Viagra Side Effects: From Mild to Severe

Sildenafil citrate is often distributed under the brand name of Viagra. This medicine is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) and pulmonary hypertension. It selectively inhibits cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) – specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). The drug is available in form of blue film-coated tablets of round or a diamond shape. The pills come in the doses of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg that should be consumed orally under the doctor's supervision.

The effect of Viagra Sildenafil

In case of erectile dysfunction, the medicine is highly recommended by the doctors. Taking this drug enhances the blood flow to the penis, which helps in maintaining an erection during the intercourse. The impact of the medication varies from one individual to another. Its effect can be seen within an hour after taking it. But it works only when a person is sexually stimulated. It can be taken 4 hours prior to a planned intercourse. It should be noted that in no way it provides a sexual stimulation.

Once the stimulation occurs, the nerves present in the erectile tissue of the penis release nitric oxide, which in turn stimulates another enzyme. This enzyme causes the production of a substance, known as cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Then the arteries in the penis dilate, because of the cGMP. Now, the erectile tissue is filled with blood causing an erection. The main function of the medicine is to prevent the cGMP from degrading in order to sustain an erection.

Cases when Viagra Sildenafil must be avoided

The drug is not a drug that can be taken by anyone. There are certain situations when it should be avoided, which are enumerated below:

  1. If a person takes medicines known as nitrates such as Nitroglycerine, which are usually prescribed for chest pain.
  2. People taking street drugs known as poppers such as Amyl Nitrate or Butyl Nitrate.
  3. Patients taking Adempas or Riociguat, which are guanylate cyclase stimulators meant for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
  4. If a person is allergic to Sildenafil or any other ingredients present in the medicine, he should not take it.
  5. People taking alpha-blockers which are prescribed for prostate problems or for the treatment of high blood pressure. Some examples are Hytrin, Minipress, Rapaflo, Flomax, Uroxatral, Cardura, Jalyn. The reason behind this is that when both medicines are taken, it can cause a serious drop in the blood pressure levels and can even result in fainting.
  6. Taking anti-HIV medications, which may include Invirase, Norvir, Reyataz, Crixivan, Fortovase.
  7. If oral antifungal medicines are taken like Ketoconazole and Sporanox.
  8. People taking certain antibiotics, such as Biaxin, Ketek, or Erythromycin.

Side effects of Viagra Sildenafil

Before taking any medicine, it is essential to know the side effects it can cause. The adverse effects of this medicine are as follows:

  1. Headache;
  2. Flushing;
  3. Stomach upset;
  4. Abnormality in color vision. This may include experiencing a blue tingle and blurriness;
  5. Stuffy or a runny nose;
  6. Back pain and muscle pain;
  7. Dizziness;
  8. The occurrence of rashes.

Some of the rare side effects are:

  1. Priapism. This is a condition causes an erection to lasts for a period of more than 4 hours. It can lead to permanent damage to the penis, so proper medical attention is needed.
  2. Sudden loss of vision may occur, leading to severe eye problem called as non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).
  3. Decrease in hearing capacity or experiencing ringing in the ears or dizziness.
  4. There are chances of occurrence of a heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat.

Safety precautions

Despite having benefits, it becomes necessary to exercise certain precautions to avoid any unforeseen circumstances while taking the medicine. Here are the precautions, which need to be taken:

  1. You should inform your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, such as the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, as well as herbal supplements. This is to avoid the interaction of any other medicine with Viagra. Also, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicine for the treatment of ED.
  2. If you feel like facing any adverse effect, you should immediately inform the doctor to avoid further complications.
  3. In case of chest pain, dizziness or nauseatic sensation after taking the medicine, the physician should be immediately contacted.
  4. The health care provider should be informed if the person has issues such as:
  5. Heart problems, including irregular heartbeat, chest pain, angina, heart attack or failure, narrowing of the aortic valve.
  6. The person has undergone a heart surgery in the last 6 months.
  7. Pulmonary hypertension.
  8. Stroke.
  9. Uncontrolled low or high blood pressure.
  10. Deformed penis shape.
  11. Blood problems, such as sickle cell anaemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia.
  12. A rare genetic eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa, or an eye disease called NAION.
  13. Bleeding problems.
  14. Past or present stomach ulcers.
  15. Liver disease.
  16. Kidney problems or dialysis.
  17. It is highly essential to know that Viagra doesn't provide protection against any sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. Also, the medicine is not meant for women or children.

The right dosage of Viagra Sildenafil

Depending on the problem for which the medicine is taken, i.e. erectile dysfunction or pulmonary arterial hypertension, the dosage varies.

In the case of ED, an individual can take a dosage of 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg, but only after consulting the doctor. A maximum of one pill should be taken in a 24-hour period, and it should be consumed between 30 minutes and 1 hour prior to sexual activity.

Possibility of an overdose

An overdose with Viagra can lead to serious consequences. So, it becomes essential to call a doctor or the local hospital in case a person had more than the recommended dose.

Following are the symptoms of an overdosage:

  1. Vomiting;
  2. Blurred and distorted vision;
  3. The optical nerve may start swelling, which is termed as papilledema;
  4. Optic neuropathy may occur, which is known as the damage to the optic nerve;
  5. Experiencing increased heart rate which is termed as tachycardia;
  6. Blindness;
  7. Diarrhea;
  8. The muscles may start breaking down what is termed as rhabdomyolysis.