Sexual Health

What Are the Risks of Taking Viagra?

Talor Bianchini06 Oct 2021

Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra or Revatio, is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. There are several risks of taking Viagra, especially if you are already taking other medications. Some potential side effects include vision loss, upset stomach, and heart problems. 

Viagra is a prescribed medication and, therefore, can get expensive. If you are looking to save on your prescriptions, MiraRx has you covered. For as little as $45 per month, you can get up to 80% off on your Viagra medication and other prescriptions. Start saving now and sign up for Mira today. 

Risks of Taking Viagra 

Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction and works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of your blood vessels, therefore increasing blood flow throughout the body. In general, Viagra is a pretty well-tolerated drug; however, there are several potential risks of taking Viagra, especially when paired with other medications. You should consult your doctor before trying out Viagra to avoid experiencing any adverse side effects. 

Dr. David Beatty provided insight for this article. Dr. Beatty has been a general practitioner for over 30 years in Essex, England. He explained that there are many potential side effects of Viagra, and it's impossible to list out each one. 

Some notable side effects that people have experienced from taking Viagra include:

  • Heart concerns
  • Vision loss
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Upset stomach
  • Lasting erections

Below we explain what you need to know about the common side effects of taking Viagra. 

Heart Concerns

Sexual activity has been good for heart health. Still, if you have severe cardiovascular problems, Viagra may not be safe for you if you have severe cardiovascular problems Because Viagra (and other erectile dysfunction medications) are vasodilators, they can cause blood pressure to decrease temporarily. 

In men with heart conditions, like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or high cholesterol, this could be very dangerous and even life-threatening. The FDA warns against Viagra use for men who have experienced a heart attack or stroke in the past. 

Dr. Beatty also cautions against the use of Viagra with blood pressure-lowering medications, and taking Viagra may compound their effects which could lead to dizziness and possibly fainting.

Vision Loss 

Studies have shown that at high doses, Viagra can impair vision. The medication has been found to affect an enzyme in the retinas, which can cause permanent vision damage; this was shown in 17 men who took the highest dosage of Viagra and reported red-tinted vision and sensitivity to the light. Some men also had abnormally dilated pupils that led to blurry vision. Although effects of the drug typically only last 5 hours, the vision loss continued for 24 to 48 hours after taking Viagra. 

Get Mira - Healthcare you can afford.

Get doctor visits, lab tests, prescription, and more. Affordable copays. Available 35+ states.

Upset Stomach

Indigestion and other stomach problems are among the most highly reported side effects of taking erectile dysfunction medication. Some men may even experience severe effects like vomiting, but this only occurs in less than 2% of patients. 

Unfortunately, the mechanism by which Viagra can cause an upset stomach is unknown. To try and avoid this side effect, men should not take Viagra more than once per day and should attempt to eat something beforehand. If stomach issues persist, call your doctor. 

Lasting Erection

Priapism is a prolonged penile erection that is typically painful. It occurs hours after sexual intercourse or may not be caused by sexual interaction. This reaction happens because blood gets trapped inside the penis and is unable to drain. While it is very uncommon, men with sickle-cell anemia are more prone to experiencing priapism, as about 42% of all men with sickle-cell anemia will eventually develop priapism. 

Dr. Beatty notes that multiple myeloma and leukemia can also lead to priapism. It is rare for men to develop this from Viagra, but the chances increase if they have one of the previously mentioned conditions. 

Procedures like intracavernous injections (the injection of drugs into the penis) and surgical stunts are typically used to treat low-flow priapism. Potential treatments for high-flow priapism include tying off the artery causing the priapism, draining the blood from the penis, and even using ice packs to reduce swelling. 

Low-Flow vs. High-Flow Priapism

 

Low-Flow

High-Flow

Duration of erection

More than 4 hours

More than 4 hours

Cause

Blood is trapped in the penis, no oxygen flow

Blood flow not working properly, but there is some oxygen flow

Pain level

Progressively worsens

Not typically painful

Symptoms

Rigid shaft but tip of penis is soft

Erect but not fully rigid shaft

If you believe you have either low-flow or high-flow priapism, you should consult your health care provider for medical guidance. 

Viagra Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Before starting a new medication like Viagra, you may have some questions and concerns. Below are the answers to common Viagra questions. 

Is it safe to take Viagra every night?

Technically, yes, you can take Viagra every night. You should first consult your doctor to determine what is necessary and safe given your medical background. If you have underlying conditions, it may not be safe for you to consume this medication daily. Viagra is not safe to take more than once a day. 

Healthcare for 80% less

Get affordable copays. Plans start at $25/month.

How long do the side effects of Viagra last?

The effects of Viagra can last for up to four hours if one takes the maximum dosage. On average, the Viagra level in the blood will peak at around 60 minutes after taking it, and the effects will be the strongest. If you experience an erection past the four-hour mark, you should call your doctor as you may be experiencing priapism. 

Where can I buy Viagra?

To purchase Viagra, you need a prescription from your doctor. You can then fill it at your local pharmacy. Several websites sell Viagra online, but they may be counterfeit pills. Viagra is Pfizer's (the drug manufacturer of Viagra) most counterfeited pill

Ensure you are getting this medication from a verified seller before purchasing, as there could be potentially harmful side effects from taking a counterfeit pill. You can safely purchase Viagra on viagra.com, which Pfizer and CVS created. Viagra is typically $150-205 without insurance. 

If you do not have insurance, Mira can help you access discounts on Viagra medication from your pharmacy. 

Can women take Viagra?

The FDA has not approved the use of Viagra for women. Viagra has not provided the same results for treating female sexual disorders. There are only a few recorded studies using Viagra and other vasodilators to improve female sexual dysfunction, but there have been varying results. While some doctors have prescribed off-label Viagra to women, It is recommended that women do not take Viagra, since overall, the effects are unknown, and it is not approved by the FDA. 

How much Viagra should I take?

The recommended Viagra dose for most patients is 50 mg. The pill is also available in 25 mg, and 100 mg tablets depending on one'sPfizer'sPfizer's tolerance to the medication and recommended dosage. Regardless of your dosing, Viagra should only be taken once a day. To see the best results from the drug, men should take it one hour prior to engaging in sexual intercourse. Eating a highly fatty meal may prevent Viagra from working to its full potential. 

Are there any alternatives to Viagra?

There are other drug alternatives to taking Viagra. Other erectile dysfunction medications include Caverject, Caverject Impulse, Cialis, Edex, Levitra, Muse, Staxyn, and Stendra. Some doctors may also recommend testosterone therapy if you have extremely low levels of testosterone. Although there are many over-the-counter products available for treating erectile dysfunction, none of them have been approved by the FDA for safety or effectiveness.  

Bottom Line

Viagra is a commonly used medication to treat erectile dysfunction in men. When used at high doses or combined with other medications, some people may experience vision loss, heart problems, and even lasting erections. 

If you have underlying heart conditions like high blood pressure or atherosclerosis, you should speak to your doctor before taking Viagra, as it may not be safe for you. If you have recently experienced a heart attack, stroke, or other adverse health events, you should avoid erectile dysfunction medications.