Viagra Before And After

Starting treatment with Viagra can feel like a big step. To get an idea of what you’re getting into, it can help to look at what it’s like before and after starting treatment.

Find out what motivates people to make a change with Viagra and how it can work out after starting. Hopefully this can help you make a decision for yourself.

What’s it like for people before starting Viagra treatment?

Men who start Viagra treatment have similar physical experiences with their erections, which can include:

  • Trouble getting an erection during sex
  • Trouble keeping an erection during sex
  • Low libido (reduced sex drive)

How does erectile dysfunction (ED) affect men? – the long-term implications of ED mean it is a significant health problem which can have an impact on the sufferer’s quality of life. Factors which can be affected by ED include:

There are many men who experience the ‘before picture’ of treatment with medication likes Viagra:

  • ED affects 1 in 10 men worldwide
  • Men over 75 have a 77.5% chance of suffering from ED
  • Men aged 20-29 have a low chance of ED (6.5%)
  • Only 33% of men seek medical help for ED

What is it good to know before taking Viagra?

What is Viagra? – Viagra is one of the most famous prescription medicines in the world. It helps to treat the symptoms of ED with its active ingredient, sildenafil citrate. Viagra is the brand name for sildenafil and can only be used for the product manufactured by the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer. Therefore, Viagra and sildenafil are the same product and are just as effective as each other. 

There are several myths associated with Viagra:

  • Is Viagra the only treatment for ED? – no. Viagra is a PDE5-inhibitor, but there are several alternatives to Viagra available
  • Does Viagra give you a permanent erection? – no. When you first take Viagra, you may experience no results at all. You may find you need to take Viagra a few times before the drug will work. But you can only get an erection with Viagra if you are sexually aroused – without it, Viagra will have no effect
  • Does Viagra work straight away? – no. It usually takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour for Viagra to work
  • Does Viagra work better if I take more than one pill in one go? – no. You must only take 1 dose of Viagra in a 24-hour period. You should never take it in conjunction with any other ED medication either. If you experience no benefits, taking more pills will not make any difference, but it can have serious side effects

Other Viagra-related questions:

  • Should I eat before I take Viagra? – no. You should avoid heavy meals when you take Viagra as they can limit its effects. This is also true for alcohol
  • Do I need a prescription? – yes. At the moment you can only acquire Viagra with a prescription. However, Viagra Connect, available to buy online since Spring 2018, is a pharmacy medicine that doesn’t require a prescription
  • Can I take Viagra if I am on other medications? – for many medications, yes. If you are taking medications for other medical issues, it is normally safe to take Viagra. However, you should consult your GP first as there are some examples which aren’t safe. An example of this is nitrates, such as the ones used to treat angina or recreational drugs such as those found in poppers
  • Can I get Viagra online? – yes. You can get Viagra from our online service. You will need to complete a simple online questionnaire which will be reviewed by one of our doctors. They will decide whether you are suitable and if you are then the medication will be sent direct to your door. Only buy Viagra from reputable sources or visit your GP or pharmacist for advice

Advice for taking Viagra – you should take Viagra around an hour before you intend to have sex, but you can take it up to four hours before, so there’s no need to rush. You will need to be sexually aroused for it to work too. You should avoid eating a high-fat meal while taking Viagra.

What happens as you take Viagra?

Viagra has been taken by millions of men across the world since it was released in 1998, but little coverage is given about what happens when men take it. So, what does happen after you take the ‘little blue pill’?

  • 12 minutes after:
    • One study has shown that some men got an erection just 12 minutes after taking Viagra
    • It was unclear whether this was an effect of the medication
  • 27 minutes later:
    • This is the mean time for an erection to happen after taking Viagra
    • Doctors advise taking the pill an hour before you want to have sex, but, it may not take that long to work
  • 57 minutes later:
    • This is the time where Viagra reaches its maximum concentration in the blood
    • It’s currently where it’s effect peaks
    • Hence, why it is recommended you take it 1 hour before you need it
  • 4 hours later:
    • Viagra reaches its half-life
    • Half of the medication has gone from the bloodstream
    • Doesn’t mean it will stop working though
    • Shouldn’t be confused with the warning relating to having an erection which lasts longer than 4 hours-this refers to a continuous, uninterrupted erection
  • 10 hours later:
    • Viagra has been shown to still work 10 hours after taking it
    • Some men got an erection at the same rate as they did 1.5-2 hours after taking it
    • At this time many men can still get an erection, but the duration may be shorter
  • 24 hours later:
    • Almost all traces of sildenafil have left the bloodstream

What does Viagra do inside the body? – when Viagra enters the body, it works by causing the walls of blood vessels to relax, allowing blood to flow easily through them. It is the motion of relaxation which helps to cause an erection. The enzyme PDE5 reduces blood flow and is found in the spongy part of the penis which is also the area which fills with blood to cause an erection. Viagra works by binding to PDE5 and stopping it from working. Therefore, more blood can flow into the penis making it easier to get an erection.

What is it like for people starting Viagra?

Exact benefits can be hard to predict – studies have shown that after 4 weeks of taking sildenafil (Viagra), the symptoms of ED are improved. One study showed that as many as 98.4% of patients reported that their erectile function had seen improvements. A further study has shown that men taking the 100mg version of Viagra experienced a rapid improvement – fully rigid and hard erections. Further improvements are also seen with the use of Viagra such as self-esteem and relationships are also positively affected.

Some men can experience side effects – Viagra has achieved widespread recognition for the improvements it makes to the lives of men who have symptoms of ED. However, like with most medicines, there is the risk of common side effects, including:

In extreme cases, Viagra can cause a condition called priapism – painful erections lasting longer than 4 hours. This usually occurs when Viagra has been taken with illegal drugs or other medications. If this occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Do you always improve after starting Viagra?

No it doesn’t work perfectly for everyone – Viagra doesn’t always improve ED. In around 5% of men, Viagra works once or twice and then fails to case an erection after – known as a transient  unsustainable improvement. For around 12% of men who take the drug properly, it just fails to work while a further 12% of men can’t bring themselves to take the medication.

Why would Viagra not work? – there can be several reasons why Viagra doesn’t work, including:

What should you do if it doesn’t work? – if you aren’t finding any improvement using Viagra, you should visit your GP who can advise you on what to do next. It may be that you need to increase your dose, maybe from 50mg to 100mg. Or you could try another medication there are various treatments available for ED. You could also make improvements to your lifestyle such as:

Alwaal, A. et al (2014). Stem cell treatment of erectile dysfunction. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews.

Levine, S. B. (2003). Erectile dysfunction: why drug therapy isn’t always enough. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine; 70(3): 241-246.

McMurray, J. G. et al (2007). Long-term safety and effectiveness of sildenafil citrate in men with erectile dysfunction. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management; 3(6); 975-981.

Mulhall, J. P., Creanga, D. L. and Stecher, V. J. (2013). Improvement in erection hardness and intercourse success with first dose of sildenafil citrate 100mg. International Journal of General Medicine; 6: 849-854.

Tang, W. H. et al (2015). Effect of sildenafil on erectile dysfunction and improvement in the quality of sexual life in China: a multi-center study. Int J Clin Expe Med; 8(7): 11539-11543.

UK Health Centre. (2016). Statistics on erectile dysfunction. [online]. Available at: http://www.healthcentre.org.uk/pharmacy/erectile-dysfunction-statistics.html [accessed 15ht March 2018].

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