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How Long Does Viagra Last?

Viagra (sildenafil) is the very well-known drug for erectile dysfunction (ED). This prescription medicine increases the flow of blood to the penis to help men obtain erections from sexual stimulation. It’s important to understand that Viagra doesn’t automatically cause an erection. Sexual arousal is necessary to attain this.

Once you are sexually stimulated, the drug works to allow pressurized blood to fill your penis, making it erect and allowing you to sustain your erection so you can have intercourse. So, if you are taking Viagra for ED, you may wonder how long the effects last. Most of the literature indicates that you will see results for 2 to 3 hours after taking your little blue pill, and the effect can last for up to 5 hours per dose. A 2004 study indicates these number may be misleading though.

Extended Results

Appearing in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, this September 2004 research study saw Viagra effectiveness in study participants as many as 12 hours after taking the drug. They learned that 82% of participants who had a response to their Viagra dose in one hour were still able to obtain a firm erection 7 hours later, 8 hours after taking the pill. This was in response to visual stimulation of a sexual nature.

Moreover, 45% of the same study participants showed continued varied degrees of response at the 12-hour mark. Though the duration of their erections continued to decrease as the time spans increased, these results show that Viagra may remain effective for far longer than 3 to 5 hours for many men.

Contributing Factors

Many outside and internal factors can impact both the effectiveness of Viagra and the length of time in which it continues to work. Things like food consumption and diet can alter how quickly the drug is absorbed into your bloodstream. Bloodstream absorption is vital for the drug’s effectiveness, the speed in which it activates, and the length of time that it remains in your system.

There’s good news for seniors over the age of 65. Your dose of Viagra may last longer. And, as with all medications, drug interactions play a role as well. Some prescriptions can influence how quickly your body clears the Viagra. This will impact the duration of the Viagra’s effectiveness.

The following criteria can potentially impact the effectiveness of Viagra and the duration of its effect:

  • Dose – Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage for you, ranging from 25mg to 100mg. Higher dosages provide greater effectiveness and extend the duration of its effects.
  • Age – As you age, your metabolism slows down, and it takes longer for your body to process whatever you ingest, including medication. Therefore, the older you are, the longer your Viagra remains in your system, thereby extending its effectiveness.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol is not at all helpful in obtaining and sustaining an erection, since it reduces the flow of blood to your penis. Abstaining completely is not required, but keeping your intake to only one beer or a single glass of wine will help minimize the negative impact of alcohol on your ED.
  • Diet – Large meals with high fat content can cause a delay in the onset of your Viagra’s effectiveness. But don’t rush out and dose yourself on an empty stomach. While it’s true that your pill will likely start working faster, the results won’t last as long. Moderation is key.
  • Health conditions – Health problems can impact the effectiveness of your ED medication. For example, those men who suffer from significant liver or kidney disease may see longer effectiveness of their Viagra medication. These conditions delay the speed in which your body clears the drug from your system. Share a complete medical history with your doctor when being prescribed Viagra.
  • Drug interactions – Medications, such as specific antibiotics, will impact the duration of your Viagra’s effectiveness.

What to Watch Out For

Viagra has been on the market since early 1998, and as such, has a long history of success and safety. However, there are some dangers and precautions to be aware of and watch out for. The most well-known potential side-effect of Viagra is priapism.

This rare side effect is present with most ED prescription medications. In short, Priapism is an erection that won’t quit. This persistent state is usually painful and needs no sexual stimulation to continue. Priapism is a serious condition that may cause long-term or permanent damage to your penis. The rule of thumb is to seek medical intervention immediately if your erection lasts longer than 4 hours.

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