Type of medicine Phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitor
Used for Erectile dysfunction in adult men
Also called Nipatra®; Viagra®; Vizarsin®
Available as Tablets and chewable tablets
Erectile dysfunction (sometimes called impotence) means that you cannot get or maintain a proper erection. There are several causes, the most common being due to a narrowing of the arteries that take blood to the penis.
Sildenafil works by preventing the action of a chemical in your body, called phosphodiesterase type-5. This helps to widen (relax) blood vessels and improves the flow of blood to the penis following sexual stimulation. This helps to maintain an erection.
Sildenafil is available on prescription. Non-branded (generic) tablets of sildenafil are available on the NHS, but the brand Viagra® can only be prescribed on the NHS for men with erectile dysfunction resulting from certain medical conditions.
Sildenafil can also be bought over the counter from pharmacies in certain circumstances. Ask your pharmacist for advice on whether this option is suitable for you.
Another brand of sildenafil tablets called Revatio® is used in a completely different condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension - please see the separate medicine leaflet called Sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension if you have been prescribed this brand of sildenafil tablets.Before you take sildenafil, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the tablets.There are three strengths of sildenafil tablets: 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg. It is likely that you will be given the 50 mg strength tablet to begin with, but this may be changed subsequently depending upon how you react. Each time you collect a prescription, check to make sure it contains the strength of tablet you are expecting.
If you have been supplied with a brand of tablet called Nipatra®, these are chewable tablets. Chew the tablet before you swallow it.Very common sildenafil side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 men)
What can I do if I experience this?
Headache Drink plenty of water. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know
Common sildenafil side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 men) What can I do if I experience this?
Flushing, feeling sick, indigestion, blocked nose These should soon pass
Feeling dizzy, visual changes such as blurred vision or colour distortion.
Community pharmacists are the health professionals most accessible to the public. They supply medicines in accordance with a prescription or, when legally permitted, sell them without a prescription. In addition to ensuring an accurate supply of appropriate products, their professional activities also cover counselling of patients at the time of dispensing of prescription and non-prescription drugs, drug information to health professionals, patients and the general public, and participation in health-promotion programmes. They maintain links with other health professionals in primary health care.