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Viagra

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What is Viagra?

Viagra is a prescription-only drug used to treat erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence). It is actually the brand name of a medicine called sildenafil citrate and is used to help men gain and maintain an erection sufficient for penetrative sex.

How does Viagra work?

Viagra works by increasing the flow of blood to the penis when a man experiences sexual arousal, thus helping to achieve and maintain an erection. Alternatives to Viagra include Cialis, Levitra, Spedra and Sildenafil which all work in a similar way.

When a man is sexually aroused, his brain sends signals to the muscle cells in his penis to relax. This increases the flow of blood to the penis which produces an erection. Erectile dysfunction occurs when this process is disrupted.

Viagra temporarily ensures that the process works normally. It causes the muscle cells in a man’s penis to relax which increases the blood flow, thus increasing the likelihood of getting an erection. However, Viagra is not an aphrodisiac and still requires sexual arousal to work.

How do I take Viagra?

  • Viagra should be taken an hour before sex on an empty stomach (consuming a meal with a high fat content will make Viagra act slower)
  • The effects of Viagra last from four to five hours, and you should not take it unless you intend to have sex.
  • You should not drink more than one or two units of alcohol as this will make Viagra less effective and increase the risk of side effects.
  • You should never take more than one Viagra tablet at a time without consulting your doctor.
  • Viagra should not be taken within 24 hours of taking Sildenafil, Cialis, Spedra or Levitra.

How long does Viagra last?

The effects of Viagra can last between four and five hours. This does not mean that your erection will last that long – simply that you will have the ability to attain an improved erection for that period of time.

Tablet sizes include 25mg, 50mg and 100mg. You should not increase the dose without first consulting your doctor.

How long does Viagra take to work?

On average, Viagra becomes effective in just under an hour when you take a tablet on an empty stomach. If you take Viagra with more than two units of alcohol or after a meal that has high fat content, it may take longer than an hour to work.

How effective is Viagra?

Viagra has been shown to be effective in 75% of men with erectile dysfunction. How a particular man responds to Viagra very much depends upon the underlying cause of his erectile dysfunction, the severity of any underlying cause and the degree of sexual stimulation he experiences.

If Viagra does not improve your erection the first time you take it, do not give up. The reason for this may be due to any number of factors, and not necessarily that Viagra is an ineffective treatment option. In most circumstances, it is advised that you do not try an alternative treatment or higher dose until you have tried Viagra at least eight times.

Are there any side effects?

If you have any worries about the side effects of Viagra, please consult our guide on Viagra side effects, contact one of our doctors via your Patient Record, or talk to your GP.

What if I am taking other medicines?

If you think that you might need to take Viagra, it is important that you tell us about any other medicines you are taking.

Medicines to avoid:

  • Nitrates: You should not take Viagra if you are taking nitrates. These are present in some medicines to treat certain health conditions, particularly ones within the cardiovascular system.
  • Recreational drugs: A number of recreational drugs also contain nitrates, such as ‘Poppers’, ‘Aromas’ and ‘Room Odourisers’. Not only will the nitrates mix badly with Viagra, but the other substances in them might not react well with the body either.
  • Alpha-blockers: if you are taking alpha-blockers for hypertension, make sure there’s at least a six hour gap between taking them and taking Viagra.

If you start taking any new medicines then please seek guidance from our doctors by sending a message via your Patient Record.

Does Viagra treat the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction?

Viagra will not be able to treat the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction, and sometimes it can be a sign of more serious health problems. As such, you should have regular check-ups for heart and hormone problems as erectile dysfunction can be one of the early symptoms of these conditions.

It is important to arrange an annual:

  • blood pressure test
  • blood sugar test for diabetes
  • blood lipid test for raised cholesterol
  • blood test to measure your testosterone, thyroid and prolactin levels

Free blood sugar and blood pressure tests can be carried out at the majority of LloydsPharmacy stores, while a cholesterol test might require a small fee. To locate your nearest LloydsPharmacy and find out which services it offers, you can use the 'Store Locator' on the LloydsPharmacy website.

The History of Viagra

First developed by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Viagra was nearly tossed into the history pages of failed medicines. It was originally designed in 1989 to help men with high blood pressure (hypertension) and angina, and was patented Viagra by Dr Nicholas Terrett in 1991. Studies of Viagra up until 1992 found it to be ineffective in fighting cardiovascular diseases. What Pfizer did find, however, was that one of its side effects was correcting erectile dysfunction, and in 1994 Pfizer started advertising Viagra as an erectile dysfunction treatment.

After 21 successful trials were held worldwide with more than 3700 patients aged 19-87, Viagra was shown to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction. So effective, in fact, that the FDA approved it just six months after an application was submitted in 1998. From 1999-2001, annual sales reached more than £600 million. While it remains a prescription-only medicine, Viagra has seen some advertising on US television, and has been openly endorsed by sports personalities and politicians alike, including footballing legend Pelé.

Can I buy Viagra online?

Yes, you can buy Viagra online from our team of NHS accredited doctors here at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. Our GPs are based in London and all our medicines are licensed by the UK government’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

In addition to professional, safe and expert care, we are also firm believers in transparency at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. Therefore, every prescription we provide will be accompanied by a confidential message in your Patient Record, with the name and General Medical Council (GMC) registration number of your doctor.