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Get to know VIAGRA

What does VIAGRA do?

VIAGRA belongs to a class of medicine called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors.

Following sexual stimulation, VIAGRA works by helping to relax the blood vessels in your penis by allowing blood to flow into your penis. This results in improved erectile function.

What is important to know is that VIAGRA is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction—the inability to achieve or maintain a penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual activity. It’s also important to note that VIAGRA works only with sexual stimulation. VIAGRA alone does not increase your sex drive.

When you are talking to your doctor about VIAGRA and how it works for you, don’t be shy. Having complete information helps your doctor provide appropriate care.

How does VIAGRA work?

“When I take VIAGRA, am I responding to my partner or the drug?”

When a man takes VIAGRA, he still must be sexually stimulated to get an erection. VIAGRA helps blood flow to the penis, but getting things happening is up to the two of you!

You take VIAGRA before having sex to help your natural erection process by increasing blood flow to the penis. When you get sexually excited, VIAGRA helps you have an erection.

How VIAGRA helps an erection?

To understand how VIAGRA works, it helps to understand how an erection works.

The penis is a muscular organ that has a rich blood supply. When not erect, blood flow to the penis is restricted.

In a man who does not have ED, with sexual stimulation, generally blood flow to the penis is increased and an erection occurs. In a man who has ED, a hard, erected penis for satisfactory sexual activity is not achieved or maintained.

What’s important to remember is the whole chain of events leading up to an erection always starts with sexual stimulus. You and/or your partner have to provide the fun part for VIAGRA to work.

When should I take VIAGRA?

VIAGRA should be taken about 30 minutes to 1 hour before sex. The time it takes VIAGRA to work may vary a bit from one man to another. You can engage in sexual activity within 30 minutes of taking the tablet and for up to 4 hours. Remember, sexual stimulation is required for VIAGRA to work.

How should I take VIAGRA?

Always take VIAGRA as prescribed by your doctor. You should speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure. A dose above 100 mg per day is not recommended. You should not take more than one dose of VIAGRA per day. If you have serious liver or kidney problems or you are 65 years of age or over, your doctor may start you at the lowest dose (25 mg) of VIAGRA.

Here’s a few highlights from the information sheet that came with your VIAGRA:

  • VIAGRA can be taken with or without food
  • You may find that it takes longer for VIAGRA to work if you take it with a high-fat meal
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol before engaging in sexual activity as it can temporarily impair your ability to get an erection
  • Take VIAGRA with water about one hour before you plan on having sex

What if VIAGRA doesn’t work for me?

Hey, it happens.
But don’t get discouraged if VIAGRA doesn’t work for you the very first time. Relax!

  • People respond differently to medications, so VIAGRA may not work right away
  • A high-fat meal can slow VIAGRA down. So can being nervous or tired
  • If VIAGRA did not work for you on one occasion, try again on another day. Be patient and practise. You'll soon learn what to expect with VIAGRA
  • Remember that VIAGRA is a treatment for erectile dysfunction. Since VIAGRA is designed to improve your erectile function, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner before using VIAGRA
  • If you’re still not getting the results you expected, talk to your doctor

Does VIAGRA cause any side effects?

As with all drugs, some side effects have been reported with VIAGRA. These effects are usually mild to moderate in nature and don’t last a long time. Side effects may include: headache, facial flushing, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, abdominal pain, dizziness, dry, stuffy, or swollen nose, throat tightness, dry mouth, decreased sensitivity of the mouth, pain in arms and legs, myalgia (muscle pain), somnolence and erection increased.

Get to know how you react to VIAGRA before operating a motor vehicle or any machinery.

Remember this medicine has been prescribed for you personally and you should not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even if their symptoms are the same as yours.

Serious side effects, how often they happen,and what to do about them

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist only if you experience severe cases of:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure): dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist every time you experience cases of:

  • Effect on hearing: sudden decrease or loss of hearing
  • Cough
  • Nosebleed
  • Noted in patients taking sildenafil citrate for pulmonary hypertension: Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Transient global amnesia: temporary memory loss

Stop taking drug and call your doctor or pharmacist if you experience cases of:

