Viagra With Alcohol & Food

Viagra is the brand name for the medication sildenafil, which is used to treat -- but not cure -- erectile dysfunction. It works by improving blood flow. You can take Viagra with food, but for best results, you shouldn't take this medicine with certain types of food. Avoiding large amounts of alcohol also is a good idea when taking Viagra.

Be reasonable about your alcohol intake when using Viagra. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Usage

Viagra increases blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation, which can lead to an erection. The medication does not permanently cure erectile dysfunction and also does not increase sexual desire. Doctors recommend taking Viagra about one hour before sexual activity for best results, but for convenience, you can take it up to four hours before. Follow your doctor's instructions and do not increase your dosage or take the medication more often than directed. If you think it isn't working, talk to your doctor. He may increase the dosage, but you don't want to increase it too much and risk possible serious side effects.

Viagra and Food

You can take Viagra with or without food, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine website PubMed Health. You may want to avoid taking it with a high-fat meal, because that will delay the effects of the medicine. It's also a good idea not to take Viagra with grapefruit juice, for two reasons. Like high-fat food, grapefruit juice can delay the action of Viagra. In addition, it can increase your blood levels of the medication, which might cause toxic side effects. This is unlikely, but it does occur occasionally, notes Drugs.com.

Viagra and Alcohol

You also should avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol while taking Viagra. The medication widens blood vessels and increases blood flow, and alcohol has some similar effects. In certain people, this may lead to low blood pressure when standing, which can cause an elevated heart rate, dizziness and even fainting. In the relevant study, as described by Drugs.com, the alcohol dose was unusually high, equivalent to about 6 ounces -- or six shots -- of 80-proof vodka within 10 minutes.

Considerations

While Viagra does not interact with most foods and is generally safe to take with low or moderate amounts of alcohol, it does have negative interactions with numerous other substances. Tell your doctor about any supplements or medications you take before combining them with Viagra. Examples of some substances that interact with Viagra include any type of nitrate medication, certain blood pressure medications, seizure medications and St. John's Wort. Interactions may involve increased side effects of one or the other substance, or a decrease or increase in intended effects.

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