What Happens If I Take Too Much Viagra?

Viagra is probably one of the most famous medicines known globally in the pharmaceutical market – particularly in the last 30 years. It was the first oral treatment discovered and license for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men. Originally, Viagra was designed to help treat high blood pressure and angina however when the ‘adverse effects’ were discovered to help with erectile problems, it became an opportunity to market Viagra for this purpose instead. In the UK, Viagra can be obtained from the doctor on a prescription after having a consultation and discussing your needs. The doctor would assess your medical history and prescribe the most suitable strength that would work for you.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction in the UK is common, with approximately 1 in 5 men diagnosed with it. However, there are more men affected by erectile dysfunction but some are too embarrassed or ashamed to do something about it. Erectile dysfunction is otherwise known as impotence which means that a man cannot get an erection or sustain it long enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. There is a reduced blood supply going to the penis which can prevent erections from happening when there is sexual stimulation. Men experiencing continuous erectile dysfunction can develop depression and become stressed which can have an impact on their relationship. Some relationships have even broken down as a result and so it is important that men are encouraged to seek help and not feel embarrassed in doing so.
Young men can also be affected by erectile dysfunction; it is not a condition that only affects older men as once thought. Prescriptions for Viagra increased by 25% back in 2015 and in just one year 1.7 million Viagra prescriptions were handed out to men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Firstly, it is important to mention that having erectile problems from time to time is not uncommon and in most cases is not something to worry about. However, when it becomes persistent then you should speak to a doctor. Causes of erectile dysfunction tend to be known and are usually of physical and/or psychological nature.

Physical causes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Vascular disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Side effects of some medication such as beta blockers

Psychological causes:

Some lifestyle choices can also affect erectile function such as over-consumption of alcohol (especially if over a long period of time), high fat diet, smoking and even living in a stressful environment. Sometimes, making simple changes in your lifestyle such as stopping smoking and relaxing can have a positive effect on sexual performance.

Viagra Tablets

Viagra blocks the action of an enzyme which usually causes blood vessels to narrow. By blocking this enzyme, the blood vessels are widened which increases the blood being supplied to the penis, therefore, helping with getting and maintaining an erection. It is important to note that sexual arousal needs to take place – without it, there will be no erection even if you take a Viagra tablet.
Viagra is available in strengths of 25mg, 50mg and 100mg oral tablets and usually, only one tablet is to be taken in 24 hours, on an empty stomach and with a full glass of water. A maximum of one tablet in 24 hours should be taken since Viagra will last in the body for 24 hours. When taken, its effects will usually last up to 5 hours and most men notice the effects within 2 or 3 hours but there are factors that can affect how well it works. For example, taking Viagra with food (in particular a high-fat meal) can delay the absorption of the tablet in the body and this means that it will take longer to work.

Side effects of Viagra

There are side effects with Viagra, however, most of them are mild and tend to go away on their own. These include a bit of facial flushing and nasal congestion and many men experience a headache too. These side effects are well tolerated in general and can improve over time. Feeling lightheaded is not uncommon as it can drop your blood pressure but this will again improve over time.

Is it safe and what happens if I take too much Viagra?

Overall, Viagra is regarded to be a safe medicine to take as recommended by your doctor. It has been taken by many millions of men and no significant health risks have emerged as yet. If you take too much Viagra, you may develop several side effects but one particular side effect can happen (which is rare when taking Viagra at normal dosages) and it is called Priapism. Priapism is a medical emergency and it is where you get a persistent and painful erection that can last at least 4 hours. If this does happen, you should go straight to A and E or ring 999 to get h, lp as without immediate treatment, there may be permanent damage to the penis. Viagra if taken more than the prescribed dose can significantly lower your blood pressure. This can lead to heart problems such as irregular heartbeat or worse yet – a heart attack. So we can quite safely say here that in the case of Viagra, less is more!
There have been cases where men who have not been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction have taken Viagra for a planned party or anniversary. This is not recommended; especially if someone already has underlying heart problems. It is therefore essential that you only take Viagra if prescribed by your doctor and ensure that you take the recommended dose. If you feel that it is not working for you, discuss with your doctor who may then increase the strength or recommend an alternative treatment.
Apart from taking more than the prescribed dose of Viagra, another factor that can increase the risk of having too much Viagra in your body is eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice. Most healthcare providers recommend avoiding grapefruit products. Grapefruit may increase the blood levels of Viagra which increases the risk of side effects such as:

  • low blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • flushing

So drinking grapefruit juice while using Viagra is not a good idea and even a single glass of grapefruit can significantly increase the risk of side effects. Grapefruit may also delay the effects of Viagra which can lead to a disappointing sexual outcome and cause you to experience side effects even after 24 hours of taking Viagra. This could add to the stress and anxiety which may be the underlying cause of the sexual dysfunction.

Recommendations for taking Viagra and improving symptoms

  • Take dosage as prescribed and do not exceed it
  • Plan sexual activity within 5 hours after taking the tablet – ideally within half an hour of taking the tablet
  • Ensure there is enough sexual arousal to gain maximum benefit
  • Take Viagra on an empty stomach, avoiding high fat meals
  • Reduce alcohol intake over the long term
  • Stop smoking – ask your pharmacist for information on smoking cessation clinics
  • Avoid grapefruit/grapefruit juice when taking Viagra
  • Lose weight if needed (being overweight can be a cause for erectile dysfunction)
  • Find ways to relax and reduce stress levels
  • Change you medication if it has known side effects that cause erectile dysfunction

Finally, always ensure that you speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about anything regarding your treatment.

  1. Viagra and Grapefruit (Sildenafil) – Drugsdb.com http://www.drugsdb.com/rx/viagra/viagra-and-grapefruit
  2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (Effects of grapefruit juice on the pharmacokinetics of sildenafil)
  3. www.dailystar.co.uk
  4. BNF.org
  5. NHS.org.uk

Mens Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected] .

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