Sildenafil is an incredibly popular prescription drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, especially the famous brand-name product, Viagra. Many men have used it for years, so it’s only natural that some would worry about the long-term effects of regularly using sildenafil. The good news is that the negative effects are few and far-between, and they can be avoided.
There are very rare and serious side effects associated with sildenafil use, including sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, sudden loss of hearing in one or both ears, and an erection lasting four or more hours. These side effects don’t become more likely with continued use, however. It’s simple probabilities: if you roll a dice enough times, it becomes more likely you get a number you don’t want, even though the odds of rolling that number haven’t changed. Likewise, if you use sildenafil for longer, you’re more likely to experience side effects, even though the likelihood of these side effects occurring hasn’t increased.
Some patients who have taken sildenafil for erectile dysfunction report suffering from cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmia, and strokes. However, most of these users were already at risk for these serious conditions.
Recreational use of sildenafil can lead to a host of problems
The most serious potential side effects of sildenafil are exclusive to recreational users, those who don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction but take sildenafil anyway. While sildenafil is not addictive, many recreational users develop a psychological dependency on the drug; they feel they are inadequate without sildenafil to bolster their confidence in the bedroom. Psychological dependence can, in a cruel twist of irony, lead to erectile dysfunction, as users become convinced they need the drug in order to satisfy their partners. If this happens to you, a psychologist can help you get your sex life back on track.
Years ago, there was a report circulated claiming that long-term use of sildenafil, specifically Viagra, could learn to a permanent loss of sex drive and genital shrinkage. This report was entirely false, cited unreliable sources, and has been thoroughly debunked. Rumors like this may have come from recreational users not noticing a decline in natural performance related to other health issues. These users take sildenafil so frequently for an extended length of time, the drug effectively masks what is happening to their bodies, so they don’t find out until they attempt to perform without it.
Curiously, a study has found one desirable long-term effect of regular sildenafil usage. While the study is quick to establish that follow-up research is necessary, early findings suggest that regular use of sildenafil over one or more years can lead to regaining the ability to achieve natural erections by widening blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction caused by psychological reasons can also be treated with sildenafil, since the drug can give you a much-needed confidence boost in the bedroom.
Can Viagra Be Taken Daily?
Doctors recommend taking sildenafil products such as Viagra as needed, one hour before sexual activity, though not more than 100 mg a day. If you expect to have sex every day, Viagra is safe to use daily, so long as you don’t exceed 100 mg. Taking more than this amount has no benefit, and will not improve your erections.
It should be noted that Viagra was released in 1998, so it’s still a relatively new medication. Data on long-term use is sparse.
How Many Years Can You Take Viagra?
From the available data, there don’t appear to be a limit on how long you can use sildenafil products like Viagra. So long as you have a prescription, talk regularly with your doctor, and don’t exceed 100 mg a day, you can use sildenafil indefinitely.
Viagra Long Term Tolerance
Some men may find sildenafil less effective for their erectile dysfunction over time. While it’s possible for the body to build up a tolerance to sildenafil, like with many other drugs, there may be other factors at play.
First, make sure you’re targeting your specific cause of erectile dysfunction. Viagra increases blood flow to the penis, but if your problem lies elsewhere, like a lack of sexual desire, then sildenafil won’t be much help.
Second, be sure to deal with other health issues. If your erectile dysfunction is a side effect of another health problem, sildenafil may become less effective as these problems worsen. Make sure you’re monitoring all serious health conditions you suffer from, and get regular checkups from your doctor.
Third, watch what you’re putting into your body. Alcohol can cancel out sildenafil’s effects, and nicotine from cigarette smoke is a vasoconstrictor that works against sildenafil’s vasodilation. Be sure you’re getting genuine sildenafil in the proper doses, too; online pharmacies that sell without a prescription will often provide you with counterfeit tablets that contain little or no sildenafil.
Fourth, remember that sildenafil only works in conjunction with arousal and stimulation. Spending more time on foreplay can work wonders for your ability to achieve an erection, and your spouse will thank you for it, too.
If you and your doctor come to the conclusion that you are, in fact, building up a tolerance to sildenafil, there are alternative medications you can try, so don’t despair.
Taking Viagra When Not Needed
You should never take sildenafil without a prescription. If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, or you think you do, consult your doctor first.
Recreational use of sildenafil is dangerous, as it can lead to psychological dependency. Sildenafil is not an addictive drug, but if you depend on it to increase your performance when you can already achieve an erection naturally, it can lead to an addiction. This addiction can actually lead to erectile dysfunction, as you find yourself doubting or unsatisfied with your natural performance, and rely on sildenafil to boost your confidence.
If you take sildenafil recreationally to increase your prowess in the bedroom, you might miss changes in your body. Some serious medical conditions can decrease your performance as a side effect, but you won’t notice these changes unless you try to perform without sildenafil.
Data is more mixed for patients who actually do suffer from erectile dysfunction. Taking less than 100 mg a day, even when not expecting sexual activity, might help restore blood flow to the penis and lead to an easier time achieving erections naturally. However, it can also lead to a higher chance of side effects, not because the side effects are any more likely, but simply because sildenafil is in your system longer.
In the US, sildenafil is a prescription-only drug. By law, pharmacies cannot sell you the drug without a prescription from your doctor.
Online pharmacies willing to sell you sildenafil without a prescription, or offering to write their own prescriptions, are often scams. Some of these sites will sell you inferior products laced with other chemicals, including ones that you may have an adverse reaction to. Others will take your money and never ship a product.
When used properly, sildenafil is a safe and reliable treatment option for erectile dysfunction, even over the long term. However, taking more than the recommended dosage per day, or using sildenafil recreationally, can lead to serious problems down the road. Know the risks and talk to your doctor before taking sildenafil.