Viagra ( Sildenafil )

What Happens When You Use Viagra But Don t Have ED

Urologists can confidently inform healthy young men asking for the drug that they will not benefit from it. This may reduce the risks of casual usage in association with drugs like ecstasy or amyl nitrate, with the attendant dangers.”

Taking Viagra for fun: is it safe?

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Viagra (generic name sildenafil; see Important Safety Information) is the go-to prescription medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), and with good reason. It works well, and it’s generally safe to use if you don’t have certain underlying health conditions and if you’re not taking certain other medications.

But is Viagra so safe that you can use it if you don’t have ED? You might be tempted to “borrow” a pill from a friend’s prescription just to try it. After all, if it helps men with ED get an erection, doesn’t it stand to reason it may help you get a stronger erection even if you don’t have ED? It’s not that simple. We talked to Seth Cohen, MD, a urologist at NYU Langone, to get his take.

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Is it safe to use recreational Viagra?

“This is a little bit of a loaded question,” says Cohen.

First—and this is very important—you should talk with a healthcare provider before you start taking any medication. And when you talk with them, really talk honestly about your medical history and any other medications or supplements you’re currently taking. That will help your provider determine if Viagra is right (and safe) for you—it’s not safe for everyone.

But when we talk about the recreational use of Viagra, what does that mean?

“If the average guy comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, if I just take a small dose of Viagra, is that going to do anything really negative to me?’ Nine times out of ten, the answer would be no,” says Cohen. “But if someone has a heart defect or he’s on other medications for high blood pressure, that could do some damage.”
Viagra and other ED medications known as PDE5 inhibitors can be unsafe to take with certain medical conditions or medications, and taking it can cause complications (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019).

What if you don’t have medical issues?

Okay, so taking Viagra for fun is a pretty bad idea if you have health issues or are taking other medications, but what if you know for sure you’re healthy and aren’t taking any medications? In general, erectile dysfunction drugs are safe to take if your heart is healthy and you aren’t on any other medications that would interact with them.

Cohen says, “If we’re talking about someone relatively young, with no cardiac risk factors or other serious health conditions, who aren’t on other medications that interact with PDE5 inhibitors, then I would say at a low dose, Viagra is a reasonably innocuous medication that will just improve their erectile function.”

But if you’re interested in the recreational use of Viagra, Cohen says he’d be curious what you mean by “recreational.”

Do you need a prescription for Viagra?

“If your sex life is good, why do you need to take Viagra?” he says. “People who ask for these medications are asking for a reason. Maybe they’re dealing with performance anxiety. When they masturbate, their penis is hard and everything’s easy to achieve and maintain, but when they’re in front of a partner, they prematurely ejaculate or lose their erection too quickly. That is a form of erectile dysfunction. There’s nothing wrong in their penis, but psychologically, there’s an issue.”

In most cases, according to Cohen, “guys who get Viagra from a friend or take it from their parents’ cabinet may call that ‘recreational use,’ but they may actually have erectile problems.” And since erectile dysfunction can be a sign of another health condition, it’s essential to get that checked out by a healthcare provider.

Viagra as a party drug

Another level of recreational use involves taking Viagra along with other drugs for “chemsex,” or chemical sex, which describes using drugs in your sex life. This can be very unsafe, especially since these party drugs can interact with each other and Viagra in a dangerous way.

A good example of this is “poppers.” Commonly used on the club scene, “poppers” are small glass vials filled with a substance called amyl nitrite. When combined with Viagra, these drugs can cause a severe drop in blood pressure that, in the best-case scenario, will cause dizziness and, in the worst-case scenario, will cause death (Le, 2020).

Similar drugs are used by healthcare professionals to treat heart conditions, so if you’re currently receiving treatment with nitrates, or you’ve ever been diagnosed with a heart-related condition in the past, it’s particularly crucial that you check with a healthcare provider before trying erectile dysfunction medications.

What is natural Viagra? Does herbal Viagra work?

Viagra side effects

Viagra and other ED medications can have side effects including headache, facial flushing, nasal congestion, stomach upset, backache, and, rarely, temporary impaired color vision (men with the eye condition retinitis pigmentosa should check with their healthcare providers before using those prescriptions) (MedlinePlus, 2018).

