Your Questions About Viagra Connect Answered

Your Questions About Viagra Connect Answered

Can I buy Viagra Connect over the counter?

 

Erectile dysfunction affects a large number of people and some can find it embarrassing.

 

Previously, treatment required visiting a GP and being prescribed an erectile dysfunction treatment but it is now possible to get effective treatment over the counter treatment from your pharmacist.

 

But what do you need to do in order to access an over the counter erectile dysfunction treatment such as Viagra Connect?

 

How to access treatment

If you’ve found that you’ve recently begun struggling to either achieve or maintain an erection, you may well find that you benefit greatly from taking erectile dysfunction treatments.

 

You may also be dealing with a range of other conditions or circumstances that are affecting your ability to maintain an erection.

 

This could be anything from extreme anxiety and stress, to obesity and cardiovascular disease.

 

Traditionally access to treatment required arranging an appointment with your doctor and discussing your problems openly.

 

Viagra Connect functions differently in that it has been certified for over the counter sale, meaning that you simply need to visit your pharmacist for treatment.

 

Why doesn’t Viagra Connect need a prescription?

Viagra Connect is different to prescribed Viagra in that it comes in only a single strength – 50mg.

 

Prescribed Viagra can range in strength from 25 to 100mg depending on the severity of the condition.

 

The UK Government allowed Viagra Connect to be sold over-the-counter as a result of a reassuring assessment on the safety of Viagra Connect, as well as advice from the Commission of Human Medicines and a positive public consultation in early 2017.

 

How does this benefit me?

 

Some men may feel too embarrassed to visit a GP and discuss their erectile dysfunction.

 

It’s hoped that making Viagra Connect easily available from a pharmacist will greatly reduce the stigma attached to the condition.

 

It also means that those with a busy lifestyle who struggle to find time for a doctor’s appointment are still able to seek a treatment option before they feel the need to schedule a consultation.

 

Because Viagra Connect is provided by Pfizer, the manufacturer of the original sildenafil Viagra tablet, you can be sure that you are getting a high-quality product that’s been produced to a consistently high standard.

 

It’s believed that making an erectile dysfunction treatment more easily and safely accessible in this way will also reduce people sourcing their treatments through unlicensed or illegal vendors.

 

This in turn will help ensure patient safety, as it guarantees that a treatment is both 100% safe and genuine.

 

What is Viagra Connect?

 

Viagra Connect is an over the counter erectile dysfunction treatment, available to patients over the age of 18 who suffer from problems of varying severity, from mild (a soft erection) to severe (no erection at all).

 

Viagra Connect contains 50mg of sildenafil. This is a well-established treatment for erectile dysfunction and provides access to effective treatment without the need for a prescription. This allows sufferers to access treatment more efficiently.

 

Why do I have erectile dysfunction?

 

Erectile dysfunction has a number of causes, from physical problems such as cardiovascular disease to psychological causes including depression or a lack of arousal.

 

You might also be taking medication for a range of health issues, some of which could be the cause of erectile dysfunction.

 

It is often worth looking at the side effects of your current medications to see if this is the potential cause.

 

It’s also important to keep in mind that alcohol and recreational drugs can also lead to erectile problems.

 

If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, the impact on your self-esteem and general quality of life can be difficult.

 

Getting effective treatment can help restore confidence and counteract many mental health issues, such as depression, which can occur as a result. It’s important that you seek treatment or discuss your options with a GP as soon as possible.

 

Who is Viagra Connect for?

 

Viagra Connect is a treatment for men over the age of 18 who are suffering from erectile dysfunction.

 

This might mean the patient has moderate (a soft erection) to severe (no erection) erectile dysfunction.

 

The treatment works by making the body able to maintain the biochemical reaction to sexual stimulation.

 

Viagra Connect does this by inhibiting the enzyme that causes this reaction to break down, allowing for an erection to be maintained for longer.

