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Home / Erectile Dysfunction / Viagra / Medical Tips for First-Time Viagra Users

Medical Tips for First-Time Viagra Users

So you’re about to take Viagra for the first time? It can feel a little intimidating when using a new medication, you want to make sure it has its desired effects and you don’t suffer any bad reactions. Especially if that includes being stuck with a three-day erection…

… luckily, you won’t as that’s a big fat myth! Viagra is a safe and effective medication, used by millions of men around the globe to save their sex lives.

That being said, it is very important to understand how to correctly take medication, to ensure it works to its full potential, so you (and your partner) can reap all the rewards. Continue reading to identify more Viagra myths, along with medical advice and tips to maximise the pill’s effects.

Grapefruit - why doesn’t it like Viagra?

If you’ve been eating grapefruit your entire life, don’t worry, it’s a super healthy food, packed full of potassium and vitamin C - nobody's disputing that. And is it causing your erectile dysfunction (ED)? Nope, definitely not!

However, it can have some unintended interactions with everyday medications, including ED pills like Viagra and Cialis. Grapefruit, whole and squeezed, can influence a number of pills, from statins that lower cholesterol, to high blood pressure (hypertension) drugs and corticosteroids. So if you are taking a PDE-5 inhibitor, such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Spedra or any others, you should opt for orange or apple juice instead.

The danger of consuming it when taking certain drugs comes from how it influences an enzyme in your intestines called CYP3A4. It might not sound that important, but CYP3A4 plays an essential role in how the active ingredients of drugs are broken down in your system.

Simply put, when you drink grapefruit juice, it stops CYP3A4 from doing its job, which means more chemicals pass into your bloodstream from your gut and stay there for longer. Once a chemical is in your blood it gets to work, so by drinking grapefruit juice, you’re increasing the chance of side effects occurring. For example, if you take Viagra, your body will lose some ability to manage the volume of sildenafil (the active ingredient) in the blood, leading to reactions like headaches and flushing.

On the other hand, grapefruit has been known to reduce the amount of active ingredient that makes it to your bloodstream, rendering the medicine useless. It all depends on how your body reacts to loss of CYP3A4.

So yes, by consuming grapefruit effects may be heightened, but dangerously. If you don’t think your dosage is correct, you can increase it with permission from your doctor. For example, you can go from the recommended dose of 50mg to 100mg.* That way, your body will still be working as it should.

*However, if you have medical conditions like heart problems or low blood pressure, this may not be possible.

Does Viagra work instantly?

Sadly Viagra, and pretty much all ED medications, take some time to kick in. This is because the pill first needs to be ingested and dissolved in your gut, before passing into your bloodstream. It then needs to complete its desired effect - in the case of Viagra, increasing blood flow and dilating blood vessels. So don’t wait until just before the act to take your pill.

So, what is the optimum time to take ED meds?

Remember - everyone reacts differently to medication. So the following are only guidelines, however, times vary only slightly between individuals.

For Viagra, you should aim to take a pill around one hour before sex.

You can also take it up to four hours before sex, but effects may begin to lessen the later you leave it. The very latest you can leave it is 30 minutes, although you risk effects not being as strong.

For Cialis, you have a larger window - a tablet lasts up to 36 hours! Again, this is not guaranteed as it lasts different times for everyone.

Cialis contains the ingredient tadalafil and is known as the “weekend pill” due to its long-lasting effects. However, for best results, you should take it two hours before sexual activity.

A third ED treatment, Spedra, is known for its speed in working. Spedra contains avanafil and is widely regarded as the fastest-acting ED drug, taking 20-30 minutes to work. Unlike other pills, this is the recommended time to take Spedra.

Finally, Cialis Daily is worth a mention. This lower dosage (2.5 mg/5 mg) of standard Cialis is taken once a day for as long as you like, allowing for spontaneous sex. This means there’s no planning or waiting times for the medication to enter the bloodstream, you can act on a moment’s notice. However, it is important you take the pill every day, otherwise effects will quickly wear off.

Please note - these times will all be affected by other factors, for example, if you eat a heavy meal or a high-fat meal before taking a pill.

How long will an erection last?

As mentioned above, it’s a myth that you’ll get an erection and it won’t go away for hours, days, weeks at a time! Erections come and go with ED medication as normal. You only need to get aroused and Viagra will work its magic. Once you ejaculate or become unaroused, that erection will quickly go away.

That being said, there is a condition that has been known to cause an extended erection - priapism. Though technically an erection, priapism is an exceptionally rare side effect, rather than an expected result of taking Viagra.

So what is priapism...?

Priapism is a painful erection that refuses to go away after sexual stimulation (e.g. foreplay) or arousal has ended. It has the potential to be serious and can cause long-term damage to the penis.

The medical consensus is that a diagnosis priapism only applies if an erection lasts beyond four hours.

Thankfully, there are a number of treatments for the condition, ranging from medication and smaller procedures to operations.

...and can Viagra cause it?

Unfortunately, yes. However, the chance is minuscule. Priapism is considered a rare or very rare side effect, which means you have less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of experiencing it. It is more common for men who also have sickle cell anemia.

If you think you may have this side effect or other serious side effects of Viagra (e.g. chest pain, allergic reaction, blurred vision, vision loss, hearing loss, etc.), you should seek immediate medical attention. Again, the chance of these occurring is incredibly low.

So should I buy Viagra?

There is nothing stopping you from visiting a healthcare professional and getting his or her advice on what best suits you. Erectile dysfunction can have a number of causes, including things like anxiety and depression. In these cases, prescription drugs for ED most likely won’t work. However, if the cause is physical, you will find a PDE-5 inhibitor very effective.

If you know what works for you, euroClinix currently offers the following medications to order:

Our service is very simple. You complete an online form where you answer medical questions. One of our doctors will review it. If they approve, they will issue a prescription (as these pills are not available over-the-counter). We will then dispatch the chosen pills with next-day delivery.

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Mahesh Chhaya MBBS Written by our editorial team
Last reviewed 16 Mar 2021

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