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Posted on Jul 24, 2023

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How to Use Viagra for Best Results

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. There are many different causes, which may include conditions that affect your blood vessels, neurological conditions, mental health conditions and injuries.

Overview on Viagra

Viagra, also known as sildenafil, is a well-known drug prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. Since its introduction, it has been a game-changer for millions of individuals looking to improve their sexual health and quality of life.

Like other prescription drugs, Viagra and its generic form, sildenafil, work best when taken under the right circumstances. Many factors affect the effectiveness of Viagra (and drugs like it), from your mental state to your eating habits.

Understanding these factors – and using them to your advantage – can help you enjoy better sex and more reliable erections from the "little blue pill," while also reducing the risk of dealing with side effects. 

Below, we explain how you can take Viagra or generic sildenafil for optimal results, from the best time to take Viagra before intercourse to the drug interactions and adverse effects you should be aware of before using this medication. Should be.

We've also shared other options for treating ED, including other ED medications you may want to consider if you're affected by this common sexual dysfunction.

How to Use Viagra for Best Results

It's normal and very common to have questions about how to use Viagra to treat ED, especially if you've just started using the erectile dysfunction medicines.

The good news is that Viagra is a fairly easy medication to use once you know the basics of taking it safely and effectively. 

To get the best results from Viagra, you need to keep the following six things in mind:

  • Viagra works best when it is taken 30 to 60 minutes before sex.
  • Eating high-fat meals may affect absorption and make Viagra a little slower to work. 
  • Viagra may not work perfectly the first time, especially if you are anxious about sex. 
  • Drug interactions are also associated with Viagra. 
  • Viagra can cause side effects, most of which are mild and temporary. 
  • All ED medications work best when combined with a healthy lifestyle. 

 Okay, so you have the 30-thousand-foot view, now let's dig a little deeper.

Take Viagra 30-60 minutes before sex, Not So Earlier

If you're planning on having sex, it's best to take the recommended dosage of Viagra ahead of time, even if that means making a quiet "unexpected phone call" or taking a quick bathroom break before dessert comes to the table. 

Viagra doesn't start working as soon as you swallow it - instead, it needs time to make its way into your blood vessels and increase blood flow to your penis.

It usually takes 30 to 60 minutes for Viagra or generic sildenafil to significantly improve the quality of your erection.

However, make sure that you do not take your Viagra tablet more than three or four hours before the time when you plan to have sex.

On average, Viagra lasts for about four hours, after which it can no longer help you maintain an erection. This means that if you take Viagra in the morning for your evening date, be prepared to be extremely disappointed by your cravings for sweets.

Knowing when to take Viagra can have a big impact on your results. For better confidence in bed (and better sex), take Viagra 30-60 minutes before time, not earlier.

Avoid heavy, high-fat meals before taking Viagra

Viagra can be taken on an empty stomach or with food. However, if you are looking for the best possible experience with this medication you may want to avoid high-fat foods.

This is because fat can interfere with the absorption of sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra. By slowing your body's ability to absorb sildenafil, Viagra may take longer to work and may produce less effective results than usual if taken after a heavy meal.

So, if your idea of an ideal date meal is a big, fatty burger with truffle fries and a milkshake for dessert, you might want to reconsider.

If you're taking Viagra for the first time, try to choose something lighter. Once you get used to how long it takes for the medicine to start working on you, you can adjust your eating habits accordingly. But don't opt to skip meals altogether and take Viagra instead - suffice it to say, it's not the best approach.

If Viagra Doesn't Work the First Time, Don't Panic

Does Viagra Work the First Time? For some people, yes, but not for everyone. It's quite common to struggle with weak or unreliable erections the first few times you start taking Viagra - something that can be frustrating.

If you have been prescribed Viagra and still have ED, one or more of the following may be to blame:

  • You may not have been given the correct dose of Viagra. Viagra comes in a range of different dosages and requires a prescription for a reason. If you still have ED after using Viagra, consider talking to your healthcare provider about adjusting your dosage. 
  • You may have sexual performance concerns. Feeling anxious, nervous, or guilty about sex can lead to erectile dysfunction that isn't cured by medications like Viagra.
  • You may be suffering from another mental health condition. Psychological Other causes of ED include major depressive disorder (MDD), stress, and low self-esteem.

