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Can You Drink Alcohol With Viagra (Sildenafil)? The Truth About ED Pills and Alcohol

Can You Drink Alcohol With Viagra (Sildenafil)? The Truth About ED Pills and Alcohol

Having a glass of wine after dinner or a few cocktails on the weekend is essentially an American tradition. According to a 2019 survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a division of the National Institutes of Health, 54.9% of respondents drank in the past month and more frequent drinking is on the rise. The trend means that many people need to understand the way drinking alcohol may interact with the medications they take, including erectile dysfunction (ED) medication. 

Understanding how alcohol affects ED and the interaction it may have with Viagra, the brand name of the medication Sildenafil, is important for those experiencing erectile dysfunction. This includes understanding common Viagra side effects and the way drinking alcohol may affect your experience with this popular ED medication. 

Alcohol and ED

The underlying causes of ED can be anything from depression and anxiety to blood pressure issues, diabetes and hormones. So if you’re experiencing frequent issues with ED, you’ll want to consult with a medical professional. But remember, occasional ED is common and can be due to stress, sleep problems and even alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol can cause temporary ED and actually accounts for around 18% of all ED visits, according to NIAAA. 

ED can be complex, but there are several reasons alcohol may contribute to it. Perhaps the most significant reason is because alcohol is a depressant that slows down the central nervous system. This can temporarily reduce reaction times and impair your body’s ability to bring in and respond to information from your various senses. Erections rely on this type of feedback, so if everything is not working properly it can be difficult to achieve and maintain them. 

Side Effects of Viagra

Viagra is a popular brand for the medication Sildenafil, which helps to treat erectile dysfunction. ED refers to not just the ability to achieve an erection, but also problems with maintaining an erection. Viagra works by helping to increase blood flow to the penis. This makes it easier to achieve and maintain erections upon arousal. 

Viagra side effects include but may not be limited to: 

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Skin flushing

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Blurred vision

  • Stomach pain

There are serious and less common side effects as well, which includes allergic reactions to sildenafil. Let your doctor know if you experience any side effects and seek immediate medical attention if you experience serious side effects such as chest pain, rapid heart rate or a prolonged, painful erection.

There does seem to be an indication that drinking larger amounts of alcohol may increase the appearance of some side effects like headaches, dizziness or blood pressure changes. For the purposes of the study, larger amounts of alcohol might mean drinking the equivalent of five or more glasses of wine, for example. So while it is safe to drink in moderation while taking Viagra, you may want to reduce the amount you drink in order to help limit side effects.

Is It Safe to Drink When Taking Viagra? 

Alcohol can be a contributing factor in ED for some men. So if your ED is related to drinking, you may need to change your drinking habits in order to resolve ED symptoms. However, studies indicate that drinking alcohol in moderation while using Viagra is safe and does not increase the risk of side effects from Viagra (Healthline). 

There does seem to be an indication that drinking larger amounts of alcohol may increase the appearance of some side effects like headaches, dizziness and blood pressure changes. For the purposes of the study, larger amounts of alcohol might mean drinking the equivalent of five or more glasses of wine, for example. So while it is safe to drink while taking Viagra, you may want to reduce the amount you drink in order to help limit side effects. 

Side Effects of Viagra While Drinking

All medication comes with the possibility of side effects, and every person responds differently to medications. The same is true of interactions between alcohol and Viagra. In general, however, moderate drinking is safe for Viagra users. This doesn’t mean that alcohol might not have an impact on how you respond to Viagra, but that the effects are minimal and well tolerated. 

It is possible that taking Viagra while drinking might increase instances of headaches, dizziness, flushing and heart palpitations. It may also cause changes in blood pressure. If you have any of these types of issues while taking Viagra, you should talk with your doctor. When possible, you should reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol while taking Viagra, especially if you have experienced Viagra side effects in the past. 

In general, it is safe to drink in moderation while using Viagra, but like all drugs and supplements, interactions may occur. For this reason, it is important to always disclose everything you take to your prescribing doctor. This includes all medication you use, vitamins and supplements as well as your drinking habits. This gives your medication provider the information they need to help you resolve your ED in a safe and effective way.

Sources

Alcohol and Temporary Erectile Dysfunction, SMSNA for Patients, accessed 08/21/2021

Alcohol Use in the United States, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), accessed 08/21/2021

Erectile Dysfunction Overview, Mayo Clinic Staff, Mayo Clinic, accessed 08/21/2021

No Adverse Hemodynamic Interaction Between Sildenafil and Red Wine (abstract), Stephen J Leslie et al, National Library of Medicine, October 2004 accessed 08/21/2021

Viagra, ED, and Alcoholic Drinks, Healthline, 08/03/2016 accessed 08/21/2021

 

Viagra Uses, WebMD, accessed 08/21/2021


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.


About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

4 min read