1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Viagra

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

By

Updated April 07, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Updated April 07, 2014

Viagra (sildenafil) was approved by the Food and Drug administration (FDA) in 1998 and was the first drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Nine tablets are dispensed every second worldwide and Pfizer, the manufacturer of the drug, says that Viagra has helped millions of men improve their sex lives.

Erectile dysfunction is a problem that affects most men at some point in their lives. Viagra is a drug for those whose problem is not resolving in the short term and who have been advised by their doctor that it is a safe drug for them to try.

How Viagra Works

Originally studied for use in people with high blood pressure and cardiac problems, Viagra works by increasing the blood flow to the penis for four to six hours, and during this interval, it usually becomes much easier to achieve a satisfactory erection with sexual stimulation. It only works if the man is sexually stimulated, so it will not cause an erection by just taking the pill.

Cost of Viagra

Viagra costs about $5 per pill, but market forces and source can vary the price considerably.

How to Take Viagra

The medication is taken orally in pill form. It will usually start working within 30 minutes to an hour. Only take one Viagra tablet in 24 hours.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Viagra are headache, facial flushing, dizziness, visual problems (such as blurred vision, bluish vision and sensitivity to light), nasal congestion, and an upset stomach.

Potential Dangers of Viagra

Do not take Viagra if you use nitrate drugs. These types of drugs -- used to treat cardiac problems, such as angina -- can cause your blood pressure to drop to unsafe, sometimes life-threatening levels if used in combination with Viagra.

People with cardiac problems, anatomical malformations of the penis, such as Peyronie's disease, men with a predisposition to prolonged erections caused by sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, leukemia, liver problems (especially severe liver disorders), kidney problems and people taking certain medications used for HIV or those over 65 should not take Viagra unless prescribed by a medical practitioner. Deaths have occurred during sexual activity in men using the drug.

Medically reviewed on 1/12/2012

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.