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Is Viagra Bad for Heart?

Viagra is a highly effective drug that curbs erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis. Though it has a high success rate, it is not without side effects. If you’re wondering whether it has the potential to cause harm as well as if it’s ok to take it, this article is for you.

Is Viagra Bad for Heart

Is Viagra Good for Your Heart?

Viagra is safe for men who do not have a history of heart failure, stroke or angina. However, like every other drug, it poses risks of certain side effects which may be mild or severe depending on the patient. Nevertheless, they’re usually mild and do not often last long.

On the one hand, for men with underlying heart-related diseases, it may be entirely unsafe to pop the “blue pill” except under the instruction and close supervision of a doctor. This is due to the way the drug interacts with the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. Generally, Viagra is able to increase blood flow not just to the penis, but other parts of the body by increasing the levels and activity of nitric oxide.

Organic nitrates are prodrugs that are often used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as angina. In treating some of these diseases just like Viagra, the drugs increase the supply of nitric oxide which, in turn, causes the partially obstructed arteries (in the case of angina) to dilate, enabling blood to flow through.

Because Viagra and nitrates (including other certain heart-related drugs) both dilate blood vessels, taking them together (especially for people with cardiovascular disease) can cause the blood pressure to drop below safe limits [1]. Thus, under this circumstance (i.e, using alongside cardiovascular drugs), it is not good for the heart.

However, to certain extents, as discovered by research, it could actually be good for the heart. A study carried out by researchers from Sapienza – a university in Rome, revealed that it could help men with cardiovascular diseases [2].

Side Effects of Taking Viagra with Heart Disease

Side Effects

In the absence of cardiovascular diseases (for healthy individuals), side effects are mostly mild and do not last long. Common adverse reactions that may occur include headache, flushing, stomach upset, nausea and dizziness. However, when Viagra is taken by someone with underlying heart disease, the resulting side effects may include the aforementioned negative reactions and more.

The major side effect that can result under this circumstance is severe low blood pressure – hypotension. Symptoms of low blood pressure may include lightheadedness or dizziness, blurry vision, fatigue, nausea and lack of concentration. In extreme cases, it can result in life-threatening situations marked by pale skin, shallow breathing, and a weak rapid pulse. Seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms are experienced [3].

Is It Safe to Take Viagra with Heart Medications?

Generally, it is not safe to take Viagra alongside heart medications. However, the pill has been found to be tolerated in patients with stable heart diseases that do not feature active ischemia. Ischemia is a condition under which enough blood and oxygen do not get to the muscles of the heart. It is characterized by chest pain [4].

It is worth noting that while it may be safe to take Viagra with certain cardiovascular medications, it should never be taken with nitrates, as well as doxazosin. Consult your doctor to find out what drugs can be safely taken with Viagra.

References:

  1. Side Effects of VIAGRA (sildenafil citrate) | Safety Info. Retrieved: April 16, 2020. Viagra.com.
  2. Viagra Could Double Up as Heart Failure Drug. By Bazian. Retrieved: April 16, 2020. Nhs.uk.
  3. Low blood pressure (hypotension) – Symptoms and Causes. By Mayo Clinic Staff. Retrieved: April 16, 2020. Mayoclinic.org.
  4. Silent Ischemia and Ischemic Heart Disease. Retrieved: April 16, 2020. Heart.org.