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Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

Viagra And Alcohol


Like many medications, Viagra is not impervious to the effects of alcohol.  After all, alcohol has the potential to interact with some medicines, because it thins the blood, and can lead to medication being broken down faster than normal.

Drinking alcohol decreases the blood flow to the penis, which makes it harder for you to get an erection. If you’re taking Viagra because you have had erection problems in the past, you should avoid alcohol. In addition, alcohol and Viagra can interact; Viagra lowers your blood pressure, as does alcohol.

How much alcohol can I drink?

Most men are aware that when alcohol is consumed, the natural erection process can be affected. In fact, alcohol is one of the reasons men could be experiencing erectile dysfunction in the first place! This is because drinking alcohol decreases the blood flow to the penis, making it harder for you to get an erection.

In fact, a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, found that 72 percent of men suffering from alcohol dependence had one or more sexual dysfunction – the most common being premature ejaculation, low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction. The quantity of alcohol consumed was the most significant predictor of developing sexual dysfunction.

So while a small amount of alcohol can have an effect, Viagra is more likely to interact negatively with alcohol when large quantities are consumed. So it’s best to be very cautious when drinking alcohol if you are taking the medication. If you have to drink, stick to just one or two units – although of course it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether!

General side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Visual disturbances
  • Headaches

Less frequent side effects of Viagra (affecting between one in 100 and one in 10,000 people) include:

  • Rashes
  • Fainting
  • Muscle ache
  • Blood in urine
  • Numbness
  • Tinnitus
  • Nose bleeds
  • Increased heart rate
  • Eye irritation

Rare side effects of Viagra include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia)
  • Blistering skin
  • Painful, prolonged erections
  • Severe allergic reactions (problems breathing, swelling of face, throat and tongue)

How to minimise side effects of Viagra:

  • Lower the possibility of dizziness by standing up more gradually to avoid getting a head rush
  • Take Viagra with food –  this medication is usually taken on an empty stomach as this increases the onset of action, however taking it with food in the stomach may help to reduce the risk of some undesirable effects
  • Lower your dose. Discuss taking a lower dosage of Viagra with your doctor if symptoms are disruptive to your life

Other important information:

  • Avoid taking nitrates (because Viagra can enhance the effect of nitrates, leading to a significant drop in blood pressure)
  • Do not take Viagra if you have recently suffered from a stroke, suffer from myocardial infarction (heart attack), or unstable angina

For more information, contact one of MedExpress’ customer service team. 

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Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
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Originally published December 14 2017, updated October 06 2018