If you’re interested in trying Viagra, or you suspect you might have ED, it really is a good idea to talk with a healthcare provider. That can be daunting because of the embarrassment factor, but there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Sexual function is just as important an aspect of men’s health as any other. And keep in mind that you’re not alone. Researchers estimate that around 30 million men in the U.S. have experienced erectile dysfunction (Nunes, 2012).

“Treat your body as best you can and take your health as a priority,” says Cohen. “Just like you would seek medical help for anything major, why not go to a professional and have ED treated professionally instead of taking these matters into your own hands?”

Speak to a healthcare provider about your concerns so you can get treatment.

References

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Are erectile dysfunction pills safe for men with heart disease? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/are-erectile-dysfunction-pills-safe-for-men-with-heart-disease
  2. Le, A., Yockey, A., & Palamar, J. J. (2020). Use of “Poppers” among Adults in the United States, 2015-2017. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 52(5), 433–439. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2020.1791373. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32669067/
  3. MedlinePlus. (2018). Sildenafil. NIH: National Library of Medicine. Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2022 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699015.html
  4. Nunes, K. P., Labazi, H., & Webb, R. C. (2012). New insights into hypertension-associated erectile dysfunction. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, 21(2), 163–170. doi: 10.1097/mnh.0b013e32835021bd. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4004343/

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Important Safety Information for Sildenafil (Viagra)

What are the most important things I need to know about VIAGRA® (sildenafil citrate) 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg tablets and generic VIAGRA®?

Discuss your health with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough for sex. If you experience chest pain, dizziness, or nausea during sex, seek immediate emergency medical attention.

  • VIAGRA® and generic VIAGRA® can cause serious side effects. Serious, but rare, side effects include:
    • an erection that will not go away (priapism). If you have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, seek emergency medical attention right away. If it is not treated right away, priapism can permanently damage your penis.
    • sudden vision loss in one or both eyes. Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes can be a sign of a serious eye problem called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). Stop taking VIAGRA and call your healthcare provider right away if you have any sudden vision loss
    • sudden hearing decrease or hearing loss. Some people may also have ringing in their ears (tinnitus) or dizziness. If you have these symptoms, stop taking VIAGRA and contact a doctor right away

    Who should not take VIAGRA® or generic VIAGRA®?

    Do not take VIAGRA® or generic VIAGRA® if you:

    • Take any medicines called nitrates, often prescribed for chest pain, or guanylate cyclase stimulators like Adempas (riociguat) for pulmonary hypertension. Your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level
    • Are allergic to sildenafil, as contained in VIAGRA® and REVATIO®, or any of the ingredients in VIAGRA® or generic VIAGRA® tablets.
    • Are a women or a child

    When should I call my primary provider?

    Call your primary provider right away if you:

    • Have an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours
    • Experience a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
    • Experience a sudden decrease in or loss of hearing
    • Experience chest pain, dizziness, or nausea during sex
    • Take too much Viagra or sildenafil citrate

    If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.

    What are the most common side effects of VIAGRA® and generic VIAGRA®?

    • headache
    • flushing
    • upset stomach
    • abnormal vision, such as changes in color vision (such as having a blue color tinge) and blurred vision
    • stuffy or runny nose
    • back pain
    • muscle pain
    • nausea
    • dizziness
    • rash

    What should I tell my Roman-affiliated provider before taking VIAGRA® and generic VIAGRA®?

    Before you take VIAGRA® or generic VIAGRA® , tell your healthcare provider if you:

    • Have or have had heart problems such as a heart attack,irregular heartbeat, angina, chest pain, narrowing of the aortic valve, or heart failure
    • Have had heart surgery within the last 6 months
    • Have pulmonary hypertension
    • Have had a stroke
    • Have low blood pressure, or high blood pressure that is not controlled
    • Have a deformed penis shape
    • Have had an erection that lasted for more than 4 hours
    • Have problems with your blood cells such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia
    • Have retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic (runs in families) eye disease
    • Have ever had severe vision loss, including an eye problem called NAION
    • Have bleeding problems
    • Have or have had stomach or intestinal ulcers
    • Have liver problems
    • Have kidney problems or are having kidney dialysis
    • Have any other medical conditions

    Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

    VIAGRA may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect the way VIAGRA works, causing side effects.

    Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following:

    • Medicines called nitrates
    • Medicines called guanylate cyclase stimulators such as Adempas® (riociguat)
    • Medicines called alpha-blockers such as Hytrin® (terazosin HCl), Flomax® (tamsulosin HCl), Cardura® (doxazosin mesylate), Minipress® (prazosin HCl), Uroxatral® (alfuzosin HCl), Jalyn® (dutasteride and tamsulosin HCl), or Rapaflo® (silodosin). Alpha-blockers are sometimes prescribed for prostate problems or high blood pressure. In some patients, the use of VIAGRA® with alpha-blockers can lead to a drop in blood pressure or to fainting
    • Medicines called HIV protease inhibitors, such as ritonavir (Norvir®), indinavir sulfate (Crixivan®), saquinavir (Fortovase® or Invirase®), or atazanavir sulfate (Reyataz®)
    • Oral antifungal medicines, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral®) and itraconazole (Sporanox®)
    • Antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin®), telithromycin (Ketek®), or erythromycin
    • Other medicines that treat high blood pressure
    • Other medicines or treatments for ED
    • VIAGRA® contains sildenafil, which is the same medicine found in another drug called REVATIO®. REVATIO® is used to treat a rare disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). VIAGRA® should not be used with REVATIO® or with other PAH treatments containing sildenafil or any other PDE5 inhibitors (such as Adcirca [tadalafil])

    Withholding or providing inaccurate information about your health and medical history in order to obtain treatment may result in harm, including, in some cases, death.

    What is the FDA-approved use of VIAGRA® and generic VIAGRA®?

    VIAGRA® (sildenafil citrate) is prescription medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

    Roman-affiliated doctors may prescribe VIAGRA® or generic VIAGRA® for the treatment of premature ejaculation (PE), if they believe in their medical judgment that it is an appropriate course of treatment. While this is not an FDA-approved use of the drug, the American Urological Association has included the use of sildenafil citrate in the treatment of PE in its Guideline on the Pharmacologic Management of Premature Ejaculation.

    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription products to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    Please see the full Prescribing Information for complete safety information.

    Product names referenced herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

    What Happens When You Use Viagra But Don’t Have ED

    Viagra and other ED drugs are increasingly being misused and even abused. Learn about the risks of recreational ED drug use.

    What happens when you use Viagra but don

    Some of most commonly prescribed and abused drugs in America belong to a drug family called the phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. But you probably know them better as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis, and Levitra. Unless you never watch TV, it’s almost impossible to miss their commercials.

    Viagra and the other phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors are meant to be taken only by men who have erectile dysfunction (ED). Since Viagra was introduced in 1998, the number of men diagnosed with ED has gone up by 250 percent.

    Risk factors for ED include older age, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The problem is that men without issues are using these medications. “We are seeing more and more young men without any risk factors for ED asking for ED drugs. They look a lot like the young men dancing around in the TV advertisements, probably too healthy to have ED,” said Rowena DeSouza, MD, associate professor of surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and director of urology at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

    Recreational ED Drug Use and Abuse

    “Men who are doctor shopping for these drugs and getting more refills than they need are using them not to get an erection, but to get a longer erection. That is recreational use, not appropriate use,” said Dr. DeSouza.

    A review of 46 articles on phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor abuse was published in the journal Current Drug Abuse Reviews in 2011. One reason cited for abuse was easy access to ED drugs. A search for Internet drug stores found over six million hits at 7,000 Internet pharmacies. Only 4 percent of the sites were in proper compliance, according to the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program.

    Another concern with getting ED drugs at online pharmacies is that the drugs may be fake, contaminated, expired, ineffective, or unsafe to use.

