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Dec 03, 2021
5 min read

Daily Viagra: how often can you take it?

Viagra is a medication that’s typically taken as needed about an hour before you want to get an erection. A healthcare provider can recommend taking Viagra daily, but you should never take it more than once in any 24-hour period. Taking it too often can result in a dangerous drop in blood pressure or other serious side effects. Many different medications can be used to treat ED, so if the recommended dosage of Viagra isn’t working for you, speak with a healthcare provider about your options.

felix gussone

Reviewed by Felix Gussone, MD

Written by Michael Martin

Disclaimer

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.

When it comes to getting maximum satisfaction from your sex life, timing can be everything. That’s particularly true when you’re taking Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). 

Viagra (generic name sildenafil; see Important Safety Information), the first and most popular prescription medication for ED, has a specific window of about six to eight hours during which it works. If you find that you need to take Viagra daily, it might be time to evaluate if the little blue pill is the right option for you.  

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Can I take Viagra every day?

Technically, Viagra, or its generic form, sildenafil, can be taken daily, but it’s not always the best choice. 

Viagra works by opening up your blood vessels and increasing the amount of blood in your penis, making it easier to get an erection. Viagra doesn’t work automatically, though: you need to be sexually aroused for it to work. Sexual stimulation tells blood to go to your penis, and Viagra keeps the blood from leaving once it gets there. 

Once you take Viagra, it starts to work within one hour and has a working window of about six to eight hours. This narrow “effectiveness window” requires you to do some planning to sync your medication to your sex life—which isn’t always possible or convenient, and if you miss that window, you can’t take more Viagra for another 24 hours.

So, if you’ve taken your regular dose of Viagra and you didn’t get the response you wanted or you missed your window, you should wait 24h before you take another dose. 

Now that you know a little more about how often you can take Viagra, let’s look at what researchers have found while studying the effects of a daily dose of sildenafil.

Daily sildenafil: what does the research say?

Most men have between three to five erections per night (Schiavi, 1988). These nighttime erections aren’t just a fact of life—they’re an important indicator of blood vessel health and erectile function, and also play a crucial role in supplying blood to the penis. But the ability to get and maintain an erection can decrease with age or with certain medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, or nerve problems.  

One group of researchers decided to see how daily treatment with sildenafil might affect a small group of people who got no nighttime erections due to pelvic injuries. They found that once-daily treatment with 50 mg of sildenafil increased the frequency of erections in more than half of the study participants (Peng, 2016). 

Another clinical trial examined how people with type 2 diabetes responded to treatment with daily sildenafil. Their research showed improved blood flow and stronger erections in the group that received the drug every day for ten weeks (Deyoung, 2011). So while daily Viagra isn’t currently the traditionally recommended route of treatment, it may be a route worth exploring in future research.

What are the side effects of Viagra?

Viagra is typically safe and effective when taken as directed and with guidance from a healthcare professional. Common side effects include headache, nasal congestion, and flushing. Some people who take this drug report reflux or indigestion (Lim, 2002). But in general, Viagra is usually well-tolerated. 

The manufacturer of Viagra, Pfizer, warns that it’s important to tell your provider about any underlying conditions you have, including heart problems, such as heart failure or a history of heart attack, stomach ulcers, prostate issues, or any history of stroke, as well as any prescription drugs or other treatments you might be taking (DailyMed, 2020). 

When combined with certain drugs, Viagra (sildenafil) can be dangerous or even deadly. A few of these include (DailyMed, 2020): 

  • Antifungal medications like ketoconazole or itraconazole
  • Nitroglycerine
  • The antiviral medication ritonavir 

What happens if you take too much Viagra?

If you take more than the recommended dose of Viagra, you can develop a condition known as priapism, which is an erection that lasts for longer than four hours. Priapism is a medical emergency and can result in serious damage to the delicate structures in your penis, so seek medical attention immediately. 

Rarely, people who take too much sildenafil can experience eye problems, including blurred vision, changes in color perception, and in extreme cases, even vision loss. Also, too much sildenafil can cause low blood pressure, resulting in dizziness, rarely sudden hearing loss, or even loss of consciousness. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these side effects (DailyMed, 2020).

How to determine if daily ED meds are right for you

When determining whether you should take daily ED medication, speak with your healthcare provider about which ED medication is the safest and most effective choice for you. It’s helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

How often do you have sex?

If you typically have sex between one and ten times per month, taking Viagra as needed can be a good choice. But if you’re having sex more often—say, multiple times a week or even every day—Viagra might be a less favorable option.

Instead, you can ask your healthcare provider about using Cialis (generic name tadalafil; see Important Safety Information). This drug is available in doses that are approved for daily use. Also, while the active window of sildenafil is relatively short, tadalafil works for up to 36 hours after you take it, which can help increase sexual spontaneity (FDA, n.d.). 

If your healthcare provider determines it’s appropriate for you, Cialis can be a win-win. But the choice between Cialis and Viagra depends on how you and your partner or partners plan to use the medication.

How much does spontaneity matter?

Because of Viagra’s relatively short window of activity, it tends to be an “on-demand” medication—you need to know when sex might be happening, and be sure to keep the meds on you so you can take them within a few hours before you plan to have sex. Because it works for a full day to a day-and-a-half, Cialis can accommodate more spontaneity.

Have you experienced side effects from other ED meds?

If you’ve experienced unpleasant side effects from Viagra, such as headache, nasal congestion, or flushing, taking a lower dose of daily medication might help ameliorate that. Also, you can speak with a healthcare provider about trying other ED drugs.

Do you have any pre-existing conditions, or are you taking any other medications?

Cialis and Viagra aren’t safe for everyone. For example, people taking nitrates for a history of heart attacks or other heart conditions, or Riociguat or Revatio (see Important Safety Information) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension, should never take Viagra. If you’re taking alpha-blockers like tamsulosin or prazosin, tell your healthcare provider before starting one of these medications because you may need a lower dose. 

Cialis may not be safe for people who take medications for high blood pressure, an enlarged prostate, or for those who consume substantial amounts of alcohol. Also, you should not mix different PDE-5 inhibitors. Don’t take Viagra if you’re taking Levitra (generic name vardenafil) or Cialis (generic name tadalafil) (DailyMed, 2020).

If you have more questions about the medications used to treat erectile dysfunction or you need medical advice, speak with your healthcare provider. 

References

  1. DailyMed. (2020). Viagra- sildenafil citrate tablet, film-coated. Retrieved on November 23, 2021 from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=a2a9f459-e692-4e85-83b0-a35fbf35e91b
  2. Deyoung, L., Chung, E., Kovac, J. R., Romano, W., & Brock, G. B. (2012). Daily use of sildenafil improves endothelial function in men with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Andrology, 33(2), 176–180. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.111.013367. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21680809/
  3. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (n.d.). Cialis (Tadalafil) Prescribing Information. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2008/021368s011lbl.pdf
  4. Lim, P. H., Moorthy, P., & Benton, K. G. (2002). The clinical safety of Viagra. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 962, 378–388. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2002.tb04082.x. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12076989/
  5. Peng, J., Zhang, Z., Gao, B., Yuan, Y., Cui, W., Tang, Y., et al. (2016). Effect of daily sildenafil on patients with absent nocturnal erections due to pelvic fracture urethral disruption: a single-centre experience. Andrologia, 48(10), 1120–1124. doi: 10.1111/and.12548. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26857429/
  6. Schiavi, R. C., & Schreiner-Engel, P. (1988). Nocturnal penile tumescence in healthy aging men. Journal of Gerontology, 43(5), M146–M150. doi: 10.1093/geronj/43.5.m146 Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3418036/