Frequently Asked Questions About VIAGRA (Sildenafil)

Frequently Asked Questions About VIAGRA (Sildenafil)

Q: What is Viagra?

A: Viagra is a drug taken by mouth to restore erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction. It is the first of its kind. It acts selectively on the penis. It is not a hormone or an aphrodisiac.

Q: Is this drug safe?

A: YES, this medication is safe. Viagra has been tested on over 4,500 men over the past three years. The incidence of its adverse side effects causing patients to drop out of the study was equal in patients taking placebo, being 2.5%.

Q: How does this pill work?

A: Viagra works by increasing muscle relaxation in the penis. When an erection occurs, the muscles in the penis and in the arteries should be relaxed. Viagra maximizes relaxation by increasing erection efficiency. It's like stretching a rubber balloon before blowing it up to make it easier to inflate. The enzyme the pill specifically works for is phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) which is almost exclusively in the penis.

Q: Does the drug cause all the muscles in the body to relax?

A: NO. The enzyme (PDE-5) is specific to the penis. Viagra is very specific for the enzyme in the penis. Minimal cross-reaction is responsible for side effects.

Q: What are the side effects?

A: – Mild headache 16% – Hot flushes 11% – Indigestion 7% – Runny nose 7% – Temporary visual disturbances 3%

Q: Will Viagra affect my visual acuity (blurred vision)?

Q: Will Viagra affect my night vision while driving?

A: NO. It has been tested.

Q: Are there any serious side effects?

A: NO. The incidence of serious cardiovascular side effects in more than 4500 men was equal in the placebo group and in the treatment group, less than 2%. There were no deaths during the studies.

Important Note: Patients who take or need nitroglycerin or nitrates for heart disease cannot use this medication. A number of heart attacks, some resulting in death, have been reported since the advent of Viagra. These appear to be due to rough sex or the use of nitroglycerin with Viagra against doctor's orders. Patients with significant heart disease, whether or not requiring the use of nitroglycerin, should be advised of the risk of heart attack.

Q: Does this drug cause an erection that will not go down (priapism)?

A: NO. There were NO episodes of priapism in the studies. Viagra does not cause an erection without sexual stimulation. It's not like penile injections or intraurethral therapy. Its mechanism of action is completely different.

Q: When using the injections, sometimes my erection will last after I have had an orgasm. Will this happen with Viagra?

A: NO. This is one of the outstanding features of the pill. It's natural. If there is no sexual stimulation, the erection goes away naturally.

Q: Can I use this with my injections or MUSE if they are not working well?

A: NO. The use of Viagra with other forms of therapy (injections, muse, pump) has not been tested and should be avoided.

Q: Are there any contraindications?

A: YES. The only contraindication is the use of nitrates (sublingual nitroglycerin, long-acting nitrates, nitrate pastes). Several patients have passed out while using nitrates and Viagra, due to a drop in blood pressure. No patient had serious consequences after fainting. If you are unsure if you are on these medications, consult your doctor or cardiologist before considering this medication.

Q: What about interactions with other medications?

A: There have been no interactions with other medications, including diabetic medications, blood thinners, antacids, aspirin, or alcohol. Cimetidine and erythromycin increased blood levels, but without any complications.

Q: Is there a minimum or maximum age?

A: It has been tested and proven safe for men up to 85 years old. Viagra has not been tested in men under the age of 18. It is not recommended for this age group.

Q: How should I take it?

A: The pill should be taken 1-2 hours before sex. Peak occurs in less than 60 minutes.

Q: Will I get a spontaneous erection in 60 minutes?

A: NO. Again, the beauty of this pill is that it only works with natural stimulation. No stimulation means no erection.

Q: What happens if I don't use it within an hour?

A: The beneficial effect can be seen up to 8 hours after taking the pill. Most of the effectiveness is within the first 4 hours. You won't get an erection if you aren't stimulated.

Q: How often can I use it?

A: Recommended usage is once a day.

Q: What dose should I use? Are there multiple doses?

A: Viagra is available in 25mg, 50mg and 100mg pills. You should use the smallest dose that works. The higher the dose, the greater the side effects will be. I recommend starting with the 50mg dose. You can always increase or decrease your dose depending on your reaction. 100 mg is the maximum dose per day.

Q: Can I overdose on this medication?

A: The higher the dose in the trials, the more problematic the side effects. In some Canadian trials, a 200 mg dose was used with no improvement in effectiveness and with more side effects. Viagra was administered in doses 8 times higher than the recommended dose without serious problems.

Q: Will the medication affect my orgasm?

A: NO. As the pill is stimulation dependent, orgasms are unaffected.

Q: Should I be worried if I'm trying to conceive?

A: There is no absolute answer to this question and caution should be exercised. There were several pregnancies during the trials and they were not problematic. This specific issue was not investigated in the trials. Viagra has not been proven to have an effect on sperm motility, fertility or increased birth defects in animals.

Q: Can this cause cancer?

A: NO. Extensive animal testing revealed no potential signs of cancer in the animals.

Q: Will this pill increase my libido (sex drive) or my aggression?

A: NO. Viagra has no effect on libido. Extensive psychological testing revealed no increase in aggressive behavior or desire.

Q: At what percentage is Viagra effective?

A: The effectiveness of the drug depends on the cause of the problem. If there is a severe lack of blood flow, the drug probably won't work. Overall, looking at studies, the pill works for 70% of patients. Men with diabetes and men who have prostate problems or who have had bladder surgery have a lower success rate.

Q: What if it doesn't work?

A: Viagra requires sexual arousal to work. You may be too tired or not excited enough. If it does not work repeatedly, you should make an appointment to discuss alternative treatments.

Q: Will this be reimbursed by my insurance company?

A: Many insurance companies reimburse erectile dysfunction treatment. However, many do not. Check with your plan administrator.

Q: What is the cost of Viagra?

A: Every pharmacy is different and shopping around could save you money. Pharmacies charge between $7.50 and $11 per pill. The price of the pill is independent of its dose. The tablets are unscored and not intended to be divided. If you are using two 50mg tablets, you can cut costs by 50% by using the 100mg tablets.

Q: Can Viagra be used in women?

A: The FDA has not approved Viagra for women. Its safety and effectiveness have not been established in any group other than men over 18 years of age.

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