Viagra and Alcohol: Can you mix them?

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
2nd June 2021

In 30 seconds…

Does Viagra work with alcohol? Yes, it does – but not as well as it works without alcohol. Mixing Viagra and alcohol in large quantities is not recommended if you want the most effective help for erectile dysfunction (ED).

Drinking alcohol in smaller amounts whilst on Viagra is generally safe. However, the more you drink, the more likely you are to see the medication’s side effects too. Meanwhile, excessive alcohol consumption makes it more difficult for you to get it up in the first place. This means cutting down on the booze will help your erections – with or without Viagra.

Can I Take Viagra With Alcohol?

Viagra – with its active ingredient, Sildenafil – is the most popular treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) on the market. With an effectiveness rate of over 80% and side effects being rare, it’s an ED treatment that’s both highly effective and incredibly safe too. 

But you might be wondering whether you can safely take Viagra whilst drinking alcohol. Of course, the mood may well call for a drink or two. Unfortunately, though it’s probably better for you – and for your erections – if you keep the booze to a minimum. 

For a number of reasons, it’s best not to mix Viagra and alcohol. Because, whilst a glass of wine won’t hurt, much more (e.g. more than 2-3 units) and you’re increasing the risks of Viagra side effects – and making the chance of continued ED more likely too.

Does Viagra Work With Alcohol?

Alcohol in your system affects the way your body reacts to Viagra. Anything more than a couple of drinks is simply counterproductive: it’ll prevent the little blue pill from being as effective as it should be. Alcohol can decrease the amount of blood flow to the penis, indirectly inhibiting the actions of Sildenafil.

Viagra works by improving your blood flow to your sensitive parts – by targeting a particular enzyme, PDE5, that regulates muscle contraction within blood vessels and the blood flow to your penis. By inhibiting this enzyme, Viagra and other PDE5-inhibitors, such as Tadalafil, get more blood flowing and staying down there. And that’s good for sustaining your erections.

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How Does Alcohol Affect Viagra?

In this process, Viagra lowers your blood pressure. The trouble is that, in the short term, alcohol does too. This means that, when taken in combination, Viagra and alcohol can result in sudden drops in blood pressure that can be very dangerous – particularly if yours is low to begin with. It can lead to sudden dizziness and risk of falls. 

Note: if you do come over dizzy after treatment, it’s important to sit down or lie down until this passes.

It’s rare for this to happen, but Viagra and alcohol interact in ways that are less extreme too. The majority of Viagra’s common side effects – including dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches – are due to this lowering of your blood pressure. But the effect of alcohol is to make all of these side effects slightly more likely – and, as you’ll know, it can cause a lot of these effects itself too.

Alcohol and Medications

Besides the impact on your blood pressure, alcohol affects the way that drugs are absorbed by your body. Again, this applies more in larger quantities; a couple of drinks won’t usually pose a problem.

The enzymes that metabolise alcohol help your body to break down certain medications, too. The more alcohol there is in your system, the more of these enzymes your body produces. With the enzymes in a greater number, you’ll break down more, and absorb less, of any medication you are taking. 

As a result, they’re less likely to be effective – as less of the active ingredient is absorbed into the bloodstream. So, the more alcohol you’re drinking, the faster your body will break down the Sildenafil in Viagra – meaning less of it gets to where it needs to go. The effect there will be visible: the stiffer the drink, the less stiff your erection.  

Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction

There’s another thing we should mention: heavy alcohol use reduces your ability to get it up in the long term. Knowing this, you might be using Viagra to help a problem to which alcohol has contributed. Given this, more alcohol might not be wise. 

The science here is fairly clear. A famous study from 2007 found that, among men who are dependent on alcohol, 72% had some sort of sexual dysfunction – with ED one of the most common. Another study conducted in Italy also found that men consuming more than three units of alcohol daily were 40% more likely to have ED. To drive the point home, a further study found a strong correlation between alcohol use and cardiovascular disease, which is thought to make ED more likely. 

Generally speaking, booze in large quantities isn’t great for your erections – nor for your general sexual health. Your testicles, for example, may reduce in size due to excessive alcohol consumption, whilst your prostate is at an increased risk of becoming inflamed. Your testosterone levels can become dramatically lowered by alcohol too.

So, No alcohol With Viagra?

None of this is to say that you can’t mix Viagra and alcohol at all. A drink or two can help you get in the mood for love. Whilst alcohol may help any anxiety or shyness, there is evidence to suggest that it helps arousal too. Funnily enough, drinking in moderation may have a positive effect on your ability to get hard. A study found that people on 21 units or less a week were 30% less likely to experience ED. 

So, no, alcohol does not need to be cut out completely. However, it is best to recognize that alcohol is probably not improving your sexual performance. If you want harder erections, and a healthier lifestyle in general, keep an eye on how much you are drinking – and not only when mixing alcohol and Viagra.

Key Takeaways…

All in all, for the sake of the pill’s success – and for your performance – we recommend that you take it easy on the alcohol when using Viagra. The more you drink, the less likely Viagra will do what you want it to – and the higher chance of nasty side effects. 

Finally, whether you’re on Viagra or not, heavy drinking is not good for your erectile health. If there is one way to improve your sexual performance, cutting down on the bevs might be it. If you think you might be struggling with alcohol intake, be sure to go and see your GP.

Erections aren’t always easy for millions of men in the UK. It’s no big deal. Choose from highly effective, clinically proven solutions.

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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