Revealed: 10 Eye-Opening Facts No One Tells You About Viagra [Infographic]

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    Picture this: It’s 2 pm Sunday.

    The afternoon is grey with a dull sky threatening to rain.

    You’re the only pharmacist on duty. And you’re unwinding at the back of the dispensary.

    Revealed: 10 Eye-Opening Facts No One Tells You About Viagra (Infographic)Click To Tweet

    As you shiver from the unforgiving cold, you jump to the kettle to make yourself a cup of coffee. A black one with an invigorating aroma that wafts heavily through the pharmacy.

    Suddenly, one of your co-workers comes running to you;

    Mr B, I think with your expertise you’re the right person for this call.

    At that moment your heart pounds. You can feel it’s ready to jump out of your chest. You’re shaken. Because you know these kinds of calls aren’t the easiest to deal with.

    But without hesitating, you jump on.

    Good afternoon, I am Mr B – the pharmacist on duty, how can I assist you today,” you say with tranquilising tone.

    “Mr pharmacist, I’m in need of your help. I took the Viagra pill, and now I’ve had an erection for the past 5 hours. It’s painful now. I’ve tried taking a shower, tried cold water and ice — but to no avail. Please advise me on what I should,” he whispered.

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    What would you have said?

    For me, I was clueless and confused for a moment. I didn’t know what to say. But I knew there was a real problem here. I had to compose myself and act fast. No funny stories. I asked the patient to hold for a minute. Went to research on our pharmacy reference book.

    And here’s what I found:

    Patients should be advised to seek immediate medical assistance for the reversal of erections persisting longer than 4 hours, to prevent corporeal fibrosis and thereby permanent erectile dysfunction.

    And that’s what I told the patient.

    Did you know? Because I didn’t.

    So being snoopy, I did a research and dug deeper about Viagra.

    Why?

    Because the drug’s usage is on the rise worldwide. In 2015, The Telegraphy reported that there were 1.7 million Viagra scripts sold in Britain, in 2014.

    But I couldn’t find any stats relating to South Africa. What I found after my research was captivating.

    Today, I want to share with you the ten interesting facts no one is telling you about Viagra.

    If you’re interested in the results of my research, then you’ll love this infographic.

    interesting facts about viagra

    Here’s my take on the facts presented in this infographic.

    Fact #1 – It’s less effective when taken with a high-fat diet.

    What does this mean?

    Drugs taken orally must first be absorbed into the bloodstream to have an effect.

    Absorption can either happen from the stomach or intestines. And for few drugs from the mouth. When the drug reaches the bloodstream, it’ll be carried to the relevant part of the body and take action.

    Certain drugs need specific environments to be properly absorbed.

    And in this case,  the ideal setting for a Viagra tablet is an empty stomach.

    A fatty meal delays the absorption of Sildenafil (the active in Viagra).

    Thus, the delay in absorption will prolong the time the drug takes to work.

    Fact #2 –  It can be fatal if taken with nitrate drugs.

    So, what are nitrate drugs?

    Good question.

    Nitrates are drugs used to treat Angina Pectoris –  a condition marked by a severe chest pain that is temporary. It occurs when the heart muscle isn’t receiving enough oxygen.

    viagra and nitrates

    Source: Tabletsmanual.com

    Some people often interpret the sensation of their chest as a discomfort or heaviness rather than pain.

    Pain may also occur:

    • down on the inside of either arm,
    • in either shoulder,
    • through the back,
    • and in the throat, jaw, or teeth.

    Angina occurs in response to exertion and is relieved by rest.

    Doctors use several types to treat angina. And Nitrates are one of the drugs used to resolve an angina attack.

    Nitrate drugs work by increasing the size blood vessels of the heart muscle. The increase in the size of blood vessels improves blood circulation, resulting in more oxygen to the heart muscle.

    Taking the drug while on nitrates can lead to low blood pressure.

    If blood pressure becomes dangerously low, it can cause death.

    Fact #3 – It has no aphrodisiac effects.

    “What’s an aphrodisiac?” you ask.

    According to Merriam-webster dictionary, an aphrodisiac is

    “An agent (such as a food or drug) that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire.”

    By the manner in which Viagra works, it is not classified as an aphrodisiac. The drug improves blood circulation to the penis. It doesn’t increase sexual urge.

    Interesting Read: Everything You Need To Know About A Morning-After Pill

    So if a person has a problem with libido, it  will not help.

    Viagra will not cause an adequate erection if there is no sexual stimulation. Click To Tweet

    So don’t expect that taking it will immediately cause a proper erection.

    Sexual arousal is vital.

    Fact #4 – There’s a risk of sudden hearing loss.

    In 2007, the FDA included sudden hearing loss as a potential risk for patients taking Viagra. This came after a published case report of a single patient who lost hearing after taking sildenafil for 15 days.

    reported case study

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then searched on the Adverse Event Reporting System. It identified 29 reports of hearing loss potentially related to sildenafil use.

    As a consequence, the side effect profile was updated to include hearing loss.

    Another study, done in 2010  also reported the risk of hearing loss after sildenafil use. The study, based in the United States, had a population-based sample of 11 525 men 40 years or older.

    The study is published in The Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

    Fact #5 – The drug is more potent in men aged 65 years & older.

    Before I shed light on this point, let’s first understand this one term: clearance.

    What is clearance in the medicinal world?

