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Can Viagra Be Harmful to Your Health?

Person holding a pile of pills in their cupped hands.

Recreational use of Viagra or any other oral erectile dysfunction medication can lead to serious health consequences.

Multiple rounds of clinical testing have demonstrated that Viagra is both effective and safe when taken by impotent men who are otherwise healthy and able to participate in sexual activity. These observations, of course, assume that the medication is being taken according to label directions and doctor’s orders.

However, trouble can arise when Viagra or its generic equivalent, sildenafil citrate, are used recreationally or taken in combination with other drugs known to trigger adverse interactions. Taking the drug more than once in a 24-hour period can also lead to possible health problems.

Interactions with Other Drugs

Mild to serious health consequences can follow the use of Viagra concurrently with certain other medications known to interact adversely with the little blue pill. Perhaps the most extreme adverse reaction is with nitrate-based drugs, such as nitroglycerin, that are widely used to ease the pain and discomfort of angina and also to reduce blood pressure in patients who don’t respond to normal antihypertensive medications.

Both nitrates and the PDE5 inhibitors, including Viagra and its generic equivalent, reduce blood pressure. When taken together, they can lead to a potentially life-threatening drop in blood pressure. It should be noted that such dangerous interactions can also happen when Viagra is used recreationally in combination with “poppers,” which are also nitrate-based.

Other Adverse Interactions

For men who are taking potent CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as the antifungals ketoconazole, itraconazole, or saquinavir or the antibiotic medication erythromycin, doctors may need to lower Viagra dosages to prevent interaction. Men taking the antiretroviral medication ritonavir should not take more than 25 milligrams of Viagra in a 48-hour period, according to DrugWatch.com.

Viagra is designed to enable otherwise impotent men to temporarily regain erectile function so that they can engage in sexual activity. It should never be taken by men for whom it has not been prescribed by a medical professional. In an interview with EverydayHealth.com, Michael Eisenberg, M.D., of California’s Stanford Health Care notes that “there are certainly plenty of examples of men trying to get their hands on Viagra when they don’t necessarily have ED.”

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Reasons for Recreational Use

In many such cases, says Eisenberg, Viagra is taken to prolong sexual endurance or otherwise improve a man’s sexual performance. But if the drug is being used without a doctor’s prescription and possibly at higher doses than recommended, it can lead to serious health problems.

All too often, recreational use of Viagra or other oral ED drugs occurs in combination with heavy use of alcohol and street drugs, which heightens the likelihood of unwanted health consequences.

Although it should go without saying, Viagra should never be used by men who’ve been advised by their doctors to refrain from sexual activity.

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As noted earlier, Viagra, when used as directed, helps to facilitate erectile function in men whose vascular health is compromised. To purchase the drug you’ll need a prescription, which can be filled at your neighborhood pharmacy or used to order the medication online from a reliable online facilitator such as AccessRx.com. To learn more about all its services — and a couple of free extras — pay a visit to AccessRx’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

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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+