    The Dangers of Misusing ED Drugs

    “These drugs have known risks that all men need to know about. They can be misused if men are not aware of the dangers,” said DeSouza. Even if you have ED, you can potentially misuse a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor and increase cardiovascular risks if you:

    • Also take medications for chest pain called nitrates
    • Have active coronary heart disease
    • Have congestive heart failure
    • Have low blood pressure
    • Take several medications for high blood pressure
    • Have exercise intolerance

    The Dangers of Abusing ED Drugs

    “One important danger that men need to know about if they are using ED drugs recreationally is drug dependence. Men who take the drugs for longer and larger erections may find that they actually develop ED without the drugs. This could mean having to use more aggressive treatments like injections or implants to treat ED in the future,” warned DeSouza.

    Reports of dangers from ED drug abuse run the gamut from unsafe sex practices and a heightened sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk to fatal drug interactions. They include these specifics:

    • A five-fold increase in unsafe sex among men who have sex with men
    • A two-fold increase in STIs
    • Dangerous and potentially fatal mixing of ED drugs with club drugs such as ketamine and amyl nitrite

    A 2011 survey on recreational use of ED medications published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior included responses from 1,994 men attending 497 colleges across the country. Four percent of these men admitted to using ED drugs recreationally. A majority of the recreational users mixed ED drugs with illegal drugs and engaged in risky sexual behaviors. Recreational use was associated with substance abuse and a higher number of sex partners.

    “It is hard to know how many men are using ED drugs recreationally,” said DeSouza. “Studies are hard to do because they rely on self-reporting. Men who want to use these drugs can often get them by answering questions about erectile dysfunction appropriately when they talk to a doctor. They know the symptoms of ED.”

    The Bottom Line on ED Drugs: Be Informed

    Don’t merely focus on the beautiful, happy people in the ED ads on television. Listen to the voiceover about side effects and contraindications. “If you have not been properly evaluated by your doctor and properly prescribed an erectile dysfunction drug, you should not be taking one,” warned DeSouza.

    Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to use Viagra or the other ED drugs. Make sure you know the side effects. Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take. Drug interactions are possible with lots of common drugs including drugs for blood pressure, angina, blood thinners, and seizures.

    And, by the way, an erection that lasts four hours is not a good thing. It is painful and dangerous.

    Viagra and the other phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors are great drugs for the right men. They may induce an erection in over 80 percent of men with ED. Many millions of men have used these drugs safely and appropriately.

    But if you don’t have ED, you don’t need them. If you are concerned about ED, talk with your doctor — searching for Viagra on the Internet can have disastrous consequences.

    Better Sex? The Ins And Outs Of Recreational Viagra Use

    Viagra (sildenafil) gets credit – rightfully – for transforming the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Since its approval in 1998, this medication has helped millions of men with ED around the world return to a normal sex life and get their confidence back.

    As with most good things, it’s also attracted men interested in recreational use.

    Does Viagra make you bigger? Can Viagra make for sex better?

    Despite anecdotes to the contrary, clinical studies of Viagra in men who don’t have ED has demonstrated that this powerful erection medication does little to improve pleasure or erection size in healthy men.

    Quick Facts About Recreational Viagra Use

    • Using Viagra (sildenafil) recreationally is not advisable. Healthy men should not be taking sildenafil for fun due to the health risks.
    • Viagra use in healthy men has also demonstrated no erection or pleasure benefit in multiple research studies, even compared to a placebo.
    • Viagra use in healthy men has, however, demonstrated an ability to shorten the time to a second ejaculation after sex.

    Viagra (sildenafil) has been heralded as a profound advancement in medicine and men’s sexual heath – and for their partners and relationships. Follow-on medications that work by the same mechanism of action, like Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) among others, have helped to carry that torch to millions of men globally.

    But to no one’s surprise, they’ve also attracted men who are interested in its potential for recreational use. For men who don’t suffer from ED and have no clinical need for sildenafil, is there any benefit to taking Viagra?

    Despite all sorts of claims on internet forums, let’s see what the scientific research says.

    What is Erectile Dysfunction?

    Erectile dysfunction is when a guy cannot achieve an erection firm enough or long enough for penetrative sexual intercourse. It affects as many as 50% of men over the age of 40, and increases with age. By 70, it’s estimated to affect over 70% of guys.

    ED symptoms has a lot to do with cardiovascular health and general well-being. Men who have diabetes, are overweight or obese, and who have serious vascular or heart conditions are often affected by ED.

