How Long Does It Take for Viagra to Work?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is awkward to experience and to talk about. But, there’s likely an overwhelming number of people who wish to learn the answer to one fundamental question: how long does it take for Viagra to work?

As you know, ED is characterized by the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have satisfactory sex. Viagra (sildenafil) is an oral, fast-acting, effective drug most commonly prescribed for that male dilemma.

If it’s your first time taking Viagra, it’s likely that you have many questions. Here, we’ll discuss the drug’s onset after intake and other related concerns.

How Long Does It Take for Viagra to Work?

The onset of Viagra varies per person, but the effects can usually be observed within 30-60 minutes after intake. For some, the waiting time is shorter.

Studies show that in 35% of men, Viagra takes effect in as quickly as 14 minutes. Moreover, the study revealed that the effects last for 3-5 hours. However, some factors and conditions can cause the drug to work for as long as 12 hours (1).

To clarify, this does not mean that you will have an erection for the entire time. The 12-hour mark only serves as a window of opportunity for sexual activity.

It’s important to note that taking Viagra does not automatically give you an erection. While the wonder drug makes it easier to achieve and maintain an erection, it only works when you are sufficiently sexually aroused (2).

How should I Take Viagra?

The ED drug comes in three distinct dosages: 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. For most men with ED, the starting dose is 50mg daily. For best results, doctors recommend taking one 50mg pill at least an hour before sexual activity (3).

The lower dosage, 25mg, is often prescribed to men who are also taking other kinds of medication, such as those for high blood pressure and HIV. The decreased dosage prevents the occurrence and intensity of side effects, making it a safer option.

On the other hand, 100mg is the highest recommended dosage. It is prescribed when the 50mg tablet isn’t enough to achieve an erection or maintain it. Please consult your doctor before upping your intake.

When taken with Viagra, some drugs can cause a decrease in effectiveness or change in blood pressure. There’s also the risk of toxicity.

The most common drugs that produce adverse reactions when taken with Viagra include Riociguat, dapoxetine, and other medications for ED.  If you are taking any of the medicine mentioned above, do not take the blue pill (4,5).

If you’re unsure whether you can take Viagra because of your other medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

What are the Effects of Viagra?

Viagra works by increasing blood flow to the corpus cavernosum, or the erectile tissue in the penis. However, its effects aren’t limited to your erection. The following are the effects of Viagra on the body:

  • Penis

Viagra increases blood flow to your penis, helping you achieve and sustain an erection that lasts for at least 30 minutes.

If your erection is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours after sex, call your doctor immediately. This condition is called priapism, and if left untreated, it can cause permanent nerve damage. 

  • Heart and blood pressure

 Viagra causes the blood vessels to relax, allowing for increased blood flow. In turn, this causes flushing and decreased blood pressure.

Having sex is generally good for cardiovascular health. But if you have cardiovascular disease and are taking medication for it, you should inform your doctor.

  • Libido

Although the drug improves penis function, it does not affect a man’s libido or sexual appetite. However, it is worth noting that ED is a common problem among men.

If it happens often, it can decrease a man’s sexual confidence and interest. Treating ED can help rebuild your confidence, which can then positively affect your libido.

  • Side Effects

The most common adverse effects of Viagra are headache, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, as well as back and muscle pain. It’s also known to cause digestive problems, such as upset stomachs, stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, and water retention.

These effects are usually mild and temporary, but if they bother you, you should call your doctor. You might need to adjust your dosage, change your ED medication, or stop taking Viagra altogether.

More severe side effects include irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and vision and hearing loss. If you experience these symptoms, immediately stop taking Viagra and get medical help (6,7).

What should I Avoid while Taking Viagra?

Several factors affect the efficiency and potency of Viagra, namely:

  • Food

Viagra should not be taken with meals. Food, especially those with high-fat content, has the following effects:

Delays the onset of the drug

If you take Viagra with meals, your stomach and intestines will prioritize digesting the food before the pill.

Prolongs the absorption of the drug

This means it can take longer for the medicine to take effect. On average, it takes 27 minutes for the effects of Viagra to kick in. If you eat, it might take more than an hour.

Reduces the medication’s concentration

This makes it less effective in supporting erectile functions (8).

Additionally, Viagra should not be taken with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. The fruit inhibits the enzymes responsible for breaking down the drug.

As a result, the drug released into the bloodstream is very concentrated. It puts you at a higher risk of developing the side effects mentioned above (9).

  • Alcohol

Drinking is strongly discouraged when you’re taking Viagra. One of the most common reasons why men have ED is alcohol consumption.

Alcohol restricts blood flow to your penis, making it difficult to have and keep an erection. It is also reported to cause less intense orgasms.

Viagra’s effects are the exact opposite as that of alcohol. Mixing the two is not only counterproductive, but it can also be potentially life-threatening.

When combined, you may experience a dangerous drop in blood pressure, which can cause nausea, fainting, heart palpitations, ventricular arrhythmias, and increased intraocular pressure.

Furthermore, alcohol is a depressant. Meaning, aside from the effects mentioned above, alcohol also negatively affects your sex drive, erection, and performance.

