written by: Diana Cooper•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 3/20/2015
Did you know these little blue pills were initially meant to treat angina? Learn how this drug came about, what bad side effects of Viagra may occur, and what some researchers have to say to the question "is Viagra safe to use?"
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Initially, Viagra was intended to treat angina (chest pain). While being tested, the drug proved to be bad in the treatment of angina but many participants (most who suffered from erectile dysfunction because of their health condition and/or medications they were taking) noticed a great improvement in their sex lives. Although Viagra proved to be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, there are some concerns about its safety.
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Side Effects Can Be Bothersome
According to pre-marketing clinical trials, 2.5% of those taking Viagra discontinued use because of side effects compared to 2.3% of those taking a placebo. The effects were generally mild to moderate in nature and lasted for only a short time.
The following are reported side effects (when taking Viagra as recommended on an as-needed basis): headache, flushing, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, urinary tract infection, abnormal vision, diarrhea, dizziness, and rash. Headache, flushing, and dyspepsia (upset stomach) were the most common. Vision problems were mild and transient (mostly color tinge to vision but also blurred vision and sensitivity to light).
In rare cases, a sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision in one or both eyes have been reported. It is unsure if Viagra has any level of responsibility for these occurrences. If these complications do occur, stop taking Viagra and notify your health care provider right away.
There have also been rare instances of erections lasting many hours. This can cause permanent damage if it is not treated right away. Seek immediate medical attention if an erection lasts longer than 4 hours.
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Is Viagra Safe to Use?
Millions of men have used Viagra since 1988, so is it safe to use?
According to a limited study performed in 2000 by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a high number of cardiovascular problems and deaths appear to be associated with Viagra use. In an analysis of 1,473 serious adverse events involving Viagra, 522 people died. The majority of deaths occurred in people under the age of 65 years with no known cardiac risk factors, were due to cardiovascular causes, were associated with standard dosages (70% with 50 milligram doses), and occurred within 4-5 hours after taking Viagra. More studies are suggested.
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Your health care provider will help you decide if taking Viagra is right for you. Some people with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications will not be able to take Viagra or may be instructed to take low doses. To help prevent the bad side effects of Viagra, use as directed.