    Lifestyle changes to address these underlying conditions can often alleviate the symptoms of ED.

    How Does Viagra Work?

    Viagra is a PDE5 inhibitor. PDE5 is an enzyme in the body that helps to reduce an erection after sex. It’s like the braking system on the erection process.

    Viagra (sildenafil) works by reducing that enzyme, meaning that the erection process has fewer roadblocks in place to slow it down. It works really well for the majority of men who try it, and it’s been used by millions of guys with ED over the last decade. Vaigra was approved by the U.S. FDA in 1998.

    Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) work by the same mechanism of action.

    Does Viagra Make Sex Feel Better? What The Research Says

    At least two studies have evaluated whether sildenafil, used recreationally, improves sex or has any other benefits when use by men who don’t need it or don’t suffer from ED.

    Researchers in the early 2000s investigated the effect of sildenafil in young men without ED by splitting 60 healthy guys into two groups randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either one 25 mg tablet of sildenafil (group 1) taken prior to intercourse, or an identical placebo tablet (group 2). Everyone completed before and after questionnaires relating to their erectile quality. Note that 25 mg is the smallest Viagra dose available.

    Conclusively, there were no differences between the two groups in the reported improvement of erection quality.

    Another randomized trial from the late 90s evaluated 20 healthy men who received sildenafil 100mg (the highest dose available) or received a placebo in a cross-over design (they got both at different times, but didn’t know which was which).

    The researchers found that sildenafil caused no changes in seminal or erection parameters when compared to placebo. They didn’t have bigger erections nor did they have any changes in their semen during ejaculation.

    Overall, these two studies indicate no evidence of an improved erection in healthy guys, and no change to their semen.

    The One Thing Viagra CAN Do For Otherwise Healthy Guys

    The one thing that both of the studies above did demonstrate, however, is that sildenafil can decrease the post-ejaculatory refractory time.

    The post-ejaculatory refractory time is the amount of time required to get another erection and ejaculate.

    In the first study above, 40% of men in the sildenafil group reported a noticeable reduction in post-ejaculatory refractory time compared to only 13% in the placebo group. In the sildenafil group, the median refractory time was 14.9 min before taking the treatment and 5.5 after, a reduction of 9.4 minutes. For placebo guys, the median time only fell by 1.4 minutes.

    In the second study, guys getting a placebo took 10.8 minutes to get another erection, compared to only 2.6 minutes on average for guys taking sildenafil. The researchers concluded that, “These results indicate that in normal subjects acute sildenafil treatment does not modify semen characteristics and has a positive influence over the resumption of erections following ejaculation in the presence of a continuous erotic stimulus.”

    Should You Use Viagra Recreationally?

    The answer is no. Full stop. You should not use Viagra recreationally.

    Viagra does nothing to make you bigger, nor does Viagra make sex better if you’re a healthy man with no signs of ED to begin with.

    In fact, the r esearchers looking into this phenomenon concluded that:

    Urologists can confidently inform healthy young men asking for the drug that they will not benefit from it. This may reduce the risks of casual usage in association with drugs like ecstasy or amyl nitrate, with the attendant dangers.”

    Due to the potential for adverse safety events depending on your medical history, medications you’re taking, and other medical conditions, physicians will advise against any health guy taking sildenafil or other prescription ED meds for “fun.”

    If you’re actually dealing with ED, it’s a different story. A medical professional can help you make the right decision about whether prescription treatment is right for you. And with RexMD, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

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    Recreational Viagra? Why It’s Not a Good Idea

    Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs are often misused. Find out why this trend is dangerous.

    Julie Lynn Marks

    Men using recreational Viagra at a night club.

    Men have been turning to the little blue pill to treat their erectile dysfunction (ED) for nearly 20 years. Since Viagra (sildenafil) first came on the scene, in 1998, the number of men diagnosed with ED has shot up by 250 percent.

    It’s safe to say the drug has given millions of men a convenient and effective option for improving their sex lives. But taking Viagra or other meds such as Cialis (tadalafil) or Levitra (vardenafil), when you don’t have erectile dysfunction can be dangerous.

