To Little Blue Pill or Not to Little Blue Pill
If you’ve ever considered taking the little blue pill, also known as Sildenafil (the ingredient in Viagra), you might have felt a little hesitant. You may have put up barriers in your mind, cycling through questions like, “Is it safe? What will my partner think? Will the consultant give me the option of a red pill too, like in The Matrix?”
If you experience erectile dysfunction, as men of a whole range of ages (and around 40% of men at 40) do, there’s no shame in checking out all the options available to deal with it. Which is where that little blue pill can fit in. It’s not a magic potion, but it can help you align your body and mind when the mood is right. Also, if it helps, the guys who discovered the anti impotence effects of Viagra did win a Nobel prize for their discovery (you read that right), so you’d also be considering a Nobel-approved solution.
So, let’s go bust some myths…
MYTH #1: “You’re going to have a 4-hour erection”
Nobody but He-Man, Austin Powers and maybe a few porn dudes in the San Fernando Valley think a four hour erection is a good thing. Luckily, sildenafil won’t give you one. The drug kicks in at around the 30-60 minute mark and is active for up to four to six hours and sometimes longer, but it only helps you get and maintain an erection when you’re aroused, and your erection shouldn’t last throughout the period of the drug’s effect. (1)
Nobody but He Man, Austin Powers and maybe a few porn dudes in the San Fernando Valley think a four hour erection is a good thing.
That means you’ll still have to get into the mood with some foreplay rather than an erection magically appearing for the entire duration (that would be dangerous – if you have an erection for four hours or more, you need to get to an A&E).
MYTH #2: “Sildenafil is going to give you a heart attack”
So a little known fact is that Sildenafil was originally invented for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (chest pain due to restricted blood flow). But during the clinical trials, bemused researchers discovered that the drug was more effective at inducing erections. Now no-one expected that to pop up!
There are a few pre-existing medical conditions that mean a man shouldn’t be prescribed sildenafil in the first place however before being recommended it, you’ll be required to undergo a consultation to ensure it’s appropriate for you, and your medical history.
But during the clinical trials, bemused researchers discovered that the drug was more effective at inducing erections.
So in general, it’s a safe licensed drug which has many many years of being successfully used to make getting hard easier.
MYTH #3: “It’s only for those who can never get it up”
Erectile dysfunction means frequently experiencing problems with getting or maintaining an erection, but it doesn’t have to mean experiencing an issue 100% of the time. Sildenafil can be helpful for men across the spectrum of ED: some will need it every time, but others will find that having the pill in proximity gradually boosts their confidence until they’re able to have sex without any medical help at all. It can be a helpful aid for a bunch of men, not only those who can never ever get an erection (but, hey, them too).
The generic unbranded form of Viagra
It’s the active ingredient in Viagra and clinically proven to be highly effective by increasing blood flow into the penis.
MYTH #4: “Taking this pill is addictive”
You may have heard this from people saying that taking sildenafil can become a habit that you rely on. But while it’s advisable to be conscious of your relationship with it and never take more than the prescribed dosage and frequency, it’s not addictive. Sildenafil is approved in the UK by the MHRA, the government body that regulates medicines, and they concluded that there is no evidence from controlled clinical trials that it leads to dependence or addiction. In addition, taking the little blue pill won’t harm your chances of achieving and maintaining an erection in the future. Once sildenafil leaves your system, your body will have no physical dependencies on it.
On a slightly related note though, sildenafil shouldn’t be taken in conjunction with drugs such as poppers, cocaine or mdma.
MYTH #5: “This pill is only available through the GP”
Viagra, and sildenafil generally, used to only be available through a visit to the doctor, which explains this myth. But that situation changed in 2017 when the MHRA made it accessible through other means. Now it’s possible to be prescribed sildenafil by a pharmacist after a consultation and with Manual, you can do that online by having a consultation with a prescribing pharmacist registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. They’ll ensure it’s safe for you to have the medicine before prescribing it.
So there we are, folks. Just a friendly reminder that while Facebook can be a wonderful place to stay in touch with your auntie Debra, it’s definitely not the most trustworthy source of information when it comes to matters relating to the human body.