Viagra


Viagra
Also known as: Sildenafil citrate

Intro
You've probably heard countless penis jokes (and chances are, you've told a few yourself). But for men who have trouble getting or keeping an erection, a condition known as erectile dysfunction, or impotence, the penis can be no laughing matter.

Luckily, there is an FDA approved (and popular) oral medication available to treat this condition. Sildenafil citrate, better know by its brand name, Viagra, is a drug manufactured by Pfizer Labs that helps you get and maintain an erection when you're sexually aroused. As with all prescription drugs, consult your physician before trying Viagra.

What is it?
Getting an erection requires a series of biochemical reactions in your penis (your arteries dilate to allow more blood into your penis, while your veins constrict to keep blood from getting out). Viagra works by helping your arteries open wider to bring even more blood into your penis. Viagra only helps you get an erection if you're sexually stimulated; you won't get hard just by swallowing a pill.

Viagra is currently being tested for effectiveness in women with sexual dysfunction. There are many reports that it does improve sexual arousal in women, but these reports are anecdotal. Viagra must be tested on a large scale before definitive conclusions can be drawn.

How is it used?
When you're sexually excited, a dose of Viagra can help produce an erection in about 30 to 60 minutes. Your erection may last for up to four hours, depending on how large a dose you take and how quickly your body breaks down the drug. If you take Viagra after eating a meal that's high in fat, it may take longer for Viagra to start working.

Doses come in 25, 50 and 100 milligrams. You should consult your physician to determine which one is right for you.

What are the side effects?
The most common side effects of Viagra include headache, flushing of the face and stomachache. Less frequently, you may experience a temporary change in color vision (trouble distinguishing between blue and green, for example), your vision may blur or your eyes may become more sensitive to light.

In rare cases, Viagra may cause a condition known as priapism, in which in your erection doesn’t go down even after you’ve ejaculated. While this may sound like a dream come true, in fact, a prolonged erection for over six hours can permanently damage your penis -– call your doctor immediately if your erection lasts more than four (ouch!). Other reported side effects include irregular heart beat, stroke, heart attack and death.

As with all medications, if you develop strange or unusual symptoms, let your doctor know immediately.

Dangerous complication/interactions
A dangerous reaction can occur if you combine Viagra with drugs containing nitrates, which are often used in people with heart disease to improve blood flow through their blocked arteries. Common examples of nitrates include nitroglycerin (taken to relieve chest pain) and amyl nitrite (the club drug known as « poppers« ). Combining Viagra and nitrates can drop your blood pressure to dangerous levels, which may result in dizziness, heart attack, stroke and death. Sex requires your heart to work harder, so if you have heart problems, consult your doctor before taking Viagra. If you maintain an erection that lasts over four hours, see your doctor immediately; a prolonged erection can cause permanent damage to your penis.

When taking Viagra, consult your doctor before stopping or starting other medications. If you take antibiotics or protease inhibitors, talk to your doctor before taking Viagra — combining these drugs may enhance the side effects of Viagra, particularly headaches and flushing of the face, though studies are inconclusive. Patients who’ve taken protease inhibitors and Viagra have reportedly died from the drug interaction. Your doctor may recommend other treatments or a much lower dose of Viagra.

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About AlterHéros

Depuis 2002, AlterHéros répond à vos questions en ligne au sujet de la diversité sexuelle, de la pluralité des genres et de la santé sexuelle en général. Nous organisons aussi des activités pour les jeunes LGBTQIA2S+ de 14 à 30 ans et leurs allié.e.s.

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