Viagra - the new party drug!

More people are now taking Viagra to party. Here's why recreational use of the erectile dysfunction medication could be dangerous.

Sildenafil (Viagra) is now one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. Pfizer generated a revenue of $640 million in 2018 through sales of Viagra. An estimated 16 million people globally are taking the popular erectile dysfunction medication.

 

Although the drug is predominantly used to treat serious sexual dysfunction, a growing number of men are using Viagra to party.

 

Why do some men use Viagra recreationally?

A growing number of men take Viagra and co. to experience longer and fuller erections. It sounds like the perfect addition to a sexy night out. For men with low self-esteem it can boost their sexual confidence and may reduce performance anxiety. Although it’s not known how many people (including women) take the drug for fun, the effects of taking Viagra alongside alcohol and illegal drugs such as cocaine are not well understood.

 

“There's a recreational circus going on with these drugs,” Dr. Graham Jackson, consultant cardiologist at Guy's and St Thomas’ hospital in London, UK, told The Guardian. “You can get Viagra from any cab driver now. Nothing much would happen if someone without erectile dysfunction took Viagra, although they might think they feel better, psychologically.” Problems may arise when taking it together with drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or alcohol. “Viagra dilates the blood vessels and allows blood to flow into the penis when these drugs are stopping it,” he adds.

 

The dangers of using Viagra recreationally

When users take Viagra just for fun, often, they do not understand the side effects. Most men won’t even bother to read up about the side effects when swallowing the pull pill during a night out. Yet, erectile dysfunction drugs come with serious warnings about potentially negative effects including headaches, nausea, muscle cramping, and dizziness.

 

Another serious issue with recreational Viagra is the quality of the pill itself. A large number of ‘party Viagra’ will in fact be fake Viagra which can include paint thinner, paracetamol or other dubious substances. There is no way of knowing what is in a Viagra pill unless a doctor prescribed it to you. The side effects could potentially be fatal.

 

Men who used erectile dysfunction medications recreationally reported more issues with maintaining erections afterward. Based on a survey of over 3,000 men in the U.S., a study found that users of recreational Viagra had a 2.5-fold rate of erectile dysfunction. The authors also caution that insecure men who take Viagra for fun may become more dependent on the substance.

 

Those who partied with Viagra also reported higher incidences of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because they were more likely to have unprotected sex. The higher rate in STDs is not necessarily related to Viagra alone. In many cases, alcohol or other drugs may lower inhibition in men resulting in riskier behavior.

 

Do not take Viagra without a prescription. If you think you suffer erectile dysfunction, consult a doctor to discuss your options.

 

References

  1. "Pfizer Viagra revenue 2003-2018 | Statista". in , , 2019, <https://www.statista.com/statistics/264827/pfizers-worldwide-viagra-revenue-since-2003/#targetText=Pfizer's%20worldwide%20known%20erectile%20dysfunction,dollars%20in%20revenue%20in%202018.> [accessed 2 October 2019].
  2. Alpert, J, "Viagra: The risks of recreational use.". in The American Journal of Medicine, 118, 2005, 569-570.
  3. "Everything you need for an all-night party ... his and hers Viagra". in , , 2019 <https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/mar/11/familyandrelationships3> [accessed 2 October 2019].
  4. Harte, C, & C Meston, "Recreational Use of Erectile Dysfunction Medications in Undergraduate Men in the United States: Characteristics and Associated Risk Factors.". in Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 2010, 597-606.

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