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Dec 06, 2021
4 min read

What is the right Viagra dose for you?

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is prescribed in three doses for erectile dysfunction (ED): 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. Your healthcare provider can help determine the best dosage for you, depending on your medical history and any medications you’re currently taking. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting Viagra or changing your recommended dose.

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 starting a new medication, it can be challenging to know how much to take. Too much, and you run the risk of side effects. Too little, and it doesn’t work. Viagra is no exception. Knowing what Viagra dose is right for you involves considering several factors.

Read on to learn more about the different doses of Viagra.

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What is Viagra?

Viagra is the brand name of sildenafil, an oral medication for treating erectile dysfunction (ED). It’s part of a group of drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors. Viagra (generic name sildenafil; see Important Safety Information), released by Pfizer in 1998, was the first oral medication FDA-approved for treating erectile dysfunction. Other ED medications include Cialis (generic name: tadalafil; see Important Safety Information) and Levitra (vardenafil).

How does Viagra work?

Viagra works by blocking cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5), an enzyme that causes an erection to subside by encouraging blood to flow out of the penis. When PDE-5 is inhibited, cGMP levels remain elevated, which relaxes smooth muscle and encourages blood vessels to widen (a process known as vasodilation). That makes blood flow more freely to the penis, improving erectile function (Smith, 2021).

Sildenafil is also sold as a drug for pulmonary hypertension under the brand name Revatio (generic name: sildenafil; see Important Safety Information), although the doses of Revatio are different from Viagra.

Viagra should be taken one to four hours before sexual activity. It won’t just give you an erection from nothing—you must feel sexually aroused for it to help produce an erection.

Forms of Viagra

Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, comes in three forms: an oral tablet (the most common Viagra form), an oral suspension (liquid), and an injection that’s given intravenously by a healthcare provider.

Which Viagra dose is right for you?

There are three brand-name Viagra dosages: 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. Generic sildenafil can also be prescribed in 20 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg dosages. The maximum daily dose is 100 mg (UpToDate, n.d.). 

Your healthcare provider will prescribe the starting dose that’s best for you. The dosage prescribed often depends on the following:

  • Your age
  • Your overall and cardiovascular health
  • Other medical conditions you have
  • How you react to the first dose
  • How frequently you use the medication

Viagra dosages do not necessarily depend on your weight. 

Why does Viagra come in different dosages?

The goal of ED medication is to find the smallest amount of medicine that provides a satisfactory erection. The goal is not to find the highest dose of Viagra you can handle but to find a safe and effective dose.

Additionally, ED meds aren’t one-size-fits-all. Different guys have different needs, so talk with your healthcare provider about your expectations for Viagra, and be honest about how you and your partner plan to use it. Bring answers to questions like

  • How many times a week are you planning to have sex?
  • Are you willing to take Viagra at the appropriate time for the medication to work effectively?
  • Are you concerned about any side effects?

For some, the 25 mg Viagra dosage is all they need to have a great experience. Others have to take the maximum dose (100 mg) to achieve the same result. Work with your doctor to find the right dose based on your expectations, medical history, and symptoms, and report any side effects.

And above all—be honest about your medical history and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Don’t change your dose without talking to your healthcare provider. More Viagra doesn’t always mean a stronger erection. In fact, higher doses can come with more frequent side effects.

How to take Viagra

As with any medication, you should always take Viagra or sildenafil as directed by your healthcare provider. You can take Viagra anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours before sexual activity. And you should not take it more than once in a 24-hour period. Taking too much increases your risk of side effects. 

You can take Viagra with or without food. But if you take it with a large, high-fat meal, clinical data suggests it may take longer to work (DailyMed, 2020).

Potential side effects of Viagra

Common side effects of Viagra include (DailyMed, 2020): 

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Upset stomach or indigestion
  • Abnormal vision (such as increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or blue-tinted vision)
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Back pain
  • Rash
  • Muscle pain

Serious but less common adverse effects of Viagra include (DailyMed, 2020):

  • Priapism (a prolonged erection that won’t go away)
  • Heart attack-like symptoms such as chest pain
  • Eye problems such as sudden vision loss (a condition called non-arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy or NAION)
  • Ringing in ears or hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Swelling in your arms or legs 

If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should seek medical advice right away.

Drug interactions with Viagra

Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause dangerous drug interactions with Viagra. For example, people taking nitrates for certain heart conditions should not take Viagra. Both nitrates (like nitroglycerin) and sildenafil affect nitric oxide levels, and the combination can lead to a potentially dangerous drop in blood pressure. Poppers, or amyl nitrites, should also be avoided when taking Viagra. 

If you take medications that affect the breakdown of sildenafil (like ritonavir, erythromycin, itraconazole, and ketoconazole), you may need a lower dose of sildenafil or Viagra. 

Viagra warnings

Not everyone should take Viagra. Viagra lowers your blood pressure. If you already have low blood pressure or take medications to treat high blood pressure (like alpha-blockers), you may need to adjust your Viagra dose to avoid side effects.

Certain health conditions may impact your ability to absorb Viagra. Those include liver or kidney disease. If you have those conditions, you might need a smaller dose to take Viagra safely (UpToDate, n.d.). 

References

  1. DailyMed. (2020). Viagra- sildenafil citrate tablet, film-coated. Retrieved on November 17, 2021 from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=a2a9f459-e692-4e85-83b0-a35fbf35e91b
  2. Smith, B. P, & Babos, M. (2021). Sildenafil. [Updated Jun 29, 2021]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558978/
  3. UpToDate. (n.d.). Sildenafil: drug information. Retrieved on November 17, 2021 from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sildenafil-drug-information