Mixing Alcohol and Viagra

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Alcohol is a substance that is consumed by millions of individuals each year. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 219.2 million individuals, ages 12 years of age and older, reported that they engaged in alcohol use during some point of their lives. (1) Those who consume alcohol daily, or find it difficult to control their use, may be experiencing alcohol use disorder. In 2019, approximately 14.1 million individuals were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. (2) In 2021, the amount of individuals meeting the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder increased to approximately 29.5 million individuals. (3) With millions of yearly users, many individuals who engage in alcohol use may not be sure whether or not it is safe to drink alcohol after taking certain medications, such as Viagra.

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Common Side Effects of Viagra Use

Viagra, also known by the generic name Sildenafil, is a prescription medication that relaxes the muscles in the blood cells and increases blood flow to certain areas in the body. (4) Viagra is used to help treat erectile dysfunction in men. Viagra is usually taken as needed approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour before an individual engages in sexual activity. (5) Though Viagra can be taken up to 4 hours before sexual activity. (6) Viagra should not be taken more than once a day.

Like all medication, side effects may occur with Viagra Use.

Common side effects associated with Viagra use include: (7)

  • Flushing (Redness, warmth, or a tingly sensation)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in vision (Blurred vision, changes in color vision)
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep or experiencing insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Back pain
  • Stomach pain

Less common side effects of Viagra can occur.

It is important that an individual contact their physician if they experience the following symptoms following Viagra use: (8)

  • Ringing in the ears or sudden hearing loss
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles, or feet
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Seizures
  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling as if you may pass out

How Does Alcohol Influence the Effectiveness of Viagra?

Viagra works by widening blood vessels, which improves blood flow and helps maintain an erection. This process is known as vasodilation. (9) Alcohol can also cause a widening in blood vessels. Vasodilation can cause a decrease in blood pressure. (10) Mixing alcohol and Viagra can increase an individual’s risk of worsening their blood pressure levels. Combining these two substances may also be counterproductive as those taking Viagra are seeking to improve their erectile dysfunction, which alcohol has been found to worsen.

Can Alcohol Increase the Side Effects of Viagra Use?

Combining alcohol and Viagra use can lead to an increase in side effects associated with Viagra. Viagra can lower an individual’s blood pressure, and combining it with alcohol use can increase the severity of this side effect. (11)

Alcohol Can Affect the Erections & Worsen Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when an individual has difficulties getting or keeping an erection. ED is a condition that affects approximately 30 million individuals throughout the United States. (12) Engaging in alcohol use is unlikely to help individuals experiencing ED achieve or maintain an erection. This is due to the fact that alcohol is classified as a depressant, meaning that it slows down the body, brain, and central nervous system.

Dehydration From Alcohol May Reduce Blood Flow

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it can cause the body to eliminate fluids through the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. (13) If the body expels too much fluids, or an individual does not drink enough water, they will become dehydrated following alcohol use. Being dehydrated reduces blood flow throughout the body, which is essential for erectile health.

Alcohol Can Influence Production of Testosterone

Research has found that both chronic alcohol use and binge drinking can impact testosterone and estrogen levels. (14) Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in the testes in men and plays an important role in many bodily functions. Additionally, testosterone is responsible for the development of male sexual organs and sperm. Estrogen is a predominantly female hormone, though it is also found in the male body. Engaging in heavy alcohol use can lower a man’s testosterone levels, while raising their estrogen levels. (15) This may cause an individual to develop breasts and lose body hair.

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Is It Safe to Consume Alcohol Moderately While Taking Viagra?

Engaging in alcohol use moderately following Viagra use appears to be safe. (16)

Side Effects of Consuming Alcohol While Taking Viagra

Side effects can occur if an individual drinks alcohol while taking Viagra.

Side effects associated with combined alcohol and Viagra use include: (17)

  • Facial flushing
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Changes in vision
  • Lightheadedness

Can Alcohol & Viagra Cause Liver Issues?

Engaging in chronic or daily alcohol use can negatively impact the liver. Viagra is broken down in the liver, and combining these two substances can cause the liver to have to work more, leading to liver impairments. If an individual mixes their alcohol with grapefruit juice following Viagra use, the grapefruit juice may interfere with how well the liver can break down Viagra. (18)

Are There Adverse Side Effects That Can Result From Combining Alcohol & Viagra?

Adverse effects can occur in some individuals who combine alcohol and Viagra. This is due to the fact that alcohol, in general, can produce adverse effects, so combining it with Viagra only increases the chances of them occurring.

Adverse side effects that may occur from combined alcohol and Viagra use include: (19)

  • Shrinkage of the testes
  • Reduction of volume and quality of sperm
  • Inflammation of the prostate gland (This adverse effect has also been linked with ED)

Should Alcohol Be Avoided When Using Erectile Dysfunction Medications?

Viagra can stay in an individual’s system for up to a day, though this may vary depending on the individual. (20) Alcohol is removed from the body at a rate of about one drink per hour. (21) Those who take Viagra may choose to avoid alcohol use in order to decrease the likelihood of unwanted side effects. Those who engage in regular alcohol use may find it difficult to stop drinking when prescribed Viagra.

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If you, or someone you love, are finding it difficult to stop or control alcohol use, alcohol use disorder may be at play. At Guardian recovery Network, we can provide you with a complimentary psychological assessment in order to determine which treatment plan is best for your specific needs. Contact us today to speak with one of our Treatment Advisors who will guide you through our simple admissions process. Ask about our free, no obligation insurance benefits check in order to determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. Start your wellness and recovery journey here at Guardian Recovery.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics
  2. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NIAAA_Alcohol_FactsandStats_102020_0.pdf
  3. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics
  4. https://www.drugs.com/viagra.html
  5. https://www.drugs.com/viagra.html
  6. https://www.drugs.com/viagra.html
  7. https://www.drugs.com/viagra.html
  8. https://www.drugs.com/viagra.html
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557562/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557562/
  11. https://www.drugs.com/food-interactions/sildenafil.html
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-and-men.html
  13. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-alcohol-dehydrate-you
  14. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-4/282-287.htm
  15. https://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/viagra-alcohol
  16. https://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/viagra-alcohol
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31444051/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11823754/
  19. https://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/viagra-alcohol
  20. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/spl/data/8420c73a-0be9-49c4-873e-329bdfab53a1/8420c73a-0be9-49c4-873e-329bdfab53a1.xml
  21. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-alcohol-stay-in-your-system

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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