Can You Take Viagra With High Blood Pressure?

Are high blood pressure and Viagra a concerning combo? Here’s what you should know.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is enough of a downer — no pun intended. The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not taking an ED medication is safe if you have high blood pressure. And yet, this is actually a pretty important thing to consider. 

Many men deal with ED. In fact, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reports that approximately 30 million men in the United States are affected by it. Given this large number, it’s safe to assume there are lots of guys who deal with both erectile dysfunction and high blood pressure.

Thankfully, ED can be treated with medication. But any time you take a new medication, it’s important to make sure it won’t interfere with a medical condition like high blood pressure.

So, what about the most common ED medication, Viagra? If you have ED, there’s a good chance your healthcare provider will recommend the generic version, sildenafil.

Keep reading to learn about the relationship between Viagra and blood pressure, including whether it’s safe to take the former if you have the latter.

Can You Take Viagra With High Blood Pressure?

We’ll get right to the point: Generally, it’s thought to be safe to take Viagra if you have high blood pressure.

Now that you have the good news, it may be helpful to have a basic understanding of how sildenafil works. If you don’t deal with ED, when you get aroused, signals travel from your brain to the muscles that control the blood vessels that encourage blood to flow to your penis. As blood flows to your penis, it increases in size and gets firm.

Your penis stays firm, thanks to the tunica albuginea, which wraps the area where blood flows and keeps it sealed until you ejaculate.

If something goes wonky with this process, sildenafil can help by dilating the arteries that allow blood to flow into your penis. This encourages more blood to flow into the area, so you get hard.

When you have high blood pressure, your heart and blood vessels have to work harder to make blood flow through your body. This is pretty much the opposite of what sildenafil does — as a reminder, it relaxes certain blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily.

Does Taking Viagra Increase Blood Pressure?

Does Viagra cause high blood pressure? While Viagra may increase blood flow to the penis, it doesn’t raise blood pressure. In fact, some research suggests the opposite.

A study found that men who were taking sildenafil saw a slight decrease in blood pressure. This was even true for those taking other blood pressure medications.

While the study found that taking sildenafil — even a single dose! — may result in a slight lowering of blood pressure, more research needs to be done to determine if sildenafil would do anything in the long-term treatment of hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure).

Another study drew a similar conclusion, stating that there were slight decreases in blood pressure in men taking sildenafil. However, the researchers noted that the drop in blood pressure was insignificant. It also concluded that sildenafil is generally safe for younger and older men with and without hypertension.

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What Is The Connection Between Viagra and High Blood Pressure?

There’s no direct connection between taking Viagra and high blood pressure. Research has found that taking Viagra does not increase high blood pressure. Not only that, but some research has found that taking this ED medication could slightly lower your blood pressure. 

If you’re dealing with high blood pressure, it could impact your sex life by hurting your sexual function.

For the most part, there are no overt symptoms of high blood pressure. Many people may not even know they’re hypertensive until they see a healthcare provider.

However, having high blood pressure can damage your arteries. This could result in less blood and oxygen getting to your heart, which can lead to cardiovascular disease (more commonly called heart disease), chest pain and even a heart attack or heart failure.

If you have heart issues caused by high blood pressure, it’ll be hard to focus on sexual desire. This is just one of many reasons it’s important to take care of your health and regularly check in with a medical provider.

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Can Viagra Be Used to Control Blood Pressure?

According to the research, Viagra lowers blood pressure in a very minimal way. Because of this, it is not an appropriate medication for the continued control of blood pressure.

Medications commonly used for high blood pressure include

  • Diuretics

  • Beta-blockers

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors

  • Angiotensin II receptors

  • Calcium channel blockers

More rarely, a healthcare provider may prescribe alpha-blockers, centrally acting drugs, vasodilators and renin inhibitors. Many of these medications work by encouraging the relaxation of blood vessels and allowing for an increase in blood flow.

Side effects of blood pressure medicines include weight gain or weight loss, headaches and coughing.

It’s important not to try to self-treat high blood pressure by taking Viagra. Instead, seek medical treatment from a trained professional. They’ll be able to assess your blood pressure level and suggest ways to lower it.

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Other Ways to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

It’s worth repeating, most people with elevated blood pressure can take Viagra (or sildenafil). Of course, you should always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any new medication.

In addition to Viagra, there are various other ED medications that have been shown to help with sexual dysfunction. This includes:

  • Tadalafil. Tadalafil (and the brand name Cialis®) is in the same class of medications as Viagra. It can last up to 36 hours, which is why it’s often called the “weekend ED medication.”

  • Levitra®.  Levitra (and the generic version vardenafil) is another type of ED medication. It works within 30 to 60 minutes of taking it. In a clinical trial, 75 percent of men said they got an erection that was hard enough for sex after using the 10-milligram dose, while 80 percent of men said the same after taking a 20-milligram dose.

  • Avanafil. Avanafil (and the brand name version Stendra®) works after 15 minutes. Many like it because it’s associated with fewer side effects than other ED medications.

If you’re interested in taking an ED medication or want to learn more about how these types of treatments impact blood pressure, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.

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