Viagra Online: The ins and outs of Sildenafil online

You’ve seen the commercial. There’s a middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair doing something manly and rugged: he’s sailing, playing backyard football, or pulling his truck out of the mud with a team of horses.  He laughs, smiles, and pulls his lady-friend in close.

And then they end up in separate bathtubs in the backyard or overlooking the Grand Canyon. We laugh. We joke. We poke fun at our co-workers the next day.
But for some erectile dysfunction is a real issue, not a joke.

Viagra online

Erectile dysfunction (commonly referred to as ED) affects as much as 52 percent of men across various age groups. And while treatment options continue to improve, the embarrassment and awkwardness surrounding the issue have not. Many questions go unanswered, leading men to scour an internet full of wrong information and risky solutions.

Medications like Viagra offer an opportunity to regain sexual function but are not without some risk. Several important details, including where to buy Viagra, need to be discussed before you ever take that first dose.

What is Viagra?

Viagra, the world’s favorite little blue pill, is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Interestingly, sildenafil (the name of the drug in Viagra) was not originally designed and studied to treat ED, but rather for another condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a blood pressure problem in the lungs. Sildenafil, marketed as Revatio, was studied to help improve blood flow to the lungs and reduce strain on the heart.

But the lungs weren’t the only place blood flow was increased. A major “side effect” of these medications in males was erections. The drug manufacturers saw the potential and a new class of drugs was born.

How to take Viagra?

According to the prescribing information included in the package insert, Viagra is typically taken an hour before sexual activity. However, it can be taken anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours before. Viagra comes in strengths of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg, with 50mg being the typical starting dose. Dosing adjustments and effectiveness can be influenced by a variety of factors including:

  • Age
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Overall Health

Viagra can be taken with or without food, however, a high-fat meal can reduce absorption.

How long does it take for Viagra to work?

Viagra can start to work in as little as thirty to sixty minutes. Actual onset will be based on the individual taking the medication and is influenced by those factors already mentioned. It’s important to remember that Viagra doesn’t magically cause an erection. There must be some form of sexual stimulation to initiate the desired effect.

How long does the Viagra effect last?

Viagra typically lasts two to three hours but may last as long as five hours. Again, the effect is based on the individual and other factors.  Now, before you get too excited (pun intended), that timeframe is how long after you’ve taken the pill that an erection can possibly occur, not how long the erection actually lasts.
Erections lasting that long lead to serious problems and must be addressed immediately.

Viagra side effects

Think about every drug commercial you’ve ever seen. There’s always the part, right before the end, where the voice speeds up and lists a mountain of possible side effects. Viagra is no different and isn’t without side effects. Let’s look at some of the most common and the most important:

Common Side Effects

The top three most common side effects are:

  • Headache (16 percent)
  • Flushing (10 percent)
  • Indigestion (7 percent)
  • These side effects were dose-dependent, meaning the higher the dose, the greater the risk of the side effect.
  • Abnormal vision is a common side effect of note in doses of 100mg. The percentage is small in the lower doses (1-2 percent) but climbs to 11 percent in the higher dose.

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare in most medications. They have to be or else the drug would never be allowed to be prescribed. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.  Viagra’s serious, but rare, side effects can be separated into three categories:

  • Cardiovascular: Remember back to how Viagra was initially discovered: while searching a blood pressure type drug. When the commercial says “ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex”, it is because Viagra changes blood flow and blood pressure. Changes in either of these can lead to anything from mild dizziness or a headache to heart attack or stroke. Check with a healthcare provider first if you have a history of heart problems or take blood pressure medicines.
  • Erectile: Erections lasting more than four hours are a major concern with Viagra. If this happens, it’s a “go to the Emergency Room immediately” type situation. If not treated, permanent damage could result. Too much of a good thing can, in fact, be a bad thing.
  • Eyes and Ears: Sudden vision or hearing loss is a cause for concern and is another “seek immediate medical attention” scenario. These side effects could be experienced in one or both eyes or ears. Mild cases such as blurry vision, color changes, dizziness, or ringing in the ears should also be reported to your primary care provider.

How does Viagra compare to other erectile dysfunction drugs?

All three of the common ED medications work the same way and target the same receptor in the body: phosphodiesterase 5. Because the medications have the same mechanism, the results and side effects will be similar. However, there may be few small differences in how well the medications work, how quickly they take effect, and how long they last. Some of these, like everything else, are influenced by the individual’s overall health.

Cialis vs. Viagra

Cialis vs Viagra

The major difference in Viagra and Cialis centers around timing. Cialis can last 24 to 36 hours in the body, meaning you have a larger window to achieve an erection. Cialis may need to be taken as early as two hours before sexual activity to be fully effective. Cialis also carries an additional indication for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In comparative studies, approximately 70 percent of patients preferred Cialis over Viagra.

