The Case for Sildenafil

by Joseph Printer
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Most sexually active people have heard of Viagra, a common term used to call sildenafil. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1998 and its fame has been rooted in its efficacy in treating erectile dysfunction in men.  However, expected reactions cannot be observed immediately and certain activities should be performed for them to take effect.

The common delayed effects might seemingly sound frustrating since it takes a little while for it to work like magic but that is not an indication for people to double their dosage. It can be tempting, yes, but even if you did not experience its full effect, it does not mean that you should try to strengthen it by taking another pill. What should be done is to consult a medical professional. After all, it is for your health’s sake.

  • Sildenafil is commonly prescribed by healthcare experts in three different doses: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. Taking more than what is prescribed within 24 hours is not advisable.
  • The higher the dose, the greater the risk of side effects that can be experienced with sildenafil since its side effects are dose-dependent.
  • Alternative measures can be done as advised by experts if you are not satisfied with the full effects of the pill. All the more reason why it is important to consult a healthcare professional.

Drugs usually show side effects and that is no news to everyone. That is why the standard dose that is prescribed by medical experts is the minimum effective dose which has the smallest dosage amount. This is applied to prevent further negative side effects of the drug in general.

The Case for Sildenafil

In the case of sildenafil, the common secondary response that may be experienced includes changes in vision, headache, pain in the back, nausea, rash, stuffy nose, and redness in the face.

A study by Dhaliwal (2020) also indicates that sildenafil can cause priapism, a painful and persistent erection. Priapism is already considered a medical emergency and requires serious and immediate attention from healthcare experts. Another study by Yanoga (2018) also reported people experiencing negative effects in the vision after taking up too much sildenafil. This includes blurry eyes, sudden light flashes, and red-tinted sight. These are caused by damages in the cells of the eye that are responsible for color vision.

Some of these effects are common with the drug. Most of it may go away with time or right after you stop taking the medication but there are some cases, according to Huang (2019), of permanent damage caused by sildenafil, especially if taken at higher doses. One example of the common side effect is the alteration in the vision. Most often than not, this side effect fades away within a day but a study by Karaarslan (2020) has shown a longer period, lasting up to 21 days of vision changes in men who are taking a standard 100 mg dose of the drug.

While it may work for some, it is still important to take note of what is the standard prescription provided by our healthcare professionals as the side effects may differ for each person. Try not to take doses at your own risk and follow medical advice to prevent adverse effects or worse, permanent damage from the drug.

How much sildenafil is too much?

Usually, sildenafil is taken to treat impotence or erectile dysfunction in men. However, it is also used for other physical and emotional needs of most people.

The amounts of dosage of Sildenafil that are effective and cause minimal side effects to varying from one person to another. Commonly, a healthcare provider will start on a 50 mg dose of the drug as an observatory test of how the body will respond to it, including the severity of the side effects. From there, your healthcare provider may increase the prescription to 100 mg or lower it down to 25 mg. If you personally experience dissatisfaction from the effects of the prescription, you should discuss further options with your medical doctor.

Different strokes for different folks

The lowest dose of sildenafil commonly advised for specific circumstances by medical experts is 25 mg. People from ages 65 and above who have been experiencing or have experienced negative side effects from the standard 50 mg dose of the drug are usually prescribed with this dose, according to FDA (2014).

Those, moreover, with underlying kidney or liver conditions are also prescribed with the lowest dose, as the body may not be able to break down certain drugs including sildenafil due to the existing health issue. This may result in higher levels of sildenafil building up inside the body, creating major effects even with low dosages.

The Case for Sildenafil

Additional treatments may also be presented when taking the medication for better outcomes, especially for those with underlying medical problems. One option includes the vacuum erection device. It is a device used, specifically for those who failed to respond to medication who are also suffering from diabetes, to improve erections (Sun, 2014).

Higher doses of the drug, on the other hand, contribute highly to sexual medicine. As has been stated, sildenafil has successfully treated severe erectile dysfunction in men using higher doses as high as 200 mg. However, it has not proven complete efficacy to everyone as some patients do not respond to this type of treatment. A study by McMahon (2002) indicates only 24.1% efficacy or just 13 of the 54 participants experiencing improvement against erectile dysfunction with higher doses of sildenafil. Among the participants, 63%, even those who have not experienced any improvement have experienced common side effects like facial flushing and headache. Moreover, even for the participants experiencing treatment from the drug, some still ended the medication due to severe adverse effects. Out of those 13 participants who have been successfully treated, only 9 continued the medication.

With this in hand, a healthcare provider’s advice is important in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the drug in one’s personal health.

When should you take sildenafil?

At least 30 minutes before sex is the advised time to take the drug but it can also be taken four hours in advance. If sildenafil is taken 30 minutes or less before intercourse, the effects may take a longer time to grow, depending on the reaction of your body.

How often should you take sildenafil?

Again, it is clinically important to follow instructions from healthcare providers. The right amount of dosage prescribed should be taken and nothing further. It should not be taken twice within 24 hours. Whether the prescription is personally questionable to you, it is still best to heed the advice of the experts. Harmful effects are being prevented and it is always safer to follow what is right.

Sildenafil alternatives

Before looking for alternatives, your personal healthcare provider may try to observe underlying factors that may take effect when being treated or prescribed with sildenafil. Our body responds to different drugs and some are caused by our lifestyle. One example, stated by FDA (2014) is the slow effectiveness of the drug when taken with a heavy high-fat meal. Your body may absorb the drug slower than usual which affects its efficacy rate. With this, adjustments with food intake may be advised by your healthcare provider to settle the problem.

However, if the drug is proven to be ineffective and no other physical factors have been reported to alter its effects, an alternative may be taken from a correlated class of medications. Alternative options from PDE5 inhibitors, the class of drugs to which sildenafil belongs, include vardenafil, commonly known as Levitra, avanafil also known as Stendra, and tadalafil which goes by the name Cialis. These are some of the PDE5 inhibitors that might work for you.

Although these options work similarly with sildenafil, there are still distinct features and effects for each drug. For instance, the minimum hours reported for tadalafil to work is 1to 2 hours, a bit slower than sildenafil with a minimum of 30 minutes. However, the difference is that tadalafil or Cialis can last up to 36 hours with on and off working effects. It is available in a daily tablet (Daily Cialis) taken in anticipation of having sex, like other members of their drug class.

Unlike sildenafil, vardenafil or Levitra can be taken with food. Although some medications are slowed down when taken with high-fat heavy meals, vardenafil is an exception.  A study according to Bourin (2018) shows that vardenafil works at the same speed even when taken with heavy meals.

Lastly and said to be the best option for some is avanafil, commonly known as Strendra. The reason behind this is because of its fast effects. The medication kicks in within 15 minutes on average for most, making it the fastest drug among the PDE5 inhibitor class, according to NIH (2019).

The Case for Sildenafil

Are ED pills for you?

The risks of taking medications without professional advice are a huge responsibility. There is no direct evidence of safety as the effects differ individually. It may not seem to be effective when taking a pill, non-pill alternatives may be utilized. Alprostadil, one example, is an erectile dysfunction (ED) medication. It is available in the form of topical cream, injection, and intraurethral suppository. The measures may be a bit inconvenient for some but it has been proven to successfully give you an erection, hard enough for romantic intercourse, according to Coombs (2012). Other than this are numerous options that can thoroughly be utilized when discussed professionally with a healthcare provider. 

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