Navigating the Potential Side Effects of Sildenafil

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Written By Julie Ingram
side effects of Sildenafil

Sildenafil, popularly known as Viagra, treats Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in men or Assigned Males at Birth (AMAB). 

The FDA also approves Sildenafil for treating Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).

It is an effective and safe treatment for these conditions. But it has the potential to cause side effects. 

This article will discuss all the side effects of Sildenafil and who is at risk for these effects. We will also elaborate on how to treat the adverse effects of Sildenafil.

Sildenafil side effects

Although Sildenafil (Viagra) is FDA-approved and heavily tested, it does have some side effects. 

 But not everyone who takes Sildenafil will experience these side effects.

The frequency and severity of these effects vary depending on the individual’s medical and health condition. 

These side effects can be divided into two categories: common and rare. 

We will discuss these side effects of Sildenafil in detail to help you better understand. 

Common side effects of Sildenafil

Chest painSource: Rgstudio_from_Getty_Images
Chest pain

Common side effects of Sildenafil (Viagra) are usually mild. They are temporary and require no to minimal medical attention. 

They occur in more than 1 in 100 people taking Sildenafil. 

You can avoid them if you follow your doctor’s prescription properly. These include 

  • Headache
  • Facial flushing
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Muscle or back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Temporary vision changes 

These negative effects go away on their own within a few hours. Sometimes, adjusting the Sildenafil dosage may help reduce these side effects. 

But if they cause you any concerns, consult a doctor right away. 

Have you ever wondered about the adverse effects of Sildenafil on mental health and fertility? For detailed information, refer to these articles.

Sildenafil’s Impact on Fertility and Reproductive Health

Sildenafil and Mental Health: Effects on Mood and Anxiety

Rare side effects of Sildenafil

Sildenafil can cause rare side effects if taken with other medications or medical conditions. 

They are less common and occur in less than 1 in 1000 people. These include 

  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Vision loss 
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Psychosis
  • Cold sweats 
  • Priapism 
  • Chills 
  • Irregular heartbeat

Sildenafil also has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. 

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include face or throat swelling, difficulty breathing, etc. 

If you experience the above symptoms, immediately stop taking it. Consult your doctor to determine the alternatives to Sildenafil.

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  • How to treat the side effects of Sildenafil

    viagra headacheSource: pixabay
    Headache – Sildenafil’s side effect

    The treatment for side effects of Sildenafil varies based on the specific symptom.

    Here are some tips for managing the common side effects of Sildenafil.

    • Headache: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen can help reduce headache symptoms. Ibuprofen does not interact with Sildenafil. Thus, their combination is safe to use
    • Facial flushing: Drinking plenty of water and avoiding hot beverages can reduce facial flushing.
    • Nasal congestion: Over-the-counter nasal decongestants or saline sprays can reduce nasal congestion.
    • Indigestion: Do not eat fatty foods if you are experiencing indigestion. Also, eating smaller but frequent meals can help with indigestion problems.
    • Blurred vision: If you are experiencing temporary blurred vision or sensitivity to light, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until symptoms settle.

    When to call a doctor for Sildenafil side effects

    If you experience any persistent or serious side effects, it’s important to consult your doctor immediately. This includes symptoms such as:

    • Erection persistent for more than 4 hours
    • Chest pain
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Sudden hearing/ vision changes
    • Difficulty breathing

    Your doctor can determine whether the symptoms are related to Sildenafil. Accordingly, the doctor will provide appropriate treatment.

    Who is at risk for side effects?

    While Sildenafil is safe, some individuals are at higher risk for side effects. This includes people:

    • Those who take specific medications like Nitrates
    • Those who have underlying medical conditions like kidney impairment 
    • Those who have a history of allergy reactions to medications

    Thus, disclosing your full medical history to your doctor is essential.

    This can help your doctor to determine whether taking Sildenafil is safe for you or not.

    You should not take Sildenafil with Nitrates in any case. This is because both Sildenafil and Nitrates work to lower blood pressure. When taken together, they can have an amplified effect, causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

    How to minimize the risk of Sildenafil side effects

    There are several ways to minimize the risk of side effects from Sildenafil. 

    These include following your doctor’s recommendation, avoiding alcohol and grapefruit, etc. 

    1. Take Sildenafil exactly as prescribed
    Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Take Sildenafil at the time prescribed, and do not take more than one dose in 24 hours for ED. 

    2. Avoid alcohol
    Drinking excessive alcohol while taking Sildenafil can increase the risk of side effects like headaches. Also, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the effectiveness of Sildenafil. 

    3. Avoid grapefruit
    Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking Sildenafil, as it can increase the medication levels in your body. This raises the risk of side effects. 

    4. Start with a lower dose
    Always start with a lower dose of Sildenafil to reduce the risk of side effects. This is because higher doses can cause more side effects than lower doses. Therefore, consult a doctor to determine the appropriate dosage for you.

    5. Be aware of drug interactions
    Inform your doctor if you are taking other medications or have medical conditions. They can interact with Sildenafil and increase the risk of side effects.

    For an in-depth exploration of the topic, refer to this articleMastering Sildenafil: How to Use it for the Best Results

    Minimizing the risk of Sildenafil side effects becomes important for individuals within the age range of 40-50. As they may have a higher likelihood of pre-existing medical conditions or be taking other medications.


    In summary, Sildenafil is a safe and effective medicine. But it can cause side effects, especially if not taken as prescribed.

    The common side effects include headache, facial flushing, and indigestion. These side effects are mild and temporary. 

    In rare cases, serious side effects can occur, like prolonged erections. 

    If you experience any side effects, consult your doctor. He/she may adjust the dosage or recommend other ED and PAH treatments. 

    Overall, with proper management of side effects, Sildenafil is a safe treatment for ED.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can Sildenafil cure Erectile Dysfunction?

    Sildenafil cannot cure Erectile Dysfunction; it can only treat ED. It can temporarily improve blood flow to the penis, which can help men to get or maintain an erection. Thus, revamping their sexual lives.

    Can Sildenafil cause long-term side effects?

    Yes, Sildenafil can cause long-term side effects. Although it is a well-tolerated medicine, in rare cases, it can cause side effects that may last for a longer time. These can include prolonged erections, sudden vision or hearing loss, cardiovascular issues, etc.

    Does lemon juice affect Sildenafil?

    No, lemon juice does not affect Sildenafil. It does not cause any alterations in the absorption or processing of Sildenafil. But it is important to talk to a doctor as metabolism differs from person to person.

    How long does it take for Sildenafil’s side effects to go away?

    Side effects of Sildenafil are temporary. They disappear in a few days or a week. But some side effects may be serious, like vision changes or psychosis. These serious side effects take time to get treated.

    How can I reduce the Sildenafil side effects?

    To reduce the risk of Sildenafil’s side effects, take the medication as the doctor prescribes. Do not drink alcohol or grapefruit juice. They can exacerbate the side effects like headaches. Instead, drink plenty of water to avoid flushing.

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