Viagra, which has the active ingredient sildenafil citrate, is a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. Viagra is marketed by Pfizer Inc., and has been on the market since 1998, when the FDA approved it. Since it was introduced, Viagra has been used by approximately 25 million men.

Although several competing drugs, such as Cialis and Levitra, now exist, Viagra was the first oral pill approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED, is the inability to maintain an erection adequate for sexual intercourse. In the U.S., millions of men suffer from ED, which can be brought on by either psychological problems (such as depression, anxiety, or self-doubt) or physical problems (such as diabetes, prostate-cancer surgery, or vascular disease).

How Viagra Works

Unlike previously approved treatments for impotence, Viagra does not directly cause penile erections. Instead, Viagra affects the body’s response to sexual stimulation. Specifically, Viagra acts by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide, a muscle-relaxing chemical that the body naturally releases in response to sexual stimulation. By enhancing the chemical’s muscle-relaxing effects, Viagra increases blood flow into the penis, leading to an erection.

Viagra comes in three strengths: 25 milligrams, 50 milligrams and 100 milligrams. As with most medications, appropriate dosage depends on the person and the nature of their problem. Generally, urologists say men with ED caused by psychological problems tend to require smaller doses than men with physical problems.

In order to work properly, Viagra should be taken 30 minutes to an hour before sexual activity is initiated. According to the manufacturer, Viagra’s effects last for at least four hours. Doctors and patients, on the other hand, report that Viagra maintains some effectiveness for eight to twelve hours. Either way, the erection ends naturally after orgasm.

Who Should Not Take Viagra

Viagra should never be taken without a prescription. Although it is commonly bought on the street and on the internet, Viagra can be dangerous if taken with certain other medications or illegal drugs. Particularly, Viagra can be extremely dangerous if taken by people using nitrate drugs, often prescribed for chest pains (angina). In addition, Viagra should not be taken by anyone for whom sexual activity might be dangerous.

In recent years, Viagra has been linked to serious side effects such as blindness and hearing loss. If you or a family member took Viagra and suffered a serious side effect, you may be entitled to compensation for you injuries. Contact our experienced lawyers today to learn more.

Published November 17, 2011 by