  • Effects on vision: colour tinge, increased brightness of light, blurred vision
  • Impaired or sudden loss of vision: decreased eyesight or unable to see with one or both eyes
  • Detached retina: a decrease in, or sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Serious skin reactions: rash, blisters, peeling skin and pains
  • Priapism: erection lasting more than 4 hours
  • Allergic reactions: rash, hives, itch, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Seizure, seizure recurrence
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction): chest pain, shortness of breath
  • Chest pain (unstable angina)
  • Arrhythmia/tachycardia, palpitations: fast or irregular heart beat, heart rate increased
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular hemorrhage): bleeding in the brain, vision changes, difficulty speaking, weakness on one side of the body, dizziness, lack of coordination or poor balance
  • Transient ischemic attack: temporary loss of vision, difficulty speaking, weakness on one side of the body, numbness or tingling usually on one side of the body, dizziness, lack of coordination or poor balance
  • Pulmonary hemorrhage (acute bleeding from the lung): oozing of bloody fluid from the nose and respiratory tract, accompanied by rapid worsening of patient respiration, turning blue and in severe cases, shock

VIAGRA may cause other side effects that aren’t mentioned here. If you want more information or have side effects you’re concerned about, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

IMPORTANT: It’s a serious side effect, but a man may have an erection that lasts for many hours. See a doctor immediately if you ever have an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours.

Are there any men who shouldn’t take VIAGRA?

  • If you are taking any medicines containing nitrates in any form (oral, sublingual [under the tongue], skin patch, or by inhalation [spray]). Although VIAGRA is used occasionally, nitrates must never be used. Nitrates are found in many prescription medicines that are used in the treatment of angina pectoris (chest pain due to heart disease), such as nitroglycerin, isosorbide mononitrate, or isosorbide dinitrate. If you do not understand what nitrates are, or are unsure about whether a medication you are taking is a nitrate, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

    If you take VIAGRA with nitrate-containing medicines or any other nitrates (e.g., amyl nitrite “poppers”), your blood pressure could suddenly drop to a life-threatening level. You could get dizzy, faint, or even have a heart attack or stroke.

  • If you have loss of vision in one or both eyes from an eye disease called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION).
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to sildenafil citrate or the nonmedicinal ingredients in VIAGRA.
  • VIAGRA is not to be used in men for whom sexual activity is inadvisable.
  • Do not take VIAGRA with guanylate cyclase stimulators, such as riociguat.

Your condition

What is ED?

ED defined by the Canadian Urological Association:
“ED is the persistent inability to get and maintain a penile erection that is satisfactory for sexual activity.”

In a man who does not have ED, with sexual stimulation, generally blood flow to the penis is increased and an erection occurs. In a man who has ED, a hard, erected penis for satisfactory sexual activity is not achieved or maintained.

What causes ED?

The risk of ED increases steadily with age. This is often the result of other health problems. Despite this, ED is not considered a normal part of aging.

Given the intricate balance of factors necessary to produce an erection, it is not surprising that a problem in any of a number of areas will cause ED. Blood vessel, nerve or hormonal abnormalities are responsible in some cases. In others, medications can affect erectile function.

Injury, surgery or pelvic radiation treatments are the cause of ED in some men. Lifestyle habits, including smoking and drug or alcohol abuse, often contribute to the problem.

How is erection hardness rated?

Believe it or not, the hardness of an erection can actually be rated:

Grade 1: Penis is larger but not hard

Grade 2: Penis is hard, but not hard enough for penetration

Grade 3: Penis is hard enough for penetration, but not completely hard

Grade 4: Penis is completely hard and fully rigid

Learn how 
to get the original VIAGRA

How do I know the medication I receive at the pharmacyis original VIAGRA?

If it doesn’t say Pfizer on the pills and packaging, it’s not VIAGRA. Check your VIAGRA pills and packaging before you leave the pharmacy to be sure you are getting original VIAGRA.

Exercise your right to choose.

  • Ask for VIAGRA by name
  • Check the medication you have received to ensure it is VIAGRA
  • If it doesn’t say Pfizer on the pills and packaging, it’s not VIAGRA

Can I still fill my prescription with the original VIAGRA even though a generic version is available?

Yes, you can remain on VIAGRA—just tell your pharmacist you would like your prescription filled with the original brand name VIAGRA.

What will I pay for original VIAGRA?

Your total prescription cost for VIAGRA may differ at individual pharmacies as it includes different components such as: the price of the medication (pill) plus dispensing and mark-up fees. The fees are determined at the discretion of the wholesaler and individual pharmacies.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you may have about the cost of your prescription.

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