Modern life is actually impossible without drugs. People use vaccines, antibiotics, antihypertensives, antiviral remedies, drugs for sexual problems, etc.

Unfortunately, each drug may cause side effects, and Viagra (which contains sildenafil as the key agent) is no different. What adverse events are associated with its use? What’s the cause of them and how to eliminate them?

The List of Viagra’s Side Effects, Their Frequency

The blue pill can occasionally cause the following adverse reactions:

  • headaches;
  • stomach disorders, incl. nausea;
  • vision abnormalities like having a blue color tinge, blurry vision;
  • spinal pain;
  • stuffy and runny nose;
  • muscle pain;
  • rash;
  • heart disturbances;
  • hearing impairments;
  • priapism (a long-lasting and painful penile erection).

According to the study by Moreira SG Jr, Brannigan RE, Spitz A et al. (Baylor College of Medicine, 2000), sildenafil’s bad reactions most commonly happened were flushing (30.8%), headache (25.4%), nasal congestion (18.7%), and heartburn (10.5%)

An interesting fact: earlier (in 1990s), the positive action of Viagra was also a side effect, which was reported by many participants in the initial cardiac studies of sildenafil; pronounced effect on the blood flow in the penis, prompted the idea of using this drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction

viagra side effects list

Why Does Viagra Cause Side Effects?

Adverse events of the pharmaceutical are typically linked with sudden change of blood flow in the body, which is caused by elevated nitric oxide (NO) levels. This, in our opinion, applies to headaches, face flushing, stuffy nose, dizziness, etc.

The cause of rash and other allergic reactions is a hypersensitivity to sildenafil which is rarely observed in some persons.

Eye problems are caused by the presence of other PDE enzymes in the retina. Viagra is a highly selective PDE (PDE5) inhibitor, nonetheless, it may scarcely affect other phosphodiesterases. Sildenafil is highly selective for PDE5, its activity for PDE5 is significantly superior to that for other known phosphodiesterase isoenzymes: PDE6 PDE1, PDE2, PDE4, PDE7, PDE11.

PDE6 is an isoenzyme contained in the retina of the eye; when it is blocked, there are disturbances in color sensation. Interestingly, it has been established that tadalafil and vardenafil have a higher selectivity than sildenafil.

Priapism is directly associated with the principle of Viagra’s action. However, this is an extremely rare side effect.

How to Minimize/Avoid Their Occurrence?

The medication’s side effects are usually mild and transient. A relatively small percentage of men develop men. However, there is a pattern: the higher the dosage you take, the higher the risk of developing adverse events. While you are taking dosages within the normal range (from 25 to 100 mg), the risk is not very large. However, an overdose, for example, using two pills at a time, escalates it.

There are a few tips you should follow to maximally secure yourself:

  • Avoid drinking heavily. Like sildenafil, alcohol has vasodilating properties, so effects of these two substances are stacked synergistically. One beer or 1-2 glasses of whiskey should be fine. Higher amounts may lead to bad consequences and your sexual adventures will crumble.
  • Don’t eat grapefruit, steer clear of grapefruit juice. According to a cautionary note by Harvard Health Publishing, grapefruit’s culprit chemical binds to Cytochrome P450 3A4 (abbreviated CYP3A4) enzyme, which oxidizes some toxins and drugs allowing their removal from the body. When the fruit blocks CYP3A4, a greater amount of the active agent of the blue tablet enters the bloodstream. Consequently, the risk of unwelcome effects increases.
  • Lower dose if the adverse events are severe. You need to discuss your healthcare professional first. He/she might advise you other medicine from this class (or completely different treatment option).

If side effects already occur, you can treat them with over-the-counter meds. For instance, Tylenol, Aleve or aspirin combat headaches, TUMS and Pepto-Bismol help to overcome upset stomach symptoms.