Viagra can interact with other drugs that you may be currently taking. You are advised to know the risks associated with likely drug interactions with Viagra. Not only drugs, there a few other items that do not go very well with Viagra. What are such items? A thorough knowledge of them helps while treating medical conditions like male impotence or erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition seen in about 16% of men aged between 20 and 70 years. Its incidence is known to increase as men age. Among very aged men, erectile dysfunction is more rampant; nearly 30% of men aged 70 to 75 years are reported to suffer from it.

Male impotence can be managed through multiple approaches. Common approaches include intake of drugs, vascular surgeries, implants (done through a surgery in your penile area), use of pumps, etc. Drugs administered to supply extra blood to penis – an important necessity to have an erection – are Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), Stendra (avanafil), Levitra (vardenafil), etc.

Viagra is the most popular drug taken to treat problems associated with erection related problems among men. It is the most sought-after medicine for erectile dysfunction (male impotence). The key function of this drug is to boost the flow of blood to your penis, and help you maintain an erection during a sexual performance. This medicine belongs to a family of drugs called Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibiting medications.

How does Viagra work?

Major functions of Viagra are (a) relaxing your muscles in the penile region (b) restoring normal flow of blood to your penis and (c) sustaining an erection of the penis all through a sexual intercourse. It is generally administered orally; its dosage levels are as advised by your treating physician.

As mentioned, Viagra is a phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibitor. PDE-5 controls the muscles of your vessels that carry blood. The main function of PDE-5 is to discourage your blood vessels from expanding. But, an enlarged blood vessel is a fundamental need to send extra blood to your penis. Viagra stops PDE-5 from doing its work; it is done by halting its further reactions, and thus make blood vessels to remain relaxed. When blood vessels in your penis rest at a relaxed mode, extra blood reaches the penis and helps you to have a proper erection.

The dosage prescribed to you is based on multiple factors. The most common influencers of dose are your age, sexual behavior, present medical condition, other disorders or ailments you may have – if any, and other drugs that you may be taking. It is recommended to share your medical history with the treating physician before starting a course of Viagra. Your doctor may advise you to take this drug on an empty tummy. The main reason is your body may be able to able to absorb this drug easily. Studies show that taking this drug along with food (a meal) significantly slows down its rate of absorption.

The common side effects of Viagra are nausea, vomiting, blurring of eyesight, rashes on skin, headache, symptoms resembling flu such as runny nose, chills, soreness of throat, etc. You are advised not to take Viagra if you already have a pain in chest, drop in your blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and internal bleeding.

Drugs that should not be taken with Viagra

Medicines taken for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension) do not go well with Viagra. Other medications that are to be avoided include calcium channel blockers, CYP3A4 inhibitors, antidepressants, nitrates (any drug containing nitrites or nitrates can cause adverse effects), beta-blockers and alpha blockers. When co-administered with nitrates, you may experience a steep drop in blood pressure. Such steep drops in pressure can often lead to passing out, dizziness or strokes.

The drug is also not co-administered with antibiotics belonging to the macrolide genre; these include erythromycin, clarithromycin, etc. and with inhibitors of HIV protease such as ritonavir. It is not advised to take Viagra along with inhibitors of hepatitis C protease – like rifampin. Viagra may react with antifungals – especially of the azole family. Drugs falling under the category are ketoconazole, itraconazole, etc.

Make sure that this drug cannot be taken along with any other medicines that are taken to treat male impotence or erectile dysfunction. It is unsafe to take Viagra along with other PDE5-inhibiting medicines. It may trigger the same effects as those experienced during an overdose of Viagra.

Also, if you are consuming antidepressants or other medicines to reduce blood pressure, it is again not safe to consume Viagra with them. It is equally unsafe to co-administer any form of nitric oxide. The most common nitric oxide drugs are nitroprusside, amyl nitrate, esters. Never take nitrate-based medicines for upto 25 hours from your last dose of Viagra.

A large number of medical studies substantiate Viagra as a safe drug. However, if you are experiencing a decrease in blood pressure or if you have recently had a stroke, this drug is not safe to consume in such instances. It is clinically not proven if people living with liver disorders can take Viagra. It is always recommended to consult your doctor if you have any such medical conditions.

You are also advised to share information about all other drugs that you are currently consuming. Always remember to include non-prescription medications, health supplements like minerals, vitamins, OTCs, etc. It is equally important to tell about drinks taken with caffeine, alcohol, smoking habits and also about intake of herbal medicines, if any. Have an open discussion if you are taking any restricted, banned or illegal drugs. It is recommended not to withhold any information as some of these drugs may react adversely with Viagra.

