FDA-approved treatment for ED
Sildenafil is a phosphodiesterase (PDE) class 5 inhibitor. Medications in this class are used to treat erectile dysfunction, pulmonary artery hypertension, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), or the concurrent treatment of erectile dysfunction and BPH.
Sildenafil (generic for Viagra) is a lower-cost option for Viagra that contains the same active ingredients. It works exactly the same way as the brand-name medication in your body.
An erection is the result of increased blood flow into the penis. Sexual stimulation increases blood flow into the penis, temporarily trapping it in spaces called the corpus cavernosum. These spaces make up most of the penis and surround the urethra, the tube shared by both the urinary and the reproductive systems.
Smooth muscle lines the small blood vessels called capillaries that enter the penis, contracting and relaxing to decrease or increase blood flow through them. Damage to these blood vessels from diabetes, high blood pressure, or lipid deposits can reduce blood flow.
When blood enters the penis and fills the corpus cavernosum, the swollen tissue presses on blood vessels draining the penis. This process results in vasocongestion or holding blood in the penis. The pressure within the penis increases, and it becomes rigid.
Nitric oxide is a small molecule found throughout the body. It is released from nerve endings near the blood vessels in the corpus cavernosum of the penis after sexual stimulation. Nitric oxide triggers a chemical cascade that dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow into the penis, resulting in an erection. cGMP (another chemical in the cascade) levels must remain high to maintain the erection. Phosphodiesterase inactivates cGMP. When cGMP is deactivated, the smooth muscles in the walls of small blood vessels contract, reducing blood flow and ending the erection.
Oral ED medications, such as sildenafil, are phosphodiesterase inhibitors. By inhibiting phosphodiesterase, nitric oxide continues to trigger the cascade, and blood flow into the penis is maintained, meaning a firm erection. Understanding this cascade led to the development and subsequent FDA approval of sildenafil in 1998.
Sildenafil is an FDA-approved, generic brand of Viagra with a proven history to treat ED.
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Sildenafil is the generic brand of Viagra. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that generic drugs be bioequivalent to brand-name medications. Therefore, the generic drug must have the same active ingredient, strength, and dosage. Because patent restrictions have expired, generic medications can be offered at a lower price than brand-name medications.
Sildenafil wears off in about four hours. Most men take sildenafil about one hour before anticipated sexual activity. It takes about 30 minutes to work, and the effects last for about 4 hours.
It is important to differentiate the effects of the medication from an erection. Sildenafil requires sexual stimulation to work Once it does, an erection should not last more than 4 hours. Prolonged, painful erections can cause damage to the penis.
The recommended adult dose for sildenafil is one 50mg tablet daily as directed. The maximum recommended dose is 100 mg daily.
Your healthcare provider will determine the best sildenafil dosage for you based on your past medical history and any medications you may be taking. It is important to not take more sildenafil than is prescribed and not take a dose more than once every 24 hours.
The side effects of some ED medications, such as sildenafil, can be made worse when combined with alcohol. These side effects may include:
To decrease your risk of side effects, avoid or limit the use of alcohol when taking sildenafil. However, if you drink alcohol regularly, talk to your healthcare provider about ED treatment options that do not adversely interact with alcohol.
Yes, if your healthcare provider prescribes 100 mg. Sildenafil 100 mg is the highest safe dose. If sildenafil is not working at the prescribed dose, contact your healthcare provider before changing the dose. Your healthcare provider may also suggest a different ED medication. For example, some men find that Trimix or tadalafil is a better option.
Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of side effects when taking sildenafil. If you consume alcohol regularly, discuss your use with your healthcare provider to see if sildenafil is your best option.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can change how sildenafil is metabolized in the body. Grapefruit can raise sildenafil levels in your body and lengthen the time it takes for sildenafil to work.
Changes in heart rate are minimal after taking sildenafil. Researchers noted minor increases in heart rate when younger men took sildenafil after exercise and slighter larger increases in heart rate when older men took sildenafil.
Sildenafil, especially when taken with alcohol, can lower blood pressure. Men who experience this side effect will notice an increase in heart rate along with lightheadedness and dizziness.
Men may also experience palpitations or the sensation that the heart is beating harder or faster. Drinking an extra glass of water may help.
Report any concerning side effects to your healthcare provider.
Sildenafil should not be used with any other medication used to treat ED. Tell your healthcare provider about all medical problems and medications you are taking. There are many drug interactions with sildenafil.
Contraindications for prescribing or using Sildenafil include:
• Bleeding disorders
• Eye or vision problems
• Peyronie’s disease
• History of priapism
• Heart disease
• Stomach ulcers
• Kidney disease
• Liver disease
• An allergic reaction to sildenafil or any of its components
• Taking St. John’s wort