 

Viagra Connect helps to mitigate some of the physical, psychological and medication-induced causes of erectile dysfunction.

 

Not only does effective erectile dysfunction treatment allow men to fully engage in sexual activity it can also have a range of emotional benefits for patients.

 

Erectile dysfunction can be particularly damaging to overall mood and self-esteem, with anxiety, stress and depression being common symptoms caused by the condition.

 

Treating the cause can help these problems subside, restoring self-esteem and confidence.

 

Other assistance

Alongside treatments such as Viagra Connect, there are other avenues which can be used to help support erectile dysfunction treatment.

 

These are mainly lifestyle changes which can help reduce the various health factors which if left unchecked can cause erectile dysfunction. These steps include:

 

  • Taking regular exercise
  • Eating more healthily
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoiding recreational drugs and smoking
  • Limiting alcohol use
  • Losing weight

 

These changes can all contribute to combating erectile dysfunction.

 

For more information about how to work towards these different health goals, it is worth seeking out the advice of your GP for assistance.

 

What is the alternative if I can’t use Viagra Connect?

In the event that you cannot use Viagra Connect due to various health issues or conflicts with other medications, you should arrange to speak to your GP in order to discuss other more suitable options and alternative erectile dysfunction treatments.

 

This could be a different medicine or seeking out treatment for a pre-existing condition which is the cause of erectile dysfunction in the patient.

 

Visit your pharmacist

To get started in receiving your treatment is to visit your pharmacy. If you are over 18, your pharmacist will discuss the treatment with you and assess if you are suitable and able to take Viagra Connect.

 

This discussion will investigate your cardiovascular health, look at any other medications you are currently prescribed and check if you are currently affected by any other medical issues.

 

In some situations, such as if you exhibit symptoms common with cardiovascular disease, have a history of suffering from angina or had a stroke or heart attack within the last 6 months, you might be refused Viagra Connect and referred to your GP to discuss other suitable treatment options.

 

How to take Viagra Connect

Patients dealing with erectile dysfunction often suffer from stress and depression associated with symptoms.

 

Getting the right treatment is important in helping to restore confidence and fight against the stress and other mental health issues erectile dysfunction can cause.

 

When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction, it’s important that treatment is straightforward and simple and its use is easily understood.

 

Timing

Viagra Connect should be taken approximately one hour before any sexual activity.

 

However, it is important to keep in mind that, in some cases, Viagra Connect can start working within 30 minutes.

 

Normally, you are advised to take your tablet with water.

 

Keep in mind that, if you take Viagra Connect alongside a meal, it can take longer to take effect, especially if this meal is high in fat.

 

You should also avoid grapefruit juice when taking Viagra Connect, as this can increase the levels of sildenafil in the blood beyond the necessary amount.

 

Patients should also be aware that in some cases they may need to take Viagra Connect on multiple occasions before seeing the desired results.

 

Dosage

The recommended maximum dosage for Viagra Connect is one 50mg tablet per day and patients should avoid exceeding this as it can potentially increase the likelihood of suffering from side effects.

 

This dosage level doesn’t need to be adjusted for older patients, or patients who may suffer from mild to moderate kidney problems.

 

However, patients with more severe renal issues should talk to their GP prior to taking Viagra Connect as they may be better served by a lower dosage tablet.

 

What if symptoms persist?

In certain situations, you might find that after taking Viagra Connect on several different occasions that you aren’t getting the right results or still seem to be unable to maintain an erection.

 

If this happens it is important to go to your GP for advice and inform them of the medications you are taking, including Viagra Connect.

 

How Viagra Connect works

The active ingredient in Viagra Connect is 50mg of Sildenafil. This belongs to a group of medicines known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5) inhibitors.

 

Sildenafil works by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis and helping to make the body more responsive to sexual stimulation.

 

This helps to increase blood flow to the penis when sexually stimulated, which in turn helps with achieving and maintaining an erection.

