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Don’t Be Alarmed by Old Articles Claiming Viagra Causes ED

Emergency sign.

A rare side effect of Viagra and other ED medications, priapism constitutes a medical emergency.

The internet is a treasure trove of useful information. Unfortunately, to mine and use all that helpful information, you need to be able to distinguish the good stuff from from that which is outdated or demonstrably false. That’s sometimes easier said than done.

Take, for example, Viagra. Recognized today as a modern miracle drug that transformed the treatment of erectile dysfunction caused by insufficient blood flow to the penis — responsible for roughly 80 percent of all ED. However, as with many new drugs, its introduction brought out a fair amount of naysayers, some who claimed it would never work or said its adverse side effects far outweighed its benefits.

Some Articles Still Online

Among such articles, some of which can still be found online, were a handful that took a very real — but very rare — side effect of Viagra and magnified it in such a way as to potentially scare off men who might otherwise benefit from Viagra’s ability to treat ED. That side effect is an erection that lasts for four hours or more, a painful medical condition known as priapism. And priapism is also a very real medical emergency.

If not treated promptly, priapism can cause permanent damage to penile tissues and could conceivably make it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve erection in the future.

Although extremely rare when a man is taking Viagra at appropriate dose levels and according to label directions, priapism is seen most often in men who use Viagra recreationally or in combination with another type of ED drug.

It is this rare side effect of Viagra that some writers used as a basis for their articles claiming that instead of treating ED, the medication could in fact cause even more intractable impotence. As previously noted, some such articles are still accessible online, so don’t be frightened off should you run across one.

2 Types of Priapism

None of the foregoing should be interpreted as an attempt to minimize the dangers of priapism, which are very real as noted earlier. According to WebMD.com, this rare, but perilous, medical condition usually manifests in one of two forms:

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  • Ischemic (low-flow): Seen most often in men with leukemia, malaria, or sickle cell anemia, this form of priapism occurs when blood gets trapped in the spongy erectile tissue of the penis and fails to drain after orgasm.
  • Nonischemic (high-flow): Less common and also less painful than ischemic priapism, this form of the condition is usually the result of a ruptured artery, which can occur after traumatic injury to the penis or the perineum, the area between the scrotum and the anus. The resultant interruption of normal blood flow causes this type of priapism.

While it’s very unlikely that a Viagra user will ever suffer from priapism, it is important to recognize the seriousness of such an event and to seek immediate medical attention should it occur.

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About Don Amerman

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Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+