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Diabetes Medications and New Drugs

Viagra

What is Viagra?

ViagraViagra (Sildenafil) is a tablet used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It works by improving blood flow to the penis when you are sexually stimulated. Viagra has no effect on sexual desire or libido, and does not affect ejaculation. Viagra is a blue, diamond-shaped tablet marked PFIZER on one side and VGR 50 on the other. The tablets are available in blister packs containing 1, 4, 8 or 12 tablets. Sildenafil citrate is the name of the drug contained, whereas Viagra is the 'brand-name' given to the preparation by the manufacturer. Pfizer UK.

How does it cure Erectile dysfunction?

Viagra does not 'cure' erectile dysfunction. It may help you achieve an erection but does not treat the underlying problems which may bring on this problem. In the event of ED due to psychogenic or emotional reasons the facilitation of erections may provide some long term benefit by resolving the 'mental block'.

Who should consider using Viagra?

Men who are unable to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse should consider whether Viagra is a suitable option.

Is it effective?

Clinical studies have confirmed that Viagra is effective. In psychogenic erectile dysfunction response rates as high as 80-90% have been reported. Over half of men with type 1 diabetes had improved erections with Viagra.

How long does it take to work?

Viagra usually starts to work within half an hour but this may be as soon as 15 minutes.

Is it safe?

Yes. If used carefully in keeping with the prescribing guidance and avoiding heart medications Viagra is a safe form of treatment.

Who should NOT take Viagra ?

  • Men who do not have erectile dysfunction should not take Viagra.
  • It is not suitable for use in women or children.
  • You should not take Viagra if you are taking any heart medication containing Nitrates. furthermore if you have recently used Viagra you should inform health professionals before they administer any treatment such as nitrolingual spray.
  • You should not take Viagra without a doctor's recommendation. It may be offered to you by a friend or you may obtain the tablets on the 'black-market' (which is also illegal). Use of Viagra in this manner may be very dangerous to your health and is not to be recommended.

Is it available on the NHS?

Yes. If you have diabetes you are eligible for an NHS prescription. If not you may obtain a private prescription from your GP. Tablets obtained illegally may be dangerous and may not even contain Viagra.

What is the right dose?

The recommended dose is usually 50 mg. If 50 mg is not effective your doctor is likely to suggest you increase the dose to 75 mg or 100 mg. The maximum recommended dose is 100 mg as higher doses are not likely to be effective. Viagra is slightly unusual type of medication in that you only need to take it if it has a beneficial effect and then only as and when required.

How should I take Viagra?

Take the prescribed dose one hour before sexual intercourse. Swallow the tablet whole with some water. It is important to remember that Viagra will not work in the absence of sexual stimulation. If you are not sexually aroused, the usual pathways leading to an erection will not be activated. The amount of time Viagra takes to work is variable but it is usually effective within half to one hour. If you have eaten a full meal it may take longer to work, especially if the meal was rich in fat.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects of Viagra which may be encountered are

  • headache
  • flushing
  • dizzyness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • altered blue/green colour vision
  • some patients complain of muscular pains

If dizzyness occurs, you should not drive or operate machinery.

About one in ten people have one or more of these side effects though only a third of these would need to stop taking the medication.

Rarely prolonged painful erections have been reported. If you have an erection which lasts more than 2-4 hours you should consult your doctor without delay.

How often can I use it?

The maximum recommended frequency is once each day. There is no time limit to how long you may continue with using this treatment.

Can I take Alcohol with Viagra?

Alcohol does not affect Viagra, however alcohol can have an adverse effect on sexual function and can contribute to your inability to achieve an erection.

Does having a meal influence the action of Viagra?

Viagra works more quickly on an empty stomach. You can take Viagra with food and it should not affect it’s efficacy. Avoid a diet high in fat as this will slow absorption.

I used it, it didn’t work. What now?

Failure with the first dose of Viagra is not uncommon. If you have not had sex for a while it may take several attempts to get going!

 

Dr Nishan Wijenaike, Consultant Physician
West Suffolk Hospital Diabetes Service
April 2006

TOPICS IN THIS SECTION

Glucose Lowering drugs

Drugs for blood pressure

Cholesterol and other lipid lowering drugs

Drugs to lower cardiovascular risk

Drugs for neuropathic pain

Drugs which help weight loss

Drugs for erectile dysfunction

Drugs for Type 2 diabetes