What to Do When Viagra Doesn’t Work

Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common complaints of older men around the world. It is so common that when Viagra was released some 30 years ago, it instantly became popular and started garnering billions of sales each year—but what should you do when Viagra doesn’t work for you?

This article explains the top reasons why Viagra can be ineffective and explores other options you can try in lieu of this little blue pill.

Three Most Common Reasons Why Viagra Won’t Work

Before trying out another alternative regimen, first, explore the possible reasons why Viagra has been ineffective for you.

Cause #1 – Taking it Wrong

One common reason is the inappropriate use of the drug. Double-check your prescription if you’re taking the right drug at the right time and at the right dosage.

Viagra, with the generic name Sildenafil, has a max dose of 100mg. If you were prescribed with a lower dose, you can consult your physician and ask if the dose can be increased. Note as well that Viagra works after 30-60 minutes only, so the timing of intake is important.

Cause #2 – Other Health Conditions

Some patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels, and diabetes can develop erectile dysfunction (1). This condition should be addressed first because it can result in a poor response to Viagra.

Cause #3 – Stress and Environment

Psychological issues may also hinder the effectivity of Viagra. It might help to stay in a calmer environment and minimize stress levels since stress also contributes to erectile dysfunction.

If you are troubled about the complications and side effects of taking the little blue pill, you can share these sentiments to your physician and they will gladly educate you that Viagra is proven safe and effective (2).

Top Five Alternatives When Viagra Doesn’t Work

If these did not address your problem, it might be time to look for an alternative treatment. Outlined below are five great alternatives for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Option #1 –A Different Prescription Drug

If Viagra does not work, you can ask your physician to switch to another drug. Other medications that work similar to Viagra include Cialis (Tadalafil) and Levitra (Vardenafil).

These drugs, like Viagra, are phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors that work by keeping your blood vessels open and allowing better blood flow to the penis. Good blood flow is needed for a satisfactory erection, and these meds help sustain this erection for longer.

These drugs are equally effective, but Cialis lasts longer while Vardenafil is more potent (3). You might find yourself responding differently to these drugs, so they’re definitely worth giving a try.

Option #2 – Injection Therapy

If tablets won’t do, the next best option is to try out penile injections. These injections make use of a drug called Alprostadil, with brand names Edex and Caverject.

Alprostadil is also a vasodilator, which means it dilates blood vessels to help blood flow more easily. The drug is injected into the body of the penis, and after 5-10 minutes you are expected to develop an erection. The erection can last for as long as an hour.

Side effects may include pain and bleeding at the injection site, painful or prolonged erection, and scarring. These are not common but with all cases, they might happen. If the symptoms worsen, don’t hesitate to call your physician at once.

Option #3 – Urethral Suppository

Another option is the Medicated Urethral System for Erection or MUSE. MUSE makes use of the same drug in injection therapy, Alprostadil. However, this time, Alprostadil is introduced in the form of suppositories.

The MUSE pellet is inserted at the tip of the penis and is allowed to be absorbed. The effects can be noted as soon as 10 minutes after.

Although it’s easier to insert a suppository than inject, MUSE does not work as well as its injection counterpart. This might be a good treatment choice, however, for those who would rather not deal with needles.

Option #4 – Vacuum Erection Devices

Vacuum erection devices (VED) consist of three parts: a vacuum cylinder, a pump, and constriction rings. After applying lubricant, the cylinder is placed over the penis, with the constriction rings positioned at the cylinder’s base.

The pump is then activated to create a vacuum that draws blood to flow into the penis, leading to an erection within 2-3 minutes. The constriction rings are placed at the base of the penis to keep the vacuum in place.

Compared to the first three options, the VED is the least invasive. It does not use any drug and is devoid of pharmacologic side effects. Studies have shown that VEDs are effective in over 60% of patients (4,5), however, some tend to dislike VEDs since they can be cumbersome to set up.

Option #5 – Penile Implant

From the least invasive option, we’re now going to the most invasive of them all—the penile implant also called penile prostheses.

Penile implants are hollow tube-shaped devices that are surgically placed inside the penis. Once inside, they can be manually inflated via a small pump placed in the scrotum.

People tend to favor implants because they’re easier to operate and you can produce erections for as long as you want. Moreover, it doesn’t wear off like Viagra since it relies on a physical mechanism.

The downside to this method, however, is that it causes changes to the anatomy of the penis, hence injections and suppositories might not be as effective anymore after getting implants.

Recap: What to Do If Viagra Won’t Work?

Viagra is a wonder drug for erectile dysfunction that has been around for decades, but unfortunately, not everyone responds to it. In cases like this, it is important to first investigate the possible reasons why the drug does not work as expected.

Once you’ve ruled out other possible causes, you can try switching to a different drug. You can also try other alternatives like injection therapy, urethral suppositories, vacuum erection devices, and penile prostheses.

However, note that all these should be done with the go-signal of your physician. After all, your doctor will be the one to know which among the options is best for you.

If you have any questions or would like to share the alternative method you’ve tried when Viagra doesn’t work, leave them in the comments below!

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