Unveiling the Mechanism: How Does Viagra Work to Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

Aarohi Batra
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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how does viagra work

Viagra is one of the most promising medicines for people with Erectile Dysfunction.

According to NCBI, the worldwide prevalence of Erectile Dysfunction can reach 322 million people by 2025.

Therefore, learning about Viagra and understanding ‘how does Viagra work’ is essential to treat people with ED.

Viagra is a medicine that contains Sildenafil as its active ingredient.

This comprehensive article will help you gain knowledge about Viagra, and its mechanism to combat Erectile Dysfunction and lead a healthy sexual life.

So, let’s delve into the topic and learn more in-depth! 

How does Viagra work

Viagra falls in the class of drugs called Phosphodiesterase type 5 Inhibitors (PDE5) and improves erection in people with ED.

The US Foods and Drugs Administration approves Viagra to treat Erectile Dysfunction in men effectively.

The question, ‘How does Viagra work?’ can be understood by learning about the physiology of erection in the absence and presence of the drug.

Normal physiology of erection

During sexual stimulation, Nitric Oxide (NO) is released in the penis.

In return, Nitric Oxide activates an enzyme, Guanylate Cyclase, which further increases cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate (cGMP) levels.

The increased cGMP causes relaxation of smooth muscles in the penis and increases the inflow of blood, hence causing erection.

Viagra mechanism of action

Viagra has no direct effect on the penis.

However, Viagra inhibits the level of the PDE5 enzyme that degrades the cGMP, thus increasing the effect of Nitric Oxide.

The enzyme PDE5, in the smooth muscles of the penis, prevents the relaxing of muscle tissue and blood vessels in the penis.

In the presence of sexual stimulation, Viagra promotes smooth muscle relaxation and blood inflow to the penis by increasing the level of cGMP in the penis. 

Also, Viagra needs a stimulus (sexual arousal) to cause an erection and does not work in its absence.

Additionally, it does not cure Erectile Dysfunction. Rather, it treats the symptoms of the condition.

Warning:
Consult your doctor and seek early medical treatment for Erectile Dysfunction, as delaying can affect the quality of life.

How long does Viagra take to work

After administering Viagra before sexual intercourse, it can take up to 30 minutes for the onset of drug action, lasting 4 hours.

According to NCBI, the ideal time to take Viagra is 1 hour before sexual intercourse.

However, the opportunity for sexual intercourse remains open from 30 minutes to 4 hours after administering Viagra.

Also, it is advised to strictly follow the recommended dosage of Viagra and avoid consuming it more than once every 24 hours to avoid complications.

How to make Viagra work faster

There is no direct way to make Viagra work faster.

However, you can avoid its reduced and delayed absorption into the bloodstream for effective results in the following ways:

  • Administer Viagra at least an hour before for effective results
  • Avoid consuming heavy, fatty meals right before Viagra
  • Do not consume alcohol while administering Viagra

If you see no positive effects, consult your doctor and upgrade the current dosage.

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How do you know when Viagra is working

Viagra does not work immediately after administering the drug. 

It takes time to get absorbed into the bloodstream and show effective results in erection.

Viagra can take up to 30 minutes for the onset of medication action. 

People may notice changes in their erectile function in the presence of a sexual stimulus.

However, according to a study, Viagra can show effective erection in some men as early as 12 minutes. 

Why is Viagra not working

Low blood pressure (may cause severe complication)Source: Ralf_Geithe_from_Getty_Images
Low blood pressure (may cause severe complication)

Viagra works efficiently to treat Erectile Dysfunction in men. However, it may not work due to the following reasons:

  • You are not sexually aroused
  • The dose of Viagra is not enough to cause an erection
  • You might have administered the drug just before sex and didn’t give much time for action
  • A heavy fatty meal can result in reduced and prolonged absorption of the drug

Moreover, due to the following conditions, Viagra might not be working for you. Instead, it may cause severe complications if:

  • You have Sickle Cell Anemia (an abnormal shape of red blood cells)
  • Already taking medications with Nitrates
  • Allergic to PDE5 inhibitor drugs
  • You have low blood pressure
Fact:
Viagra, combined with Nitrates, can cause fatal Hypotension, which is a life-threatening condition.

It is crucial to visit a healthcare practitioner and seek medical attention and treatment before administering Viagra.

Further, inform your doctor about your previous health conditions and ensure regular check-ups.

Conclusion

Viagra is a promising drug in treating Erectile Dysfunction and falls in the Phosphodiesterase type 5 Inhibitors (PDE5) category.

It is an FDA-approved drug and effectively increases the inflow of blood to the penis by enhancing the effect of Nitric Oxide and promoting erection.

However, a sexual stimulus (arousal) is necessary for Viagra to show its peak effects.

It inhibits the level of PDE5 enzyme and increases the effect of Nitric Oxide.

This results in relaxation of blood vessels and promotes the blood flow to the penis by increasing the level of cGMP in the penis.

The increased blood flow causes an erection and improves erectile function in people with erection issues.

Viagra is an effective drug that can show positive results if administered following the recommended guidelines.

Therefore, ensure to follow the recommended dosage to enhance its effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Viagra really work?

Yes, Viagra is one of the most accepted medications for treating Erectile Dysfunction. Viagra increases the effect of Nitric Oxide and inhibits the level of PDE5 enzyme that prevents the relaxing of muscle tissue and blood vessels in the penis. Thus, it causes erection.

What happens after taking Viagra to a man?

After administering Viagra, it may take up to 30 minutes for the onset of action. During that time, the levels of Nitric Oxide increase, and the PDE5 enzyme decrease in the penis. It causes the relaxing of muscle tissue and blood vessels in the penis and leads to erection.

What does Viagra do to men?

Viagra treats Erectile Dysfunction in men. Viagra enhances the effect of Nitric Oxide in the penis and inhibits the level of PDE5 enzyme, relaxing the smooth muscle and blood vessels in the penis. As a result, more blood flow causes erection.

How fast does Viagra work?

After administering Viagra, it can take up to 30 minutes for the onset of drug action, and the effect can last 4 hours. You can administer Viagra between 30 minutes to 4 hours before sexual intercourse. However, the ideal time to administer Viagra is 1 hour before sexual activity.

How can I make Viagra work faster?

There is no direct or special way to make Viagra work faster. However, you can avoid its reduced and delayed absorption into the bloodstream by avoiding consuming heavy and fatty meals or alcohol before administering Viagra. Further, administer Viagra at least 1 hour before the sexual intercourse.

Citations:
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