Things to avoid while taking Viagra

Viagra can cause dizziness and drowsiness. It is advised not to operate any heavy machinery soon after taking this drug. In general, you are advised to stay away from all activities that may need a high level of mental agility. Intake of Viagra may also blur your vision. With blurred eyesight, it may be dangerous to pursue activities such as driving or carrying heavy loads. You are also advised to limit or completely stop your intake of alcohol or cannabis. It is considered better to avoid undergoing a surgery or a dental procedure if you have taken a dose of Viagra. You are hence advised to tell your dentist or surgeon about your intake of Viagra well ahead of your surgery or a dental intervention.

Standard dosage levels of Viagra are 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg. Always remember that the maximum level of dosage must never exceed 100 mg. If you suspect that you have taken a possible overdose of Viagra, the likely side effects are fainting, increase in pulse rates, chest pain (resembling angina), vomiting or nausea. An overdose can also lead to a drop in blood pressure and you may end up having a stretched period of erection (which may stretch for upto four hours). In a few stray cases, even deaths have been observed. You may also be subject to heart disorders such as a cardiac attack or myocardial infarction if you have a medical history of such problems.

If the erection is not ceasing after a longer time (say, after 3 to 4 hours), it is not a good sign. This condition is known as priapism. It is an adverse side effect of Viagra. Acute impairment and damage can occur to your penile muscles if an erection exists for more than four hours. Damages many not stop with your penile muscles and tissues alone; in a few rare instances, vessels adjoining the penile region have been impaired. So, if you experience any of the above side effects or if you suffer from a tingling sensation in your neck, arms or jaw, seek for medical help immediately. You may also call the local poison control center for needful medical attention.

You must not take Viagra regularly, if you do not plan to have a sexual intercourse every day. The active ingredients in Viagra possess a short half-life; hence, the drug may be gotten rid of your body is less than 4 hours. This is also the reason why you are not advised to take Viagra well ahead of (say, 3 to 4 hours before) your sexual act.

Each time you are having an erection, extra blood rushes into your penile region. The additional supply of blood is needed for a stiff erection as well as a longstanding one. After a sexual intercourse, extra blood leaves the penis and it soon returns to its original size. Your cardiac muscles work faster and harder during each of your sexual performances. This is why sexual intercourses are not recommended for people suffering from cardiac health conditions. If you have such conditions, you are advised to take needful inputs from your physician prior to taking Viagra.

Viagra is considered as one of the safest most PDE5- inhibiting medications. Upon popping Viagra, it may take about 45 minutes for its effects to manifest. You are hence advised to take the blue pill only 45 minutes or so prior to your sexual activity. Viagra has the capabilities to make you retain an erection for upto 2 hours. Your system may completely flush all possible traces of the drug in less than 5 hours; this is mainly due to its impressively low half-life period. However, the most important thing to avoid is to take Viagra if you have any known hypersensitivities or allergies to it.

In sum, drugs taken for high blood pressure are not to be taken along with Viagra. Other drugs to be avoided are antidepressants, nitrates, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, CYP3A4 inhibitors, alpha blockers, etc. When Viagra is co-administered with nitrates a drop in blood pressure may ensue. Viagra is also not co-administered with antibiotics such as erythromycin, clarithromycin and with inhibitors of HIV protease such as ritonavir. It is not recommended to take Viagra with hepatitis C protease inhibiting drugs.

This drug can also interact with antifungals of the azole genre such as ketoconazole, etc. If you are experiencing a drop in your blood pressure or if you have recently had a heart attack, Viagra is not advised. It is highly recommended to consult your treating physician if you have any of these medical conditions.

Viagra can cause drowsiness, and hence do not operate machines or do activities needing mental agility. Intake of this drug may blur your eyesight, and so it is dangerous to drive while you are under this drug’s influence. Limit the intake of cannabis or alcohol. Avoid undergoing a dental procedure or a surgery. If you have taken an overdose, possible side-effects are passing out, increase in heartbeat, angina and nausea. You may call the local poison control center for quicker medical support. Viagra is not to be taken regularly; if you do not contemplate having a sexual intercourse every day. The ingredients have a short half-life; hence, your body may get rid of it in less than 4 to 5 hours. This is one reason why taking Viagra ahead say, 4 hours before your sexual act is seen to yield limited results.

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