    Using Any Drug Without a Prescription Is Not Wise

    “It’s never a good idea to use a prescription drug that’s not prescribed by your doctor,” says Michael Eisenberg, MD, the director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford Health Care in Stanford, California. “There are risks and side effects of these medications, and there are medical conditions you can have where there could be severe consequences.”

    Why Men Are Misusing Viagra and Other ED Drugs

    Men who don’t have problems getting an erection may still want to up their game.

    “There are certainly plenty of examples of men trying to get their hands on Viagra when they don’t necessarily have ED,” says Dr. Eisenberg. “In some cases, it might just be to enhance performance or to perform better sexually.”

    Why Viagra May Be Used in a Recreational Fashion

    Some use Viagra not for ED but because they’ve heard it can enhance athletic performance. For other men, it’s all about convenience and cost. They want the drug without the hassle of getting a prescription.

    “Most of us live busy lives, and some men might find it hard to see their doctor,” says Eisenberg. “Also, there’s a stigma about ED. Many younger men might be embarrassed about getting help.”

    How Are They Getting Viagra Without an Rx?

    Purchasing Viagra online seems to be a popular way to obtain the drug.

    A study published in the journal Current Drug Abuse Reviews suggested that easy access was one reason men cited for abuse of ED drugs. A search for internet drugstores found over 6 million hits at 7,000 online pharmacies.

    Eisenberg says he’s also heard of men getting Viagra from their friends or relatives.

    Recreational Use of Viagra Can Be Very Dangerous

    Buying Viagra from an unreliable source can be risky. Drugs sold online may be fake, contaminated, or expired.

    According to press statements, in 2011, Pfizer Global Security looked at 22 websites that appeared in the top search results for the phrase “buy Viagra.” They found that about 80 percent of these pills were counterfeit. These fake Viagra pills did contain the active ingredient sildenafil, but only about 30 percent to 50 percent of the amount advertised.

    “With the internet, you really never know what you’re getting,” Eisenberg says.

    It’s also important to know that Viagra can cause side effects, such as:

    • Headache or diarrhea
    • Dizziness
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Nosebleeds
    • Flushing
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Muscle or back pain
    • Numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
    • Sensitivity to light or vision changes

    Using Viagra can lead to serious risks, too, if you have an underlying medical condition. For instance, men with heart disease who take drugs known as nitrates can develop dangerously low blood pressure if they take Viagra.

    “We have to make sure these men are healthy before starting them on ED medications,” stresses Eisenberg.

    Another concern is that some men who use ED meds recreationally mix them with other, illicit drugs. A survey published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 4 percent of college-age men admitted to using ED drugs recreationally. Most of them combined the ED meds with other drugs and participated in risky sexual behaviors.

    Some men who don’t have ED but use Viagra may also become psychologically addicted to the medicine and depend on it to get an erection.

    Off-Label Use or Unapproved Medical Use of Viagra

    While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Viagra for treating ED, researchers are looking at how the drug might benefit other conditions.

    • Pulmonary hypertension The brand-name medicine Revatio contains the same active ingredient (sildenafil) as Viagra and is approved to help adults with pulmonary hypertension, which is characterized by high blood pressure in the lungs.
    • Raynaud’s disease This condition, which causes the fingers and toes to become cold and numb, might be helped by Viagra.
    • Prostate cancer Researchers are examining whether Viagra could help this common cancer.
    • Other conditions Viagra is being studied as a potential treatment for several other medical issues.

    Sometimes, the drug is given “off-label,” which means your doctor prescribes it for an unapproved use.

    Always Get a Medical Prescription From a Doctor

    It’s dangerous to take Viagra for another condition without getting a prescription. You should always see your doctor for any off-label drug use. You’ll need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Viagra off-label.

    The Bottom Line on Viagra for Recreational or Off-Label Use

    If you think you might have ED, your best bet is to see your doctor. Viagra is one option, but there are many others.

    “I want to dissuade people from misuse,” says Eisenberg. “I always tell my patients that my goal is to make them happy, and there are a lot of ways to do that — some with medicine and some without.”

    Tell your doctor about all your health conditions, the medicines you take, and your symptoms, so he or she can determine if Viagra is right for you.