Can I Take Expired Sildenafil? And Other Sildenafil Questions, Answered

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Your healthcare provider just prescribed sildenafil (generic Viagra) for your erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms. Awesome! We’re glad to hear you’ve got a treatment. 

You’re probably excited to get your mojo back. But it’s also understandable if your head is swimming with questions.

Like other PDE5 inhibitors, sildenafil is a safe and proven treatment for ED — if used as directed. It’s been FDA-approved since 1998, after all.

PDE5 is short for phosphodiesterase type 5, and it’s an enzyme that’s part of a pathway that impacts blood flow to the penis. PDE5 inhibitors work by inhibiting the action of the enzyme, improving blood flow to your member…and tada — erection!

So, what should you know before taking it? We’ll dig into how to use sildenafil for ED, what to do if you miss a dose and which side effects and interactions to be aware of.

How to Use Sildenafil

Like any medication, following your healthcare provider’s medical advice is crucial. And yet, it’s not always easy to remember complicated dosing guidelines.

Let’s break it down in simple-to-understand terms.

Typical Sildenafil Dosage

Healthcare providers can prescribe sildenafil tablets in different doses. The most common are:

  • 25 milligrams

  • 50 milligrams

  • 100 milligrams

A typical starting dose of sildenafil is 50 milligrams, which you’d take 30 minutes to four hours before sexy time.

Your provider may adjust your dosage depending on your needs and how you respond to the medication.

It’s also possible to be prescribed doses in multiples of 20 mg, including 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg and 80 mg. In these cases, the tablets you have would actually be the generic form of Revatio, a medication that has the same active ingredient as Viagra but is FDA approved for a different condition (although it can be prescribed off label for ED).

When to Take Sildenafil

Unlike some other ED meds, you don’t take sildenafil every day. Instead, you’ll pop one as needed before sexual activity — at least about 30 minutes to an hour before, in most cases. And you shouldn’t take it more than once a day.

Just so you’re aware, the effects typically last up to four hours.

What Foods to Avoid Before Taking Sildenafil

Some meds can upset your stomach if you don’t take them with food. That’s not the case with sildenafil. You can take this ED medication with or without food.

Having said that, high-fat meals can impact the absorption of sildenafil and lead to (literally) flimsy results.

Grapefruit juice can also mess with how the body processes sildenafil. So if you’re a half-grapefruit in the a.m. kinda guy, mention that to your healthcare provider.

(RelatedViagra Prices: How Much Does Viagra Cost?)

What to Do If Sildenafil Doesn’t Work

Your daily dosage should never exceed 100 milligrams — that’s bad-news territory. Not getting results from a 100-milligram dose of sildenafil? Don’t try to take more.

If you’re wondering why sildenafil isn’t helping with your lackluster erections, it might be that you need:

  • A different dose

  • A different ED medication

  • Another kind of treatment altogether (like therapy for psychological ED)

  • To better address underlying causes of ED

Additionally, taking sildenafil too early (we’re talking more than a few hours before having sex) won’t produce the effects you’re looking for. Your erection is likely to wear off by the time the moment strikes.

Yeah, that means you have to do a bit of sex planning when taking sildenafil. But you might be surprised at how sexy the anticipation can be — for you and your partner.

Can I Take Expired Sildenafil?

Avoid taking sildenafil if it’s expired. According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), this is why you should skip taking and safely dispose of expired meds:

  • They might be less effective.

  • They might be harboring bacteria (ew).

  • Their chemical composition could be altered, making them unsafe.

How can you tell if meds are expired? Check the label for a date, likely next to the abbreviation “Exp.”

What to Do If You Forget to Take Sildenafil

Good news! It doesn’t really matter if you forget to take sildenafil because it’s designed for you to take it as you need it.

But be careful about accidentally doubling up on doses. Missing a dose before sex is no big deal — it might just impact the quality of your erection. However, forgetting you already took sildenafil and taking another dose within 24 hours can lead to complications if you go over 100 milligrams.

Sildenafil Side Effects and Interactions

When taking any new drug, you should be aware of the potential side effects. 

The most common side effects of sildenafil include:

  • Headaches 

  • Flushing

  • Stomach upset

  • Nasal congestion

  • Muscle and back pain

  • Nausea 

  • Rash

  • Dizziness

  • Blurred vision

Most of these mild side effects will go away on their own as your body adapts to taking sildenafil.

But sildenafil also comes with some more rare but potentially serious side effects like:

  • Sudden loss of vision (potentially a sign of non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy or NAION)

  • Loss of hearing

  • Allergic reaction 

  • Priapism (an erection lasting longer than four hours)

If you experience any of these symptoms after taking sildenafil, seek immediate medical attention.

And FYI: Even mild side effects can impact your life. If you get an upset stomach every time you take sildenafil, talk with a healthcare professional. They may recommend changing your dose or switching medications altogether. 

Another thing: Sildenafil isn’t right for everyone. It might be dangerous to use sildenafil if you have certain medical conditions or take certain drugs.

Here’s what to consider:

  • Heart problems. If your healthcare provider told you not to engage in sexual activity because of a heart condition (like a history of heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, angina or arrhythmia, also known as an irregular heartbeat), it’s probably best to abstain from sex and sildenafil.

  • Taking medications for high blood pressure. Using sildenafil when you take medications for high blood pressure or pulmonary arterial hypertension could cause a dangerous, potentially life-threatening dip in blood pressure. Avoid taking sildenafil with nitrates, alpha-blockers or other blood pressure meds like riociguat.

