Be attentive while consuming PDE-5 inhibitors such as Cialis, Viagra, or Levitra as they can do harm to the health of people with certain medical conditions. These substances should be used with caution by people who:
- are taking alpha-blockers simultaneously – a medication that is used to treat a number of conditions, such as high blood pressure (hypertension);
- are at risk of priapism – a painful erection that lasts for several hours; for example, people who have sickle cell anaemia which causes abnormal red blood cells.
Do not take PDE-5 inhibitors if you are also taking medicines or drugs that contain nitrates. The combination of the two substances can put your heart in danger.
Organic nitrates are often used to treat angina and amyl nitrate is a recreational drug that is more commonly known as “poppers”.
You are also warned not to take PDE-5 inhibitors if you:
- have low blood pressure (hypotension)
- have been advised not to take part in sexual activity or in activities that widen your blood vessels
- have unstable angina – an underlying heart condition that causes symptoms such as chest pain
- have recently had a stroke – a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted
- have a history of non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy – an eye condition that causes a sudden loss of vision
- have had a heart attack – a medical emergency where the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked
In some cases, PDE-5 inhibitors can still be used even if you are affected by one of these conditions. For example, your general practitioner may advise that PDE-5 inhibitors are safe three to six months after a heart attack.
Side effects of Erectile Dysfunction Treatments
PDE-5 inhibitors can cause some side effects, such as:
- vomiting (being sick)
- flushing (redness)
- headaches and migraines
- vision disturbances
- back pain
- nausea (feeling sick)
- muscle pain
- a blocked or runny nose
Your doctor can prescribe PDE-5 inhibitors to anyone as long as it is safe to do so. However, in some cases you may need to pay the full cost of the medication. The exact price will depend on the dosage and your local pharmacy.
Some people are entitled to PDE-5 inhibitors on NHS prescriptions. This means that you will only need to pay the prescription charge. If you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions, it will not cost you anything.
People with the following medical conditions are entitled to NHS prescriptions for PDE-5 inhibitors:
- multiple sclerosis – a condition that affects the body’s actions and activities, such as movement and balance;
- diabetes – a condition that is caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood;
- Parkinson’s disease – a condition that affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements, including walking, talking, and writing;
- spina bifida – a series of birth defects that affect the development of the spine and nervous system;
- certain genetic conditions, such as Huntington’s disease.
- prostate cancer – the prostate is a small gland between the bladder and the penis;
- polio – a condition that can cause severe muscle paralysis (lack of movement);
- a severe spinal or pelvic injury;
In certain circumstances, some specialist centers may provide a NHS prescription for PDE-5 inhibitors – for example, if erectile dysfunction is causing you severe distress. The healthcare professional who is treating you will consider whether erectile dysfunction is:
- affecting your relationships
- disrupting your daily life
- affecting your mood or behavior
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