How to Cope with Sildenafil Side Effects


Sildenafil is an effective medication that has helped countless men to regain their bedroom mojo over the years. The med is also commonly referred to as Viagra, although this is the official name of only the branded sildenafil citrate pills manufactured by Pfizer, the company that invented sildenafil. Currently, there are many sildenafil-based meds on the market, but their effects are pretty much the same.

As is the case with all other meds, sildenafil has its side effects varying in frequency and severity. When you are using sildenafil, you should expect adverse reactions and always be aware of what to do in case you experience them, just to be on the safe side. Fortunately, most users report experiencing only very slight symptoms and, if you’re lucky, you won’t get any adverse reactions at all.

The Less Serious Side Effects of Sildenafil

The use of sildenafil can be accompanied by some less serious side effects which typically wane off after a few hours following the intake of the medication. These most common of these include headaches, facial flushing, stuffy nose, insomnia, loose stools, dizziness, muscle pain, back pain, dyspepsia and a rash. A number of users have reported experiencing changes in color vision, and mostly the people affected have a problem differentiating blue from green.

Often these side effects can be tolerated well by the user but if they become unbearable, always seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Serious Side Effects of Sildenafil

A drug is recommended for use only if its benefits outweigh its risks. But sometimes things don’t go according to the plan, and you might suffer from more serious adverse effects. With sildenafil, serious adverse effects include priapism, sudden hearing loss, fainting, sudden vision loss, and stroke.

Priapism refers to a persistent, painful erection. If you experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours, you should seek medical attention immediately. Priapism can cause permanent damage to the penis if it’s not managed early. Basically, sildenafil relaxes the smooth muscles in blood vessels making more blood enter the penis reacting to sexual stimulation. When an intercourse is over, there may be certain factors that prevent blood from leaving the penile body, which is exactly what causes priapism. It is managed with the help of certain medications that affect blood circulation bringing it back to normal and helping you avoid problems in the long term.

Impaired sight or complete loss of vision can occur in one eye or both eyes as an adverse reaction to sildenafil intake. This is a condition called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (abbreviated as NAION). It comes about when there is compromised blood flow to the retina. Health conditions that predispose one to developing NAION include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, high levels of body fat and the presence of other eye diseases. People who smoke and the elderly are also at a higher risk of suffering vision loss.

Hearing loss can also occur, sometimes preceded by ringing in the ears, or tinnitus. When you experience these symptoms, you are advised to see a doctor immediately.

In rare instances, some people have suffered a stroke because of alteration in the blood flow to some parts of the brain.

One may also faint after taking sildenafil due to excessive shunting of blood to the perineum and erectile tissue.

Allergic reactions to sildenafil have also been reported, albeit rarely. These are usually characterized by a rash, itching, hives, difficulty in breathing, a swollen face or severe lightheadedness.

All these are medical emergencies, and in case they occur, you have to seek immediate medical care.

Some of The Triggers of Sildenafil Side Effects

Though side effects can occur spontaneously even with the correct use of medications, sometimes they are triggered by certain things.

Sildenafil Overdose

When you take a drug in larger-than-needed doses, the body cells that are supposed to eliminate it from the body can be overwhelmed. This leads to increased levels of the medication in the system and eventually one suffers from the effects of drug toxicity. Accumulation of drug substances in the body is typically associated with increased severity of the side effects. Same is the case for sildenafil. When you take too much of the drug, you are at a higher risk of suffering from side effects.

Sildenafil and Grapefruit Juice

Taking sildenafil with grapefruit and/or grapefruit juice increases the risk of getting side effects because the fruit contains substances that inhibit enzymes meant to break down sildenafil. This may lead to increased levels of sildenafil in the body.

Sildenafil and Other Drugs

Some meds such as cimetidine and ketoconazole increase the levels of sildenafil in the body thus leading to a heightened risk of side effects. Atorvastatin, a lipid-lowering drug also increases the toxicity of sildenafil. Viagra should not be taken concurrently with other PDE 5 inhibitors such as vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) because these meds can cause potentiated effects and more severe adversities.

How to Avoid Sildenafil Side Effects

You can avoid the sildenafil side effects by taking some precautionary measures.

First of all, avoid self-medicating. This can lead you to taking the wrong dosage or the wrong drug altogether. Furthermore, you might expose yourself to some drug interactions that would have been avoided if you sought the doctor’s advice.

Also, ensure that you buy your sildenafil from reliable sources. This way, you get to avoid counterfeits which might contain harmful components.

If it is your first time using sildenafil, start with a smaller dose and only increase it if you experience suboptimal results. Ideally, dosage adjustments should be made by a physician. Always adhere to the dosage recommendations. Do not take more than a single dose of sildenafil in a period of 24 hours.

Sildenafil should not be mixed with excessive amounts of alcohol to minimize the chances of suffering the adverse effects.

What to Do If You Experience Serious Side Effects

If you experience the severe side effects of sildenafil, first of all, do not panic. Get yourself together, do not try to induce vomiting or taking any other substances. Call your doctor and inform them about the exact brand of the drug that you used, the dosage and the time of administration. Don’t hide the fact that you used Viagra. If you experience intolerable symptoms while having sex, stop right away and seek assistance.

Never assume that the symptoms that will go away on their own. They can get worse.

Always call 911 if the progress of the symptoms is too rapid or if they become too hard to tolerate.

To be safe, you should not stay alone especially if you are using sildenafil for the first time. Have some good company to take care of you in case you are incapacitated.