 

You should keep in mind that Sildenafil doesn’t increase sex drive, but simply makes achieving and maintaining erections easier.

 

If you find yourself struggling with other sexual health issues, such as premature ejaculation or a suddenly decreased or non-existent sex drive, you should speak to your GP or pharmacist to see what other treatments may be available and beneficial.

 

What Viagra Connect contains

Getting the right treatment for erectile dysfunction is important to ensure it can work as quickly and effectively as possible.

 

It’s also important to be aware of what goes into your treatment so that you can make an informed and safe decision about what choice of medication is the right one for you.

 

Active ingredients

Viagra Connect is manufactured by Pfizer, the same company that manufactured the original Viagra tablet.

 

However, unlike the original Viagra tablet, Viagra Connect is easier to acquire at a pharmacy without a prescription.

 

As with prescribed Viagra, the active ingredient in Viagra Connect is sildenafil.

 

Prescribed Viagra can vary in strength from 25mg to 100mg depending on factors such as the severity of the condition.

 

Viagra Connect is only offered in a strength of 50mg.

 

How does sildenafil work?

Sildenafil belongs to a group of medications known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5) inhibitors.

 

Major erectile dysfunction treatments will use this type of medication to treat an issue, though the specific active ingredient will vary depending on each product.

 

Sildenafil works by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis, which better allows blood to flow to the penis when sexually stimulated.

 

However, you should note that you may not see instant results when taking this product.

 

If, after several instances of taking Viagra Connect, you don’t see any results then you should seek out the advice of your pharmacist or GP as there may be other underlying health issues which require treatment.

 

Allergy and safety

Though the active ingredient is sildenafil, it’s important to remain aware of the other ingredients in the tablet so that your safety is ensured.

 

Talking with your pharmacist before purchasing the product will also help the pharmacist know if a treatment is suitable for you.

 

For example, the film coat on Viagra Connect contains lactose, so those with severe lactose intolerance should consider alternative treatments.

 

Each pack will come with a list of ingredients and safety information so that you can make an informed decision as to exactly whether a treatment is safe for you.

 

The discussion with your pharmacist will also help you to work out if Viagra Connect will conflict with any other medications or exacerbate any other underlying health conditions.

 

The initial assessment that is made will determine if Viagra Connect is right for you and point you in the right direction for alternative treatments or advice should you need to pursue a different form of treatment.

 

Can Viagra Connect harm you?

All medications carry a degree of risk with them, even the most common treatments like paracetamol.

 

Specific groups of people may need to avoid using certain treatments, side effects may exist, and proper dosage instructions need to be followed accurately.

 

Ignoring these directions with any medication including those for erectile dysfunction can be potentially harmful to a patient.

 

Who shouldn’t use Viagra Connect?

There are certain groups of people and people with certain conditions which mean you can’t use Viagra Connect to treat erectile dysfunction.

 

This is why your pharmacist will discuss Viagra Connect with you prior to selling it. People who should avoid using Viagra Connect include:

 

  • Men under 18 years of age – anyone under the age of 18 should visit their GP if they think they have a problem with erectile dysfunction
  • Women – the product is only for men aged 18 and over. If you feel this is a product your partner needs, then it is important to discuss this with them and direct them to visit their doctor or pharmacist for additional information.
  • Men who do not suffer from erectile dysfunction – Viagra Connect isn’t intended to enhance or aid sexual performance and does not help with other issues such as premature ejaculation. Patients suffering from other sexual well-being problems should arrange to speak to their GP to get additional help and advice if necessary.
  • Patients with allergies – you shouldn’t use Viagra Connect if you are allergic to sildenafil or other ingredients present within Viagra Connect.

