Sildenafil – uses, dosage, warnings and side effects.
Sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in the well known branded medicine Viagra – we explain everything you need to know about taking sildenafil for erectile dysfunction.
What is sildenafil used for?
Sildenafil citrate is a treatment for erectile dysfunction, sometimes known as ED or impotence. Sildenafil helps men with ED to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
How does sildenafil work?
Sildenafil works by helping more blood get into your penis when you are sexually aroused.
An erection is produced via a complex chain of events, involving signals from the nervous system and the release of chemical messengers within the tissues of the penis. One of the messengers released when you are aroused is called cyclic GMP.
Cyclic GMP relaxes and widens the blood vessels in the penis, allowing more blood to enter. This causes the penis to get hard and erect.
Cyclic GMP is normally broken down by an enzyme in the body called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). Sildenafil is a type of medicine called a PDE5 inhibitor. It works by stopping this enzyme from breaking down the cyclic GMP. This allows the blood vessels in the penis to stay dilated for longer, which improves blood flow to the penis and helps produce and maintain an erection.
How long does sildenafil take to work and how long does it last?
Sildenafil will only work once the messengers responsible for producing an erection start to be produced. This means that you have to be sexually stimulated for sildenafil to produce and maintain an erection.
You should be able to get an erection 25 minutes to an hour after taking a sildenafil tablet, if you’re sexually stimulated, for example by engaging in foreplay. You should still be able to get an erection for up to five hours after taking a dose.
Can you buy sildenafil online?
These days it is possible to have an online consultation with a doctor, be issued with a prescription for sildenafil and have it dispensed and delivered by an online pharmacy. However, if you want to go down this route there are a few things you need to be aware of:
Make sure that the website you use for your consultation employs fully qualified, UK based doctors who are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). Make sure you are entirely honest in your responses to the questionnaire you need to fill out, so that the doctor can make a safe assessment based on your answers about your medical history. Remember that in reality there is no substitute for visiting your GP, having a full physical examination to establish the cause of your erectile dysfunction, and then being able to discuss your treatment options. When getting a prescription dispensed from an online pharmacy, make sure the site you use is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. Steer well clear of any websites you come across that offer to sell you sildenafil without a prescription. This is illegal and unsafe, because you may have conditions or be taking other medicines that would make it dangerous for you to take sildenafil. There is also no way of knowing what you are getting from these sites, since they are not regulated.
What brands of sildenafil are available?
Sildenafil is a generic medicine that is also available under the following brand names:
Revatio is another brand of sildenafil that is used for a completely different condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Last updated: 18.09.2017.
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