Long-term alcohol abuse can also cause advanced ED and premature ejaculation.

  • Recreational and Illicit Drugs

Marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and ketamine—these should not be taken with ED medicine.

When it comes to recreational drugs, caution is always advised. Because their quality is unmonitored, drugs are likely to have impurities and unknown substances. If taken with Viagra, these drugs can have unexpected and potentially dangerous interactions.

Serotonin syndrome, for example, is caused by combining ecstasy and Viagra. The combination can trigger the overproduction of serotonin, which can then cause rapid heart rate, changes in blood pressure, fever, seizures, unconsciousness, even death.

Can I Make Viagra Work Faster?

Unfortunately, you can’t control how quickly Viagra works. You might be tempted to take one more pill because you think it’ll work faster. However, doing so might result in side effects and overdose. All you can do is wait for the little blue pill to do its job.

Can I Make Viagra Work Better?

While you can’t make it work faster, you can certainly make it work better. Fortunately, there are changes you can make so the drug works optimally. Listed below are tips on how to make the most out of your ED medication:

While you can’t make it work faster, you can certainly make it work better. Fortunately, there are changes you can make so the drug works optimally. Listed below are tips on how to make the most out of your ED medication:

Tip #1: First time?

If it’s your first time taking an ED drug, consider doing it by yourself before you try it out with a partner. This way, there won’t be any room for surprises.

You’ll find out if it works, how quickly it works, and you’ll know what to expect after taking the blue pill. Here are more things you should remember for your first time:

  • Consult your doctor before taking Viagra. Inform them if you have any medical conditions and if you’re taking other prescription, over-the-counter, alternative, or herbal medicine.
  • Do not use it with other ED drugs, unless your doctor prescribed it.
  • To avoid counterfeits, only buy Viagra directly from a pharmacy.
  • Be patient. It is common to not feel significant changes after your first take. It might take two to three doses before the drug starts to work. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again tomorrow. Keep in mind that you can only take Viagra once a day.
  • Relax. Take deep breaths, and try not to be anxious. Stress and anxiety will only delay the effect.
  • Remember that you have to be sexually stimulated for the drug to work.
  • Viagra has proven to be effective in treating cases of ED ranging from mild to severe (10). However, it’s still true that Viagra doesn’t work for everyone.

If your symptoms do not improve after a week on Viagra, talk to your doctor. The most common course of action is to up your dosage or to switch to other medications.

Tip #2: Check your health

Keep in mind that Viagra treats erectile dysfunction as a symptom, but it does not treat the underlying cause. An effective long-term approach is to address what may be causing it—be it physical, emotional, or psychological.

ED can be caused by any number of reasons—cardiovascular disease, diabetes, injury, stress, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. It can also be a result of low libido from hormonal imbalances, mental disorders, or a side effect from medications.

To confirm the diagnosis, you will be subject to a battery of tests, including physical exam, blood test, urinalysis, and ultrasound. Addressing the underlying conditions can improve your sexual performance and satisfaction, with or without ED drugs.

Tip#3: Have a healthy lifestyle

It goes without saying that ED drugs work better when paired with a healthy lifestyle. The following are recommended lifestyle changes you can make to manage the symptoms of erectile dysfunction:

Quit smoking

Cigarettes negatively impact your entire body, and your penis is not exempt.

Smoking can damage your blood vessels and arteries, restricting blood flow to the penis. Studies show that men who smoked 10-20 cigarettes per day are at risk of developing severe ED (11).

Luckily, the effects of smoking aren’t permanent. Your body starts to heal as quickly as an hour after smoking. Ask your doctor for help in quitting.

Eat right

Maintain a heart-healthy, balanced diet. Incorporate natural food into your diets, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Avoid grapefruit, red meat, refined grains, and sugar.

Additionally, a healthy diet directly contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. A 2005 research observed obese men with ED who participated in a weight loss program. After two years, 31% of the men had significant erectile improvement.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality can disturb normal hormone levels, affect libido, and sexual performance.

Studies show that sleep disorders, sleep loss, and unhealthy sleeping patterns are linked to ED development in adults (12). Treating sleep disorders and improving your sleep habits are natural remedies for ED.

When Will Viagra’s Effects Kick In?

As you’ve learned, Viagra works between 30 to 60 minutes after intake, the average being 27 minutes. The little blue pill’s effects can last for 4 hours. The drug reaches maximum potency an hour after administering. It will reach its half-life after 4 hours and can last for a maximum of 12 hours.

Viagra is available in 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg tablets. It is usually prescribed to be taken as a 50mg tablet once a day, or as specified by the doctor. The maximum daily dosage for the drug is 100mg.

Again, remember that Viagra cannot be taken with certain medications and recreational drugs. Doctors recommend that ED medication should be taken without food or alcohol.

The onset of Viagra varies, depending on your metabolism, physical, and medical conditions.

There’s no way to make Viagra work faster, but there are many ways to make it work better for you. These include giving up unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking and practicing healthy habits such as eating and sleeping right.

How long does it take for Viagra to work? Well, now you know—but it’s perfectly fine if you have other questions in mind. For comments, concerns, or anything else, feel free to leave a comment below!

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