Can you take Viagra on an empty stomach?

How Viagra works, when it works best, effects of high-fat meals and grapefruit products

Viagra is the brand name of the medicine, sildenafil citrate, used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), a common condition that affects men of any age.  Men with this condition are unable to reach or maintain an erection to take part in sexual activity.

 

Viagra, like other ED drugs, works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of blood vessels in certain areas of the body and supplies enough blood flow to the penis to maintain erections during sexual stimulation. 

 

The way Viagra works is made possible because the drug prevents 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 Viagra is taken orally by swallowing it with a drink of water, the body rapidly absorbs the medicine.  You should take extra care to avoid mineral water that contains nitrate. The concentration (strength) of Viagra in the blood peaks around 30–120 minutes after taking the drug, usually around the 60-minute mark.

 

Viagra can be taken with or without food, but it works best on an empty stomach.  That said, you should always bear in mind that sex consumes a lot of energy and therefore it is important to take extra care in making sure you don’t overburden yourself on an empty stomach during sex.   Viagra takes longer to be absorbed in the body and start working if you take it with or after a meal, especially a high-fat meal, such as a cheeseburger and french fries. The longer it takes for Viagra to be absorbed in your body, means that the medicine isn’t as concentrated in your blood, so it may not be as effective.  This could cause your erection to come later than expected, be less strong than expected and not last as long as you would’ve liked.  

 

So, you should eat lightly in order to allow, on the one hand, Viagra to be absorbed in the body to start working quicker, and on the other, to sustain your vital energy level during sex.  If you’ve had a fat-heavy meal, it is recommended waiting for two hours after eating, to take ED medication such as Viagra. This is because the fats in the meal can slow down your body’s digestive system and prevent the medication from being absorbed properly.

 

As a general rule, it’s best to avoid fatty meals entirely on the days you plan to take Viagra. It’s okay to have some fat, but extremely fat-heavy meals such as a fatty steak, burger, lasagna or omelet are usually best avoided.  If you can’t resist a satisfying meal, try to plan it in a way that should not affect the effectiveness of the drug. For example, you could make sure you have the mel for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, assuming you plan to take Viagra towards the end of the day.  This way, your body will have already absorbed the fat content of the meal before you take the tablet or other ED medication, making it quicker and easier to absorb the drug.

 

You should also bear in mind that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice may affect how Viagra works in your body. Avoid consuming grapefruit products while taking the medicine because any grapefruit product may increase the level of the active ingredient in Viagra (sildenafil citrate) in your blood and so, increase the risk of Viagra side effects.

 

According to a research carried out in Germany in 2002, the absorption of Viagra increased by 23% when taken with grapefruit juice instead of water. Grapefruit juice also delayed the absorption of Viagra.  This last point is important because Viagra is supposed to be taken one hour before sex, and taking the drug with grapefruit juice may result in disappointment for some users of Viagra.

 

References

  1. Medical News Today, How Long Viagra Lasts, [website] 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326034.php, (accessed October 3, 2019).
  2. UCSFHealth, Oral Medications for Erectile Dysfunction, [website] 2019, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/oral_medications_for_erectile_dysfunction/, (accessed October 3, 2019).
  3. VIAGRA, Eat smart before you start, [website] 2018, https://www.viagra.com/taking/tips-for-taking-viagra, (accessed October 6, 2019).
  4. EVERYDAY HEALTH, Viagra and Grapefruit, [website] 2019, https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/viagra, (accessed October 6, 2019).
  5. TheBody, Viagra and Grapefruit Juice -- Not a Good Mix, [website] 2002, https://www.thebody.com/article/viagra-grapefruit-juice-not-good-mix, (accessed October 6, 2019).
  6. Harvard Health Publishing, Grapefruit and medication: A cautionary note, [website] 2018, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/grapefruit-and-medication-a-cautionary-note, (accessed October 6, 2019).
  7. WebMD, CGMP Specific PDE Type-5 Inhibitors/Grapefruit Juice Interactions, [website] 2019, https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-7418/sildenafil-oral/details/list-interaction-details/dmid-71/dmtitle-avoid-grapefruit-unless-md-instructs-otherwise/intrtype-food, (accessed October 6, 2019).
  8. hims, Avoid Heavy, Fatty Meals Before Using ED Medication, [website] 2018, https://www.forhims.com/blog/5-tips-for-taking-ed-medication-effectively, (accessed October 6, 2019).

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