  • You may not feel attracted or in the mood for sex. Viagra works to improve blood flow to your penis, not change your mood. By the way, this won't work if you don't feel attracted to your partner or aren't interested in sex.


If Viagra doesn't work for you the first time you use it, don't panic. Try taking Viagra the next time you plan to have sex and see if you feel more relaxed and able to go harder.

You can also try taking Viagra when you're not planning on having sex to see if you feel any pressure around your partner.

If nothing works, contact your healthcare provider and let them know. They may recommend changing your Viagra dosage or switching to a different type of ED pill – topics we discuss more in our guide to what to do when Viagra isn't working. 

Check for Drug Interactions Before Taking Viagra

Viagra is safe and effective for most people. However, when it is taken with other medications, including many common prescription medications, it may cause interactions.

Both Viagra and generic sildenafil can cause dangerous interactions when used at the same time with nitrates and alpha-blockers used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).

When used with nitrates, Viagra can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure that can be harmful. In some cases, this drop in blood pressure can result in dizziness, fainting, or serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

Common nitrates include nitroglycerin, as well as recreational "poppers" that are made using substances such as amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate. Other medications that may interact with Viagra include certain antibiotics and antifungal medications.

Our guide to sildenafil interactions goes into more detail about the medications you should know about before using Viagra. If you currently take any over-the-counter or prescription medications, it is important to tell your healthcare provider before using Viagra, sildenafil or similar ED treatments.

Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors

Viagra is not the only PDE5 inhibitor on the market. In fact, the FDA has approved three other PDE5 inhibitors to help treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction:

  • Cialis® (tadalafil)
  • Levitra® (vardenafil)
  • Stendra® (avanafil)

It is important not to combine PDE5 inhibitors without the explicit monitoring of your healthcare provider. When their full doses are used together, these medications can interact in some very dangerous ways.

However, healthcare providers sometimes prescribe multiple PDE5 inhibitors together to help customize the effects of each drug for an individual case—usually at a lower dose as a combination drug.

For example, we offer combination chewable ED medications that combine low amounts of generic sildenafil and tadalafil to help you get harder erections and last longer.

Be aware of Viagra Side Effects

Viagra can cause adverse effects. Most of these are mild and rarely last more than a few hours, but it is still important to be aware of them.

Common side effects of Viagra include:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • Abnormal vision (blurred vision and/or changes in color vision)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Rash

Although rare, Viagra and sildenafil can cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Deafness
  • Priapism (prolonged, painful erection)

Priapism is a serious problem that can cause damage to your penile tissue if left untreated, so it's important to seek emergency medical help if you have a painful erection after taking Viagra.

Although these problems may seem worrisome, it is important to note that they only occur in a small percentage of men who take Viagra.

Our list of Frequently Asked Questions related to Viagra explains in more detail common concerns related to Viagra, as well as how you can use this medication while keeping safety in mind.

Treat ED with a healthy lifestyle, not just with Medicines

Treat ED not just with medicine, but with a healthy lifestyle Viagra makes it easier for most men who use it to get and maintain an erection. However, it is not a miracle drug, and combining it with healthy habits may work much better than relying on it as the sole source of relief from ED.

These include:

  • Keeping yourself physically active
  • Eating a healthy, nutritious diet
  • Enough Sleep
  • Doing pelvic floor exercises
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight

Sometimes, even small improvements in your weight, blood pressure, overall fitness level or diet can have a remarkable impact on your health and sexual performance. 

Our guide to maintaining your erection naturally shares several healthy habits you can use for better erections, sexual function, and heart health.

The Bottom Line

If you're one of the millions of adult men affected by ED, using Viagra can make it much easier to get and maintain an erection, allowing you to enjoy a more satisfying sex life.

To get the best results from Viagra:

  • Take it 30 to 60 minutes before sexual activity, while limiting your intake of high-fat foods that can slow the absorption of Viagra.
  • Don't panic if it doesn't work the first time. Instead, try using it on your own to see if it is effective, or talk to your healthcare provider about adjusting your dosage.
  • Check that you are not taking any medicines that could interact with Viagra and make it less effective or more likely to cause side effects.
  • Combine Viagra with healthy habits, including regular physical activity, a balanced diet, plenty of sleep, and pelvic floor exercises.

 Are you interested in trying Viagra or a similar ED drug? Get an online ED consultation to learn more about your options for treating and preventing erectile dysfunction.

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