    Clearance is the removal of a substance from the blood – a drug molecule.

    Men 65 years or over have a reduced Viagra clearance. They tend to have 40% more drug content in the blood.Click To Tweet

    “Why is that the case?”, you might ask.

    Because your body’s ability to metabolise drugs decreases as you grow older.

    Thus, the effects of the Viagra will last longer in older people, 65 years and over than in other age groups.

    As a result, a reduced dose is often recommended.

    Fact #6 – It can cause permanent erectile dysfunction.

    I am sure that one came as a surprise to you.

    “Viagra causing erectile dysfunction! But how?”

    I was also surprised when I discovered this.

    But here is the thing: the effects of the drug vary from person to person. Viagra works within 30 – 60 minutes for most men. You can take it up to 4 hours before sex.

    Watch the video to understand how Viagra works

    “So how long does it last?” you probably wonder.

    The time of action varies from person to person. According to an article published on Pubmed, Viagra can work for some men within 14 minutes.  Its effect can last up to 12 hours.

    And remember it should be used alongside sexual stimulation.

    But note:

    An erection that lasts for more than 4 hours after taking Viagra can damage the structure of the penis.  That condition is known as corporeal fibrosis and can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction.

    Thus, seek immediate medical help for the reversal of an erection lasting for 4 hours or more.

    Fact #7 – Certain drugs make Viagra’s effect more potent

    Certain drugs lower the metabolism and clearance of Viagra from the body.

    viagra vs inhibitors
    List of drug that makes viagra more potent
    These drugs include:

    • Nizoral (Ketoconazole),
    • Sporanox (Itraconazole),
    • Erythromycin,
    • Biaxin (Clarithromycin),
    • Aluvia (ritonavir, saquinavir)
    • Rifampin,
    • Phenobarbital,
    • Phenytoin,
    • Tegretol (Carbamazepine),
    • Tagamet (Cimetidine),

    But how does that happen?

    The drugs above weakens “the agents” that break down Viagra in your body.

    As a result, it will accumulate in the blood and becomes more potent.

    It is thus vital to discuss any chronic or acute drugs you’re be taking with a GP.

    Fact #8 –  It can cause persistent & painful erection.

    Probably you didn’t expect this one.

    Viagra can cause a prolonged, painful erection - a condition known as priapism. #Yodruggist #ViagraClick To Tweet

    Priapism occurs when there is an abnormal flow of blood to the penis.

    Priapism can cause a persistent erection that continues for hours. Sildenafil acts by opening the blood vessel of the penis. As a result, the irregular amount of blood flows in and puts pressure on the blood vessel by stretching them. And that results in pain.

    But what’s more interesting is that priapism happens to males of all ages – including newborns.

    Fact #9 – It can alter vision and cause dizziness.

    It is known that sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, can cause temporary vision problems in some healthy people.

    In one study, University of NSW researchers tested sildenafil on healthy mice and on mice with a faulty gene.

    The faulty gene is responsible for an inherited eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

    viagra study reporting on altered vision

    They found the healthy mice had problems with their eyes for about two days. The one with a faulty gene, it had problems with their eyes for two weeks.

    Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith and his team also found early signs of cell death in the eyes of the mice with a faulty gene.

    As a result, the study suggests that sildenafil may not be suitable for men who carry a faulty gene associated with the inherited eye condition retinitis pigmentosa.

    Fact #10 – People with a heart condition can take Viagra.

    Viagra widens blood vessels. The increase in blood vessel size makes the heart to work harder as it has to pump more blood.

    “Is that then good for people with a heart condition?”, you wonder.

    To put things into perspective, I like how Daniel J. DeNoon puts it in this WebMD article,

    “If you're strong enough to take the sex, you're strong enough to take Viagra. - D. J. DeNoon” #YodruggistClick To Tweet

    Reports of heart attack were everywhere when the drug got introduced in the 90s.

    And that’s understandable. As with any new product that’s ‘too good to be true’, Sildenafil was under scrutiny.

    As a result, several studies were done. Most studies suggest that in patients with a stable heart condition, use of sildenafil doesn’t increase the risk of heart attack.

    One study was led by Dr Adelaide Arruda-Olson, a heart specialist at the Mayo Clinic. The study looked at the effects of Viagra in 105 impotent men with a heart condition and had an average age of 66.

    Participants took 50mg, 100mg of Viagra or inactive pill. They underwent two days of exercise testing on bicycles. Tests were done during the exercise tests and researchers measured

    • the men’s exercise capacity,
    • blood pressure,
    • blood flow and
    • other significant heart properties.

    And the results?

    Viagra itself didn’t make the exercise harder on the heart. Researchers couldn’t find much impact of the drug on the heart.

    Please note: If you’ve got a heart condition, consult your doctor before taking Viagra.

    Final word

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition in men. It is associated with ageing and with several other risk factors. These include obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and surgery.

    The biggest problem in ED is the failure of the corpora cavernosa to gain and maintain rigidity by engorgement with blood.

    Corpora cavernosa is the sponge-like muscle found in the penis, responsible for erection.

    All the methods involved in treating ED are based on the process of increasing blood flow to the penis.

    And that’s the main action of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.

    Sildenafil has a favourable safety profile and is well tolerated.

    The drug improves the quality of life and satisfaction for treated men.

    Which one of the above facts surprised you the most? Comment below

     

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