 

Men with specific health problems. There are a number of health complaints which prevent the safe use of Viagra Connect. These include:

  • Hypotension
  • Previously diagnosed liver problems such as cirrhosis
  • Severe kidney problems
  • A deformation of the penis – this includes angulations or issues such as cavernal fibrosis or Peyronie’s disease.
  • Sickle cell anaemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Leukaemia
  • Inherited eye diseases
  • Bleeding issues such as haemophilia
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Galactose intolerances

You should also avoid taking Viagra Connect if you suffer from cardiovascular issues, these include:

 

  • Breathlessness or chest pains after light or moderate physical activity
  • Being previously advised against sexual activity by the GP because of cardiovascular issues
  • Patients who have experienced a stroke or heart attack within the last 6 months
  • Difficulty maintaining blood pressure
  • Hypotension
  • Unstable angina
  • Moderate or severe valvular disease
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Significant arrhythmias
  • Previous cardiac failure

There are also situations where you shouldn’t take Viagra Connect in conjunction with other medications.

 

Your pharmacist will be able to discuss these with you and let you know if you are taking other medications which shouldn’t be used alongside Viagra Connect.

 

Does Viagra Connect have side effects?

With any medication, there is a small chance of experiencing some side effects from its use.

 

Being aware of those potential side effects can help you to understand when something might be wrong, and you need to cease taking a particular medication or seek medical help.

 

What are the possible side effects?

The main ingredient in Viagra Connect is sildenafil. The side effects that occur in association with this ingredient are usually minor and not particularly intense.

 

When taking Viagra Connect the most commonly reported side effects are:

 

  • Headaches
  • Hot flushes
  • Dyspepsia or indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Blurred vision
  • Cyanopsia – a condition which causes blue-tinted vision
  • Temporary changes in colour vision

 

If you experience any of these side effects, you should, much like with any other medication, stop taking Viagra Connect immediately and if necessary seek out the advice of your GP as soon as possible.

 

There are much less common but also more severe side effects. You should stop taking Viagra Connect and seek medical advice immediately if you experience any of these:

 

  • Chest pain, dizziness, feeling faint or nauseous during or after sex. In these situations, you shouldn’t use nitrates to treat any potential chest pains.
  • A persistent and potentially painful erection that lasts more than 4 hours
  • Sudden decreases in hearing or vision
  • Seizures or fits
  • Allergic reactions – including sudden wheeziness, difficulty breathing or swelling of the eyelids, face, lips or throat
  • Serious skin reactions – these can include painful peeling and swelling in the skin, and blistering of the mouth, genitals and the eyes. You might also experience a fever

What to do if you notice any side effects

If you notice any side effects, stop taking Viagra Connect and consult with your doctor.

 

If you experience any of the more severe side effects listed then you should stop taking Viagra Connect immediately and seek out immediate medical advice, which could involve going to your nearest A&E.

 

What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation is the term applied to when someone reaches climax earlier than they want or should do.

 

This can be particularly distressing and put a great deal of psychological strain on the sufferer and pressure on their ability to make and maintain relationships.

 

There’s no defined cause, but various emotional factors are often assumed to be involved. These include:

 

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Performance Anxiety

 

There is often a misconception that premature ejaculation can be treated in the same way as erectile dysfunction.

 

However, this is not always the case, as the two different conditions can exist independent of each other and frequently require separate treatments to overcome.

 

Treatment

Viagra Connect isn’t designed to improve or enhance sexual performance.

 

Therefore, it cannot help with other sexual well-being issues such as premature ejaculation.

 

If this is something that a patient suffers from, they should arrange to speak to their GP in order to find the right course of treatment or discuss other options with their pharmacist.

 

This could include numbing sprays or contraceptives which can help prolong intercourse which could help treat the causes of premature ejaculation alongside issues with erectile dysfunction.

 

Speaking to your pharmacist will help you find the combination of treatments which won’t cause problems or impede each other, allowing you to treat both erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation effectively.

 

This can then help to restore a patient’s confidence and ease anxiety, which in turn can help improve other health issues as a result of an eased mental health burden.

 

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James O'Loan - CEO & Prescribing Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Prescribing Pharmacist on 13 May 2022
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