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Viagra's side effects - is it safe and can it be combined with alcohol?

Although this tablet’s safety is very well-documented and proved, certain side effects do exist which men need to take into consideration. To minimise the likelihood of experiencing them, it is therefore wise to consult a doctor to be informed about any potential risks and determine whether this is a suitable course of treatment. 

Evaluating risk: What are Viagra’s side effects? 

The internet is a terrific tool for learning, but the fact that some sites allow nearly anyone to post, edit and comment has unfortunately led to an increased amount of misinformation available to access. When learning about Viagra’s side effects, online resources like Wiki should not be relied upon and a doctor's visit is far preferable. They are trained professionals who are familiar with your medical history and have the scientific grounding and education to inform you about any hazardous implications your prescription may present.

Negative reactions may include stomach pain, stuffiness in the nose, a rash, dizziness, UTIs (urinary tract infections) and an upset stomach. How to get rid of the majority of these can be easily dealt with - for example, drink water to relieve headaches, lie down to help dizziness and consider peppermint or ginger tea to ease nausea.

When administered correctly, Viagra is appropriate for long-term use, but dosage and any new symptoms should be watched closely to avoid adverse health implications or overdose. Changes in blood pressure should be reported, and any serious or persistent side effects (such as purple skin on the penis, which may indicate priapism, an urgent condition) require immediate medical attention.

Common side effects

Frequently reported symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Dyspepsia
  • Visual disturbances
  • Flushed face
  • Rhinitis
  • Feeling faint
  • Nose bleeds
  • Insomnia

Uncommon side effects

Although possible, the following are much less likely and should be monitored accordingly. Please note this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Experiencing a blue tinge in vision
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Blood in urine
  • Reduced sense of touch

Rare side effects

An extensive and full selection of rare and thus dangerous side effects can be read in the drug's accompanying leaflet. If any of these are experienced, cease usage immediately and locate emergency medical help. Inform whoever is treating you that you have taken Viagra, how long do they last and, if possible, provide them with the packaging.

  • Swelling within the inner nose
  • Stroke
  • Adverse skin reactions including blistering or peeling
  • High temperatures (fever)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Bloody sperm
  • Bleeding from the penis
  • Seizures
  • An erection that does not reduce, and lasts beyond 4 hours (priapism)

Be aware: Remember these contraindications

Viagra is not suitable for everyone, and can pose serious risk or ineffectiveness when taken alongside certain prescription and non-prescription medication.

Drugs not to take in conjunction with it include:

  • Nitrates such as glyceryl trinitrate, isosorbide dinitrate or nitric oxide donors (e.g. amyl nitrate - more commonly known by its street name, “poppers”)
  • Rionavir
  • Riociguat
  • Cocaine and other substances.

Viagra contraindications also include a history of heart attacks, diabetes and inherited eye diseases (such as retinitis pigmentosa). A consultation with a medical professional prior to treatment is key.

Particular food and drink can also impact these tablets. Although it poses no threat to your health directly, grapefruit juice should be avoided when experimenting with Viagra as studies have shown it delays its absorption - prompting many users to exceed safe dosages and increase the risk of side effects.

Your wellbeing: Is Viagra overall safe to take?

Whether Viagra is safe is arguably one of the primary concerns for anyone considering trying it out. However, as it contains sildenafil, it is regulated by the FDA - meaning the appropriate and relevant institutions have approved it.

Its safety for human consumption can be further seen in a recent development, whereby the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) formally classified a particular brand of the pills - Viagra Connect - from a POM (prescription only medicine) to pharmacy medicine.

The risks of these tablets increase when accessed by individuals who have been advised against them, or when the maximum daily dosage of 100mg is exceeded. Contrary to popular belief, it also works safely in older men providing they are a low-risk candidate.

Viagra and alcohol - a bad combination

It is not recommended to use the drug when drinking.

Combining Viagra with alcohol does not have any positive consequences. In addition to potentially worsening some of the pill’s side effects, it also can exaggerate ED and counteract the otherwise great benefits that Viagra brings.

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