Can Viagra be addictive?

What Viagra is, its active ingredient, how it works and whether it is addictive; recreational use and abuse factors

Viagra is the brand name for a formulation of the active ingredient, sildenafil citrate developed by Pfizer Inc, for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED).  Sildenafil citrate is also used to treat high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and right side of the heart, called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), under Pfizer’s other brand name, Revatio.

 

Viagra, like other ED drugs, works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of blood vessels in certain areas of the body. This process supplies adequate blood flow to the penis in order to maintain erections during sexual stimulation.  The drug works by preventing an enzyme (smallest protein particle that significantly speed up the rate of chemical reactions that take place within cells) in the body to negatively affect the natural dilation or opening of blood vessels which, when dilated or opened, allow blood to flow freely and quickly to the penis. When taken properly, Viagra act by allowing opening of blood vessel to not only occur, but also last for a long period of time.

 

Men who use Viagra and other ED drugs typically find that their erections are harder and last longer than without medication. This can result in improved sexual performance and for many men, greater sexual enjoyment.

 

The effective use of Viagra to treat ED when taken properly and increasing awareness of ED have made the drug one of the most popular ED medicines.  Viagra, like other ED medications, is now more accessible, as non-branded formulations of the drug are available in the US, under the generic name, Sildenafil.  In the UK, Viagra is available over the counter from the local pharmacy and registered online pharmacies without prescription under the name, Viagra Connect.

 

Although, once simply prescribed to patients for ED, many of these ED drugs are being used by those who do not actually have ED. Recreational use and abuse are issues associated with Viagra, and other medications. 

 

The vast majority of men who use Viagra do so without any major physical or psychological issues.  However, like all medications, there are correct and incorrect ways to use Viagra. When it’s used incorrectly as a recreational drug, Viagra and other ED medicines can have the potential to lead to severe health risks. 

 

As a result of this, there are concerns that the use of Viagra and other ED drugs could cause long-term dependence.  One of the most common concerns people have about Viagra is that it could be a physically addictive medication, similar to many popularly prescribed painkillers and stimulants.

 

It has been suggested that although addiction to ED drugs may be rare (considering how many men who actually suffer from ED choose not to reveal their condition to even their doctors), it is possible to become addicted to Viagra. 

 

It is generally accepted that long-term use and overuse of Viagra and other ED drugs can be dangerous and result in severe health effects.  Nevertheless, unlike many other widely used medications, sildenafil citrate (the active ingredient in Viagra) is not a physically addictive substance. This is also true for other ED medications all of which work the same way, as described earlier.

 

There is no scientific evidence that sildenafil citrate or any other ED medication is physically addictive. Unlike other drugs, Viagra is not known to target the reward pathways in the brain that trigger addiction or cause withdrawal symptoms.
 

References

  1. VIAGRA, Wondering about possible side effects? [website] 2018, https://www.viagra.com/learning/what-are-possible-side-effects, [accessed September 27, 2019).
  2. hims, Is Viagra Dependency a Thing? [website] 2019, https://www.forhims.com/blog/is-viagra-dependency-a-thing, [accessed September 27, 2019).
  3. RehabCenter, Can I Become Addicted To Viagra Or Cialis? [website] 2019, https://www.rehabcenter.net/can-i-become-addicted-to-viagra-or-cialis/, [accessed September 27, 2019).
  4. VIAGRA, Wondering about possible side effects? [website] 2018, https://www.viagra.com/learning/what-are-possible-side-effects, [accessed September 27, 2019).
  5. MEL Magazine, CAN YOU GET HOOKED ON VIAGRA? [website] 2019, https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/can-you-get-hooked-on-viagra, [accessed September 27, 2019). 

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