What Is Sildenafil Used for and How to Take?
Sildenafil is considered a safe drug and has been studied extensively for use in men, with inconclusive results in tests on women.
What Is Sildenafil Used For?
Sildenafil (sildenafil citrate) is a drug, sold under popular name brands like Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It also has uses for treating pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs, and has been shown to increase an adult’s ability to exercise with this condition.
The drug is part of a class of medications called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. These drugs relax blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the affected regions. In PAH patients, the drug relaxes blood vessels in the lungs, increasing blood flow and easing shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. In patients with erectile dysfunction (ED), the drug increases blood flow to the penis, which can cause an erection. There has been no conclusive evidence of a positive result in women taking sildenafil, and it is not currently indicated for use in treating female sexual dysfunction.
Sildenafil is considered a safe drug and has been studied extensively for use in men, with inconclusive results in tests on women. The side effects reported by users include:
- warmth, redness or flushing;
- blurred vision;
- nausea or upset stomach;
- muscle pain.
Most people who reported Sildenafil side effects said that they were mild, and most did not report side effects serious enough to cause them to stop taking the drug. However, as with all drugs, if you experience a serious side effect, call your medical provider immediately to report the use of the drug and any other drugs you’ve taken.
Recreational Use of Sildenafil Pills
Sildenafil has become a popular recreational drug, as users believe that the drug increases libido, boosts sexual performance or increases penis size. Sildenafil has also increased in popularity with users who take other drugs, especially to counteract the negative effects and erectile problems associated with them.
Since the drug was first announced for the market, recreational use has exploded among young men who are seeking to take advantage of the drug’s effects without suffering from sexual dysfunction. Those users can be confident that the drug has few side effects, and has not been shown to cause any long-term problems, even with daily use.
According to a general consensus of urologists, long-term use of sildenafil, either to treat ED or for recreational use, does not affect a man’s sexual function, affect hormone levels, or increase the risk of erectile dysfunction later in life. That said, there have been studies that have shown a psychological addiction to the drug.
Can I Use Sildenafil Without ED?
While there have been limited studies on the effects of recreational use of the drug, most show that there are few effects. One study did note that recreational use of Sildenafil may increase the post-orgasm refractory time, increasing the amount of time between orgasms in men.
Like all drugs, sildenafil has side effects and should not be taken in combination with certain other drugs, like nitrates for chest pain. People with the following should speak to a doctor before using sildenafil to avoid potential drug interactions or increased risk for cardiovascular problems:
- coronary heart disease;
- congestive heart failure;
- low blood pressure;
- exercise intolerance.
Recreational users may benefit from using lower doses of the drug to start, until they determine how their bodies will react to the drug, which can decrease blood pressure.
How to Take Sildenafil?
For patients taking sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, doctor’s indications may vary by case. For most, this will typically involve taking the drug about one hour before sexual activity, but may be taken between four hours and 30 minutes before sexual activity with positive results. Patients with ED are typically advised not to take the drug more than once in a 24-hour period. A liquid jelly pill can be consumed directly, or its contents can be mixed with juice or another beverage as little as 15 minutes before sexual activity to achieve results.
The drug comes in two forms – a tablet form, which can take up to an hour to become effective, and a liquid jelly pill form, which can take effect in as little as 15 minutes. For maximum results, avoid taking the drug with fatty meals, as this will take longer for the drug to take effect.
How Much Do I Need to Take?
The minimum dosage for sildenafil is 20 mg. With this dosage, users without ED should begin to experience results. However, the most commonly prescribed dose for patients with ED is 50 mg. 100 mg may be taken by patients who aren’t experiencing results at lower doses. Even the maximum recommended daily dosage has not shown any long-term negative effects and still offers few risks of side effects.
Taking more than 100 mg per day is generally not advised, and you should talk to your doctor if you’re taking any drugs that may interact with sildenafil.
Daily Dosage – Is It Safe?
If sildenafil is taken with due diligence for safety precautions, this drug is safe for daily use. Taking more than one pill a day can cause side effects, which can take up to two days to resolve themselves. Thankfully, sildenafil is a safe drug, and it does not have an accumulated effect, meaning that the drug will not accumulate in the body’s tissues. While daily usage is generally safe, you should only take sildenafil on the days when you anticipate having sex, as it won’t improve erections by taking it daily.
For healthy people, up to 100 mg of Viagra can be taken daily without significant side effects, but taking the minimum effective dosage is recommended to minimize the onset of headaches and other potential side effects which, while mild, can take one to two days to resolve themselves.
People who are taking other drugs that may interact with sildenafil should consult with a doctor before combining drugs that could have a dangerous reaction. Patients who are taking nitroglycerin for cardiac problems can experience drastic blood pressure drops, and those with an undiagnosed cardiovascular disease have a greater risk of suffering a heart attack.
Differences Between Taking Tablets and Oral Jelly Pills
While results are seen in both tablet and oral jelly pill versions of sildenafil, the oral jelly tablet versions were developed for easier consumption and faster absorption in the body. Tablet forms have been shown to take between 30 minutes to an hour to take effect, and the pills have been described as difficult to swallow or unpleasant by some.
The liquid form comes in a dosage specific liquid sachet, which comes in a variety of flavors and has been shown to be effective in as little as 20 minutes. Users can consume the liquid directly from the sachet, or they can mix its contents into a juice or other drink for easier consumption. The liquid form of the drug has been shown to remain effective for four to six hours, as compared with the tablet form’s four-hour window.
The liquid form, like its tablet counterpart, has been shown to have some mild side effects consistent with the drug, including:
- blurred vision or sensitivity to light;
- upset stomach or indigestion;
- nasal congestion.
As with any drug, if you experience any serious symptoms following consumption, you should contact your medical provider or poison control immediately.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
Sildenafil takes about 30 minutes for results to show – with some slightly faster results reported in usage of the jelly pill form. The drug can be taken anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours before sexual intercourse to be effective, and most advise to take the drug about an hour before sex.
Depending on the form of the drug you consume, it can remain effective for anywhere from four hours (tablet form) to six hours (jelly pill form).
Can Women Take Male Sildenafil?
There have been no conclusive studies on the effects of sildenafil in women, and the drug is not normally used for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction. There have been no studies showing that the drug is detrimental to women. However, one major manufacturer found that 85 percent of female participants in a sexual dysfunction study’s placebo group reported results – meaning that the very thought of taking sildenafil may have a psychological effect on women. Feel free to try our free Viagra samples!