections alone — sexual stimulation is still needed. It also does not cure ED, increase a man’s sexual desire, protect from sexually transmitted diseases, or serve as a male form of birth control. If you use Viagra, you should not take more than 1 tablet in 24 hours, and it should not be taken with other ED medicines.

How To Take Viagra?

  • If you are taking Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, follow your doctor’s directions and guidelines. Take Viagra as needed before sexual activity. The best time to take sildenafil is about 1 hour before sexual activity, but you can take the medication from 4 hours to 30 minutes before sexual activity. Viagra usually should not be taken more than once every 24 hours. If you have certain health conditions or are taking certain medications, your doctor may tell you to take sildenafil less often. You can take Viagra with or without food. However, if you take Viagra with a high-fat meal, it will take longer for the medication to start to work.
  • If you are taking Viagra to treat PAH, follow your doctor’s directions and the guidelines in this paragraph. You will probably take sildenafil three times a day with or without food. Take sildenafil around the exact times daily, and space your doses about 4 to 6 hours apart.
  • Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Viagra exactly as directed. Please do not take more or less of it or more often than your doctor prescribes.
  • Suppose you are taking Viagra for erectile dysfunction. In that case, your doctor will probably start you on an average dose of sildenafil and increase or decrease your dose depending on your response to the medication. Tell your doctor if Viagra is not working well or if you are experiencing side effects.
  • If you are taking Viagra for PAH, you should know that Viagra controls PAH but does not cure it. Continue to take medicine even if you feel well. Please do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Uses of Viagra

Viagra treats male sexual function problems (impotence or erectile dysfunction-ED). In combination with sexual stimulation, sildenafil increases blood flow to the penis to help a man get and keep an erection. This drug does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, and syphilis). Practice “safe sex,” such as using latex condoms. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Treatments for erectile dysfunction are big business, and online scams abound. If you do buy medications over the internet:

  • Make sure you get the correct prescription and dose. When you order medications and receive them in the mail, make sure they’re the exact dose and type prescribed by your doctor.
  • Don’t be fooled into buying ‘herbal viagra.’ Never take medications that claim to be the “herbal” equivalent of an oral medication for erectile dysfunction. These aren’t practical alternatives, and some contain harmful substances.

Side Effects of Viagra

Most men who take oral erectile dysfunction medications aren’t bothered by side effects. When side effects do occur, they can include:

  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Visual changes, such as a blue tinge to vision, sensitivity to light, or blurred vision
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Back pain

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