Levitra vs Viagra

Levitra is comparable to Viagra both in onset and duration, so no real difference here. In comparative studies, neither medication was preferred, and both fell short when compared to Cialis.

Is it safe to buy Viagra online?

Viagra is one of the most counterfeited medicines on the planet. So much so, Pfizer (the maker of Viagra) created a Global Security team to research the problem. Here’s what they found:

  • 80 percent of sites claiming to sell Viagra were selling counterfeit medication.
  • Pills contained more or less than the recommended 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg doses.
  • Agents such as drywall, rat poison, and boric acid were used to make counterfeit pills.
  • Pills contained illicit drugs such as amphetamines or powerful antibiotics such as metronidazole.
  • Purchasers were at increased risk for cyber-related crimes such as identity theft.

There are major risks and concerns when buying anything online, even more so when that thing is something you will put inside your body. That being said, there are some ways to ensure you get the right medicine without risking your health or even your life.

Where to buy Viagra online?

Regulatory bodies such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) echo the risk of buying medications online and offer several resources to help weed out potential scams and counterfeit medications. According to these organizations, safe online pharmacies:

  • Require a valid prescription
  • Are licensed by a regulatory body such as a state board of pharmacy
  • Have pharmacists on staff and available for questions
  • Secure and protect personal and health-related information

Additionally, the NABP maintains a list of “Not Recommended” drug websites and a certification program known as Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites or VIPPS. Once certified, the online pharmacy is awarded a VIPPS Seal and is considered safe to use.

Now that we’ve covered buying Viagra online from ONLY reputable sources, let’s focus on what it takes to get the little blue pill delivered straight to your door, either with or (in some cases) without a prescription.

Can you buy Viagra online with a prescription?

Viagra online

After talking with your primary care provider, purchasing Viagra online with a prescription is almost as easy as visiting your neighborhood pharmacy.

  1. Select your preferred VIPPS approved online pharmacy and complete the new patient information application.
  2. Add any necessary insurance and payment information.
  3. Send the required prescription. (The pharmacy or doctor’s office may take care of this part.)
  4. Wait for the prescription to be verified, filled, and shipped to your door.

Each pharmacy may have its own set of policies regarding online prescriptions. The pharmacy may contact you to verify your information or the pharmacist may want to speak with you about Viagra before sending you the prescription.

Telehealth programs offer a more discrete way to obtain medications like Viagra. Physicians conduct an evaluation with the patient in their own home through online messaging, phone calls, or video chat. If the patient is a candidate for Viagra, the prescription can be shipped to their house by the program’s online pharmacy or picked up at any other pharmacy the patient chooses.

Pfizer also offers a program called Pfizer Direct. This program allows you to get Viagra through MedVantx (a VIPPS online pharmacy). There are, however, certain conditions and requirements:

  • Prescriptions are required.
  • Insurance will not be billed.
  • Patients pay $34 per pill.

Getting viagra online without a prescription

Laws that govern medications are not universal and can vary widely from country to country. Depending on where you live, you have the option to buy some medications, even Viagra, without a prescription. But before clicking the “Buy Now” button, be sure to do your homework and check with a reputable source such as a physician or pharmacist.

The United Kingdom, for example, recently changed a 50mg version of sildenafil known as Viagra Connect from a prescription-only medicine to a pharmacy medicine. Viagra Connect can now be sold without a prescription after consulting with a pharmacist.

Another alternative offered in the UK is an online assessment. In this instance, the patient goes online and fills out a questionnaire which is then reviewed by a physician (similar to the telehealth example above). After review, the patient will be shipped Viagra Connect without the need for a prescription. Patients needing higher doses or wanting more than four tablets are still required to see their primary care provider and obtain a prescription.

Generic Viagra

The same rules that apply to brand-name Viagra, apply for its generic equivalent sildenafil (and any other ED medication).

  • How the medication works, the risks and the side effects will be the same even if pill looks different. (Viagra is a blue pill; sildenafil is white).
  • The generic version is verified and validated by the FDA to ensure the same active ingredients.
  • Prescriptions may be required depending on where you live.
  • Use only a verified online pharmacy.

Most pharmacies will offer to substitute brand-name Viagra for the generic to help reduce cost. Some may even be required by law to do so unless the prescriber specifically requires the brand.

Pfizer Direct is one exception. That program states it will only dispense Viagra.

Final thoughts

Sexual performance is a sensitive subject and requires a certain level of discretion. Don’t let embarrassment or denial lead you to a bad decision. Use the information above as a guide to start your own research using reputable sources.

Viagra and medications like it have helped millions of men worldwide. It is safe and effective when taken correctly and obtained from a reliable pharmacy. Trying to save money or your reputation by dealing with questionable online merchants is not worth the risk of buying a contaminated product.

Last, and most important, remember to always consult a licensed health professional before starting any new medication or treatment program. Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and others are ready and willing to answer any questions you have.

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