Viagra is a safe and effective erectile dysfunction treatment for many men.

However, there are instances when taking it could be dangerous or counterproductive.

These include:

  1. cases of recreational drug or excessive alcohol use
  2. where there is a risk of contraindication with other medications
  3. where other health conditions are present
  4. cases of relationship difficulties
  5. cases where ED is not present
  6. where someone may be allergic to its ingredients
  7. when the user is not male
  8. when it has previously caused side effects
  9. when the user doesn’t have a prescription for it
  10. where it may be counterfeit
  11. when the user doesn’t plan to have sex

Consequently each individual patient should be assessed by a doctor before a decision is made to prescribe Viagra.

The doctor will take into account current and past medical history including any medications being taken.

Here we will take a look at the factors which may render Viagra unsuitable.

In cases of recreational drug or excessive alcohol use

The level at which you drink alcohol and whether or not you use recreational drugs can impede on your ability to obtain an erection.

In order to minimise the potential health risks associated with alcohol consumption, the NHS advises that adults should not drink more than 14 units over the course of one week.

It is also pertinent to mention that sustained alcohol misuse can permanently damage the arteries that supply blood to the penis.

Drinking alcohol or taking drugs when using Viagra can reduce its efficacy. In order to get the best possible response from the medication you should avoid drinking alcohol in excessive amounts and refrain from taking recreational drugs.

Individuals who report drug taking or alcohol misuse should be encouraged to seek treatment for these conditions in the first instance.

Where there is a risk of contraindication with other medications

Viagra should not be used in conjunction with certain medications due to the potential interactions that might occur.

  • Nitrates. Viagra is known to increase the hypotensive effects of nitrate medications and is therefore a contraindication for patients taking nitrates or nitric oxide donors.
  • ED medicines. Viagra is not to be used in conjunction with other oral or local ED medications.
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension medicines. Some drugs used to treat PAH also contain PDE5 inhibitors and so should not be used in conjunction with Viagra.

Where there is a risk of exacerbating health conditions

Your general health can alter the suitability of Viagra as an erectile dysfunction treatment. Before your GP prescribes Viagra they may wish to establish if you have any underlying health conditions contributing to the presence of ED. 

If you have (or have had) any of the following health conditions you should not take Viagra:

  • Recent heart attack
  • Recent stroke
  • Low blood pressure
  • Severe cardiac problems or heart disease
  • Severe liver problems or liver disease
  • Rare inherited eye disease
  • Non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy (NAION)

While Viagra may not be a suitable option when taken in combination with the above conditions, there are alternative treatment options for ED that may pose less of a risk to health.

If you have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions you should speak to your doctor before commencing ED treatment:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Haemophilia
  • Heart problems
  • Sickle cell anaemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Leukaemia

These particular conditions may influence the Viagra dosage that your doctor prescribes.

  • Peyronie's disease

Peyronie's disease is a condition where fibrous plaque develops on the inside of the shaft of the penis. This can cause the penis to change shape or become deformed.

If you have been diagnosed with this condition or if you notice a change in the usual shape of your penis, you should not take Viagra and instead speak to your doctor.

In cases of relationship difficulties

Dealing with impotence in a relationship can be a sensitive subject. The emotional pressure of the condition can take its toll on both parties.

Navigating difficult times in your relationship can have a physical effect on your body, and previous negative experiences can sometimes cast a shadow on new sexual relationships.

In these instances, psychological support through counselling can be beneficial, as it may treat the underlying cause of ED rather than the symptoms.

In cases where ED is not present

Viagra is intended to treat men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, therefore it should not be used by those who do not have erection problems.

It is not to be used on a recreational basis or to enhance sexual performance, as doing so can prove counterproductive. If you take Viagra in order to improve the duration and strength of your erection, you could end up developing ED when you try to engage in sex without it.

Where someone may be allergic to its ingredients

If you have an allergy to any of the ingredients used in Viagra you should never use it under any circumstances. Also, if you take Viagra and notice an allergic reaction you should discontinue use and inform your doctor.

In female cases (of sexual dysfunction or otherwise)

Viagra should only be used by males. Women seeking treatment for sexual function problems should consult their doctor.

In cases where it has previously caused side effects

If you have used Viagra in the past and experienced intolerable side effects then you should cease using it. There are alternative ED treatments available which you can discuss with your doctor.

In cases where you don’t have a prescription for it

You should only take Viagra if it has been prescribed for you by a qualified doctor or healthcare professional. This is important because your doctor is able to make an informed decision about any potential risks when prescribing a medication. However, if you choose to bypass a doctor’s consultation, whether it be online or face-to-face, then you leave yourself open to unsafe practices.

Do not accept Viagra pills off a friend; even though the drug may have been prescribed for them under similar circumstances to those of your own, you could be subject to a potentially dangerous contraindication.

If you decide to purchase your Viagra online then you must make sure that you do so from a reputable source.

In cases where it may be counterfeit

If you buy Viagra and suspect that it is not the genuine medication then you should not take it. In the UK Viagra can be safely bought with a prescription from pharmacies regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

It is possible to buy Viagra safely online. Make sure that you check the pharmacy’s credentials before doing so.

If you don’t plan to have sex

Viagra should only be taken when you want to engage in sexual activity. When sexually stimulated the effects of Viagra usually become apparent between 30-60 minutes after the pill has been taken. It should be noted that Viagra is only to be taken once within any 24 hour period.

If Viagra does not help you to achieve an erection suitable for intercourse then you should speak to your doctor. Do not alter the dosage which has been prescribed for you.