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Viagra is an erectile dysfunction medicine.

Viagra is an erectile dysfunction medicine.
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Viagra

3-minute read

What is Viagra?

Viagra is a medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED, also called impotence). It is sometimes known by its generic name, sildenafil.

It works by helping to relax the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis causing an erection. If you plan to use Viagra, you should take it an hour before planned sexual activity.

You can get an erection for up to 4 hours after taking the Viagra although the erection itself will only last for the normal period of time.

Viagra doesn’t cause erections on its own — sexual stimulation is still needed. It also does not cure ED, increase a man’s sexual desire, protect from sexually transmitted diseases or serve as a male form of birth control.

If you use Viagra, you should not take any more than 1 tablet in 24 hours and it should not be taken with other ED medicines.

Does Viagra have side effects?

The most common side effects of Viagra include:

If you are thinking about using Viagra, you should discuss it with your doctor first.

Very occasionally, Viagra can cause a painful erection or an erection that won’t go away. If this happens, and the erection lasts for more than 4 hours, you should go to the nearest emergency department. Prolonged erections can be dangerous.

Viagra may be unsafe for men with certain medical conditions, including men who have had a stroke, have heart disease or retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease).

It can also interact with many other medicines, particularly nitrates (used in the treatment of heart disease), amyl nitrite and blood pressure medicines. Men who use nitrates in any form or who are being treated for pulmonary hypertension should not take Viagra.

Buying Viagra

You need a prescription from a doctor to obtain Viagra. You can buy it from a store-based pharmacy or reputable online pharmacy with a prescription.

Some people buy Viagra online, often without a prescription. However, you cannot be sure whether these pills contain the drug or whether they are just fakes.

Viagra for women

Viagra is not for use by women. If you have heard about ‘female Viagra’, it is probably referring to a medication called flibanserin (also known by its brand name, Addyi). This medicine has been approved in the United States to treat premenopausal women who have low sexual desire.

Flibanserin is not approved in Australia, although it is possible to buy it online from overseas. This drug is dangerous for some women and can interact with other medications and supplements.

See healthdirect’s medicines section for more information about Viagra.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2020


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