  • Priapism risk. If you have a condition — like sickle cell anemia, leukemia, Peyronie’s disease or multiple myeloma — that puts you at higher risk of priapism, you should avoid sildenafil.

  • Retinitis pigmentosa. There’s not enough available data to say whether it’s safe for people with this eye disease to take sildenafil.

  • Recreational drug use. Sildenafil can interact with the nitrites found in certain recreational drugs popularly known as “poppers,”, causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

  • Other PDE5 inhibitors. Don’t mix sildenafil with other ED drugs, like Cialis, Levitra, Revatio (another brand name for sildenafil) or Stendra. This can put you at risk for low blood pressure. More of something isn’t always better! 

  • Other drugs. Aside from heart medications and other PDE5 inhibitors, taking sildenafil with ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole or clarithromycin (an antibiotic) can increase the concentration of sildenafil in your body and make you more likely to experience side effects.

  • Supplements. Talk with a healthcare professional before mixing sildenafil with supplements, which aren’t regulated in the same way as prescription drugs.

(RelatedThe Best ED Pills for Men)

Understanding How to Take Sildenafil

If you’re living with ED symptoms, you’re not alone. ED affects millions of men worldwide. 

Sildenafil can make it easier to get and keep an erection so you can enjoy a fulfilling sex life.

Here’s what to remember when taking sildenafil for ED:

  • Take it at least 30 to 60 minutes and no more than four hours before sexual stimulation. Also, avoid high-fat foods or meals that can slow absorption.

  • Don’t mix sildenafil with medications that can cause dangerous interactions. Unsure whether your meds are safe to combine with sildenafil? Ask a healthcare professional. 

  • Combine sildenafil with healthy habits. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and quality sleep can maximize your overall health and sexual well-being.

  • There are alternative treatments if it doesn’t work for you. Other oral erectile dysfunction medications include tadalafil (generic for Cialis), avanafil (Stendra), vardenafil and hard mints chewable ED meds. Your healthcare provider might also recommend adjusting your sildenafil dosage.

This article originally appeared on Hims.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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8 Smart Ways to Reduce the Price of Your Prescription Drugs

8 Smart Ways to Reduce the Price of Your Prescription Drugs

If you’re charging prescriptions to a credit card or digging for change in your car and couch every month to scrounge up enough money to pay for prescriptions, you’re not alone.

Around seven percent of U.S. adults can’t pay for prescription drugs they need, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. That’s an estimated 18 million people who say they had to go without at least one prescribed medication in the last three months, according to the poll.

If you struggle to pay for your meds or even worse, go without necessary medications, here’s some good news. With a bit of research and a strategy for finding discounts, you can save on prescription drugs.

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Drug discount cards have been saving consumers money on prescriptions for decades. If your insurance doesn’t cover a prescribed drug or you’re saddled with a high copay, check the price on these drug discount sites to see how much you can save.

  • GoodRX
  • Blink Health
  • SingleCare
  • WellRX

Not up to the research? Ask your pharmacist if they have information on how much you can save with certain prescription discount cards.

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Just because you’ve filled your prescriptions at CVS for the last 10 years doesn’t mean that pharmacy is the only game in town. Check prices at other local pharmacies, including your grocery store. If you can save enough to make the switch worthwhile, dole out your prescriptions among more than one pharmacy.

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Ask your doctor if the prescribed medication has a generic version to save big bucks. “Generic drugs have exactly the same active ingredients and effects as brand-name drugs, but they can cost 30 percent to 80 percent less,” according to the Food & Drug Administration.

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Ordering a 90-day vs. a 30-day supply may save money on certain drugs. Check prices for both quantities before you fill a prescription. You’ll pay more upfront but the savings over three months may be worth it.

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Check with local pharmacies for any discount programs they offer. For example, when you pay $20 (or $35 for a family plan) to join Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club, you can get discounts on more than 8,000 medications. Plus, you can fill 90-day prescriptions on select generic drugs for the price you’d pay for two 30-day prescriptions.

Bonus: Walgreens’ program also provides discounts on prescriptions for your pets.

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Save money by comparing prices at online pharmacies that deliver prescription drugs right to your doorstep. You may save a lot by ordering online.

 Plus, you’ll save on gas and time by not having to drive to the pharmacy and wait in line.

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Many drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs if you meet income eligibility requirements. Contact the manufacturer for that pricey drug to find out if you’re eligible for deep discounts on a medication. To get an idea of how patient assistance programs work, visit RxAssist, which lists a comprehensive directory of patient assistance programs.

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It is important to choose your health insurance wisely.  Brokers are trained professionals that can assist you in finding the best plans for your unique needs.  If possible, find a broker that is familiar with plans in your area and that is certified to sell ACA plans.

“The least expensive plan is not always the best or the most cost-effective option.  Sometimes, a silver or gold plan may cost you less due to lower copays on brand name prescriptions. For those on Medicare, always have a broker review your part D (drug) coverage annually.  Even if your monthly premium is not set to increase, there is no way to know that your prescriptions are still covered the same way for the next year unless you do an analysis of this plan,” says Analisa Cleland, an insurance and financial advisor at Coto Insurance.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, have a certified broker review your coverage annually to ensure that your plan is still a good fit for your individual needs.

This article originally appeared on Debt.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Featured Image Credit: Jelena Danilovic/istockphoto.

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