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Sildenafil is used to treat men with inability to achieve and maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance, and for the treatment of increased pressure in the blood vessels of lung (pulmonary arterial hypertension).

How it works

Sildenafil acts by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis, thereby increasing blood flow through the penis when sexually excited. It also widens and relaxes the blood vessels in the lung decreasing the blood pressure in the lungs.

Common side effects

Nose bleed, Flushing, Headache, Indigestion, Insomnia, Nasal congestion, Running nose, Visual impairment


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Expert advice

  • Sildenafil should not be taken more than once a day.
  • It's best to take this drug about 1 hour before sexual activity, but you can take it anywhere between 4 hours and 30 minutes before you need it.
  • If you have an erection for more than 4 hours, call a doctor.
  • The drug works best when taken on an empty stomach.
  • Do not take sildenafil if you are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems.
  • Sildenafil may cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery after taking sildenafil.
  • Drinking alcohol before taking sildenafil can temporarily impair the ability to get an erection. To get the maximum benefit from the medicine, it is advised not to drink excessive amounts of alcohol before taking sildenafil.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is sildenafil citrate safe and effective?
Sildenafil citrate (also available as viagra, sildenafil, suhagra, caverta) is safe and effective if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Can I take sildenafil citrate for fun / premature ejaculation/ increasing size?
Sildenafil citrate is prescribed by doctor for men with inability to achieve and maintain penile erection. Always consult your doctor regarding its use, as it is available only on doctor’s prescription.
Q. Can I take sildenafil citrate in hand luggage during travel?
If you have a prescription, sildenafil citrate can be taken in hand luggage.

Content on this page was last updated on 18 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)