Sildenafil is used to treat male sexual function problems (impotence or erectile dysfunction-ED). Sildenafil treats erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. This increased blood flow can cause an erection.
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Sildenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It is used to improve the ability to exercise in adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Children should not usually take this, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that sildenafil is the best medication to treat a child’s condition. It is in a class of medications called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. This treats erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. This increased blood flow can cause an erection. It treats PAH by relaxing the blood vessels in the lungs to allow blood to flow easily.
How should this medicine be used?
Sildenafil comes as a tablet and suspension (liquid; Revatio only) to take by mouth.
If you are taking sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, follow your doctor’s directions and the guidelines in this paragraph. Take it as needed before sexual activity. The best time to take it about 1 hour before sexual activity, but you can take the medication any time from 4 hours to 30 minutes before sexual activity. This usually should not be taken more than once every 24 hours. If you have certain health conditions or are taking certain medications, your doctor may tell you to take it for less often. You can take it with or without food. However, if you take sildenafil with a high-fat meal, it will take longer for the medication to start to work.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you are taking this for erectile dysfunction, you are unlikely to miss a dose since this medication is taken as needed, not on a regular dosing schedule.
If you are taking sildenafil for PAH, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Sildenafil may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- flushing (feeling of warmth)
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms, hands, feet, or legs
- muscle aches
- changes in color vision (seeing a blue tinge on objects or having difficulty telling the difference between blue and green)
- sensitivity to light
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- sudden severe loss of vision (see below for more information)
- blurred vision
- sudden decrease or loss of hearing
- ringing in ears
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- chest pain
- worsening shortness of breath
- erection that is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours
- itching or burning during urination