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PathPathPathcloseGroup 8single-neutral-circleshopping-basket-1searchsend-email-2common-file-horizontal-imagetwitterlock-2cogNottingham ForestIcon / Health

Is Viagra safe?

23rd October 2019

There are potential side effects when using Viagra. Not everyone who takes this ED drug will experience these side effects. In general, Viagra is normally safe to use in moderation when prescribed by your doctor. We will discuss side effects more thoroughly below.

What is Viagra?

Viagra is the most commonly prescribed medication to treat erectile dysfunction. Its generic name is sildenafil. It works by relaxing the muscles in the penis, helping to cause an erection.

Viagra side effects

When taken as advised by a doctor, serious side effects are rare. Here we list the potential side effects of Viagra. After listing them, we will discuss how often men actually experience them. Not everyone who takes viagra will actually experience them. These potential Viagra side effects:

  • Priapism: erections that will not go away

    If you have an erection that lasts more than four hours, this can be a serious problem. Get medical help immediately. Without treatment, priapism can permanently damage your penis.

  • Sudden Vision Loss in One or Both Eyes

    Some men have a pre-existing condition called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) which can be exacerbated by taking Viagra. The symptom of this health problem is a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes. Seek medical help immediately if you experience loss of vision after taking Viagra

  • Sudden loss of, or decrease in, hearing (tinnitus)

    Some users of Viagra may get a ringing in their ears (also called tinnitus). Dizziness caused by inner-ear problems is another potential side effect. If you experience any of these, discontinue Viagra use and contact your doctor.

More side effects

  • headache
  • flushing
  • upset stomach
  • abnormal vision
  • changes in colour or vision (such as having a blue colour tinge) and blurred vision
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • back pain
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • rash

How often do Viagra side effects occur?

Above we list the potential side effects of Viagra use. You would probably like to know how often these side effects actually occur in men who use Viagra. There was a Viagra study found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information that examined 256 patients and found the following results.

  • 30.8% experienced flushing, or an increase of blood flow to the outer skin which causes a feeling of being too warm
  • 25.4% experienced headaches
  • 18.7% experienced nasal congestion
  • 10.5% experienced heartburn

Of the group of 256 patients, 31.6% experienced one or more side effects. All of the side effects were short-lived. None of the patients decided to discontinue the study because of experiencing side-effects. Side effects were more commonly associated with larger doses.

How often does priapism occur when taking Viagra?

One of the most serious (and rarer) side effects when taking Viagra is priapism (a painful erection that will not go away) because it can badly damage the penis. You may have heard the recent news that someone had to have their penis amputated after taking Viagra. How often does this happen? Keep in mind that this man intentionally took "too much" Viagra, and then did not report the problem to doctors until he started showing signs of gangrene. The reason for the amputation was to keep the gangrene from spreading to the rest of his body. If he had taken the proper dose, or sought medical help prior to gangrene setting in, he likely would not have to have an amputation.

It is important to keep in mind that viagra is taken by millions of people every year. Priapism has been described as "dozens of cases". The chances of developing priapism when taking viagra are very small.

How to treat priapism

You should seek medical help immediately if your erection lasts for more than 4 hours. The main types of priapism are ischemic (which occurs because blood is unable to leave the penis) and non-ischemic (caused by poorly regulated blood flow to the penis). You may be wondering whether applying ice will help priapism. Ice packs will reduce swelling and non-ischemic priapisms (not ischemic). If your erection has lasted for two hours, it is critical to seek medical help.

 

Alternatives to Viagra

Most people who have experienced side effects with Viagra continue to use this erectile dysfunction drug because the benefits outweigh the issues they experience. If the problems you experience when taking Viagra are an issue, you may be interested in Viagra alternatives. There are two other commonly prescribed ED drugs. One is Cialis and the other is Levitra.

Cialis

Cialis differs from Viagra in a few ways. First, it has a larger timeframe in which the drug remains effective. Viagra will be active within an hour (and remain active for 4-5 hours). Cialis, on the other hand, can remain active in your system between an hour and 36 hours. If you are experiencing side effects with Viagra that are unpleasant, consider asking your doctor if Cialis is right for you.

Levitra

Levitra has fewer reported side effects.

Two early studies suggest it's longer-lasting, has fewer side effects, and is safe for virtually everyone, including those with heart problems.

Ask your doctor about using Levitra if you are experiencing problems while taking Viagra. Something to consider is that Levitra costs more than Viagra, but it can be worth it if the side effects of Viagra are preventing you from enjoying the benefits of taking ED medication.