What should I know before taking sildenafil (Viagra Connect, Viagra)?

Rita Ghelani (BPharm, MRPharmS)
Photo credit: izusek - Getty Images
Photo credit: izusek - Getty Images

From Netdoctor

Who should not take sildenafil?

Sildenafil is not suitable for all men. It should not be taken by the following:

  • Men who have conditions in which sexual activity is not advisable, for example severe heart disorders such as unstable angina or severe heart failure. If you have a heart condition your doctor will be able to advise if it's safe for you to take sildenafil and have sex.

  • Men who have recently had a heart attack or stroke.

  • Men with low blood pressure (hypotension) - lower than 90/50 mmHg.

  • Men taking the medicine riociguat, or any form of nitrate medication, such as glyceryl trinitrate or amyl nitrite ("poppers").

  • Men with severely decreased liver function.

  • Men with hereditary degeneration of the back of the eyeball (retina), such as retinitis pigmentosa.

  • Men who have ever experienced an eye condition called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). This condition causes a sudden, partial decrease or loss of vision in one or both eyes due to damage to the optic nerve. It can be temporary or permanent. Tell your doctor if you have ever experienced this.

  • Sildenafil is not licensed for women.

Who might need a lower sildenafil dose or extra monitoring?

  • Men over 65 years old.

  • Men with kidney or liver problems.

  • Men with a heart condition or risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

  • Men with any obstruction of blood flow out of the heart such as narrowing of the aorta (aortic stenosis).

  • Men with bleeding disorders such as haemophilia.

  • Men with an active peptic ulcer.

  • Men who have conditions in which there is an increased risk of getting a prolonged erection (priapism), for example sickle cell disease, bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma) or leukaemia.

  • Men with a physical abnormality of the penis, such as severe curvature, scarring or Peyronie's disease.

How long does sildenafil take to work and how long does it last?

Sildenafil will only work once the messengers responsible for producing an erection start to be produced. This means that you have to be sexually stimulated for sildenafil to produce and maintain an erection.

You should be able to get an erection 25 minutes to an hour after taking a sildenafil tablet, if you're sexually stimulated, for example by engaging in foreplay. You should still be able to get an erection for up to five hours after taking a dose.

Other key info to know about sildenafil

▪️ If you get chest pains after taking sildenafil you should see a doctor straight away. Do not use nitrates, such as glyceryl trinitrate spray or tablets to treat any chest pain. Do not take another dose until you have seen your doctor.

▪️ If your erection lasts longer than four hours, consult a doctor immediately. Treatment of this condition should not be delayed more than six hours, as this can cause damage to the erectile tissue in the penis and irreversible erectile dysfunction.

▪️ If you experience a sudden decrease or loss of vision after taking sildenafil you should contact your doctor immediately. Do not take another dose until you have seen your doctor.

Read more about sildenafil

Last updated: 19.08.2019

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