Viagra is one of the world’s most popular erectile dysfunction tablets. Commonly referred to as the ‘little blue pill’, it works by dilating the blood vessels at the base of the penis to increase blood flow for a hard, long-lasting erection. 

If it’s the first time you’ve taken Viagra then no doubt, you’ll have lots of questions. Read on for information on the starting dose and what to expect from the tablets. 

What dose should I start with? 

Viagra (sildenafil) is available in three strengths – 25mg, 50mg, and 100 mg

The first time you take Viagra, the recommended dose is 50mg. This dosage is effective and well tolerated by most men. Here’s how it compares: 

50mg tablets (standard) 

  • Most commonly used dosage
  • Ideal for first-time users
  • Effective, with a low risk of side effects 

25mg tablets (low-strength) 

  • Slightly less effective than 50mg and 100mg doses
  • Lower risk of side effects 
  • Safer for men with other health conditions

100mg tablets (high-strength) 

  • Most effective strength 
  • Higher risk of side effects 
  • Useful for men where 50mg didn’t work

Whatever strength tablet your GP or pharmacist suggests, you should never take more than one tablet in a 24-hour period, even if your first tablet didn’t work. 

What to expect when taking Viagra 

Viagra typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes to work, so we recommend taking it an hour before sexual activity for the best chance of success. 

You can expect it to help you achieve a firm erection, but for it to work you must be sexually aroused first. Viagra is designed to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), it’s not effective at treating low libido or premature ejaculation.  

The first time you take it, you’re likely to be on edge wondering what will happen and how quickly, but anxiety can affect your ability to achieve an erection, so try to relax.

It is important to remember if Viagra isn’t effective on the first go, don’t despair – your nerves may have had an impact.

After you’ve had sex, your penis will go back to its flaccid state but the Viagra will remain in your system. It stays active for around four to five hours after you’ve taken it, so it’s ready to work again the next time you are sexually stimulated

Though Viagra can’t increase the size of your penis, the increased blood flow can make your erection feel bigger and last longer. 

How to use Viagra to get the best results

No matter what dose of Viagra you are taking, there are things you can do to maximise its effects.  

Food – for the best results you should take Viagra on an empty stomach

A heavy meal can slow down the tablet’s absorption rate and delay its effects. If it’s not possible to avoid eating completely, try having a lighter meal instead. 

Alcohol – limit your alcohol intake to two to three units (one or two drinks). 

Alcohol is counter-productive to the effects of Viagra. It can interfere with blood circulation and nerve sensitivity, which makes it more difficult to get an erection. 

Timing – for the best chance of success give yourself plenty of time.  

Viagra remains active in your system for hours after you’ve taken it, but you may not see the effects straight away – make sure you take it at least one hour before sex. 

Medication – avoid medications that can stop Viagra working.  

Some medications, like antacids for example, can interact with Viagra and stop it working as well as it should. Ask your GP or pharmacist for help managing this. 

What if it doesn’t work? 

Viagra is considered to be one of the most effective ED medications on the market, but it doesn’t work for everybody. If your first experience of using it was unsatisfactory, then persevere – it could be that your body just needs time to get used to this new treatment. 

If you’re still not getting the results you would like after a few months of using Viagra, or after taking it on at least eight separate occasions, then talk to your GP or pharmacist about switching to a higher dose.

For most healthy men who have shown very few or no side effects from Viagra, this should simply be a case of upping the tablets from 25 to 50mg, or 50 to 100mg. If this doesn’t work, you may need to consider another brand of prescription drug, such as:  

These ED tablets are part of the same group of drugs as Viagra, but have different active ingredients. You may find that one of these brands suits you better. 

The bottom line Viagra dosage 

The starting dose for men taking Viagra for the first time is 50mg. 

This type of drug is effective at treating erectile dysfunction in most men, but for those who need something stronger, there is also a 100mg tablet. 

To maximise the effectiveness of Viagra, you should take it on an empty stomach and limit your alcohol intake. Remember it will only work if you are aroused. 

For advice, diagnosis or treatment, contact your GP or a pharmacist – the team at Post My Meds is on hand and ready to help.

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Nov 26, 2021 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Nov 26, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm

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