Viagra: It doesnt just improve your sex life – but what side effects should you look for?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the drug, available as a tablet or liquid form, should be taken anywhere from four hours to 30 minutes prior to sexual activity. Sildenafil should usually not be taken more than once every 24 hours, the NIH advises. So what can happen if you take Viagra daily?

One potential side benefit of Viagra is that it can protect against heart problems.

A study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that “men with stable coronary artery disease who are on viagra due to impotence seem to live longer and have a lower risk of experiencing a new heart attack.”

According to the research, potency problems are common in older men and now the study shows that inhibitors such as Viagra may protect against heart attack and prolong life.

However, “Viagra is indicated for erectile dysfunction and pulmonary artery hypertension,” said Doctor Darren Mareiniss, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Centre.

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The clinician explained that: “If you do not have one of these issues, you should not take [Viagra]”.

According to Mareiniss, the most common side effects of Viagra are flushing, headaches and indigestion.

The NIH also notes other side effects can include:

  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Difficulty
  • Falling asleep
  • Burning, or tingling in the arms
  • Sensitivity to light

What is more, the NIH warns that Viagra can cause severe side effects including:

  • Sudden decrease or loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Itching or burning during urination

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP immediately.

In rare cases, the daily use of Viagra can cause sudden severe loss of vision.

The NIH explains that: “Some patients experienced a sudden loss of some or all of their vision after they took sildenafil or other medications that are similar to sildenafil.

“The vision loss was permanent in some cases. It is not known if the vision loss was caused by the medication.”

Pre existing conditions are also a concern of GPs prescribing Viagra.

The NIH revealed that there have been reports of heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, bleeding in the brain or lungs, high blood pressure, and sudden death in men who took sildenafil for erectile dysfunction.

“Most, but not all, of these people had heart problems before taking sildenafil,” the NIH explain.

“It is not known whether these events were caused by sildenafil, sexual activity, heart disease, or a combination of these and other causes. You should talk to your doctor about the risks of taking sildenafil.”

As with any medication, make sure to read the fine print. You should not take Viagra if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction to sildenafil or any other medicines in the past
  • Are taking medicines called nitrates for chest pain
  • Have a serious heart or liver problem
  • Have recently had a stroke or a heart attack
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Have a rare inherited eye disease, such as retinitis pigmentosa

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