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How Much Sildenafil Is Too Much?

Vicky Davis

Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 6/6/2021

If you’ve sought help for erectile dysfunction, there’s a good chance your healthcare provider has prescribed or at least talked to you about sildenafil or its brand name, Viagra®.

The reason: the FDA-approved drug is fast-acting, safe and effective. 

But some men are disappointed because it gives you only one reliable session a day and, after that, you have to wait ‘til the clock runs out before taking another one — and that’s a bummer with a capital “B.”

So, what about taking more than the recommended dose of sildenafil to increase your sexual activity? Read on to learn more about sildenafil and proper dosage.

Facts About Sildenafil

  • Sildenafil is most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, but it is also prescribed to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a type of high blood pressure that affects blood vessels in your lungs.

  • This medication works by causing a muscle in your vascular system to relax, which improves blood flow in certain parts of your body and reduces your blood pressure.

  • Sildenafil comes in a tablet form, is in a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors) and requires a prescription.

  • This ED medication is fast-acting. It generally starts working within about 30 minutes and can provide relief from ED for up to four hours.

  • It’s available in a range of dosages — from 25mg to 100mg. 

  • Sildenafil is a generic medication. Brand name versions of sildenafil include Viagra® and Revatio®.

How Sildenafil Works to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

It’s important to know that erectile dysfunction is fairly common — almost certainly more common than you think. 

In fact, according to the National Institute Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 30 million men in the United States are affected by ED.

Before you know how sildenafil works, you have to understand how your body works. Erections need healthy blood flow to occur. 

As you get aroused, signals are sent from your brain to muscles that control blood flow to your penis. As blood flows into your penis, pressure is created that increases its size and firmness.

To keep your penis firm throughout sex, the tunica albuginea (a fibrous covering that wraps around the area where the blood flows to) contracts. This keeps you firm until you ejaculate.

Sildenafil can aid in all of this by dilating the arteries that supply blood flow to your penis so that you can enjoy sexual intercourse.

And don’t worry — taking sildenafil doesn’t mean you’ll just walk around with an erection when you don’t want one. It kicks in and works specifically — and only — when you're aroused. 

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Side Effects Associated with Sildenafil

Tons of men use this medication successfully and safely. But, like with any medication, there are some potential side effects of sildenafil. Thankfully, most are minor and not long-lasting. 

If you have any preexisting medical conditions, be sure to make your healthcare provider aware of them before taking sildenafil — as your medical history could increase risk of adverse effects. 

Here are some of the most common side effects of sildenafil: 

  • Headance

  • Flushing

  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)

  • Abnormal vision 

  • Nasal congestion

  • Back pain

  • Myalgia (muscle aches)

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Rash

In rare instances, more serious side effects occur. You can read about them in our guide to sildenafil side effects. If you experience any adverse effects, contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

Taking More than the Recommended Dose of Sildenafil

Double the sildenafil, double the pleasure, right? Not so much. Actually, not at all. 

While you may think that taking more than your prescribed dose of sildenafil could increase the firmness of your erection or make you last longer, that’s not true. In fact, it could just increase potential side effects. 

There are generally three doses of sildenafil that are commonly prescribed: 25mg, 50mg and 100mg. Which one you’re given is based on your healthcare provider’s assessment of what you need. 

Taking more than they recommend can increase your risk of side effects. 

It can also lead to a more serious condition called priapism. This condition is essentially an erection that lasts longer than normal and it can cause permanent damage to your penis. 

If your erection ever lasts longer than a few hours, you should contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

It’s also worth noting that taking an extra dose of sildenafil won’t help you with arousal issues during sexual intercourse. 

As a reminder, sildenafil doesn’t help with arousal. It merely creates the proper conditions to get an erection when you experience arousal. 

The only time you may be greenlit to take more than one sildenafil tablet is if your healthcare provider decides to up your sildenafil dosage from say 25mg to 50mg. Then, you may be instructed to take two of your 25mg pills. 

Even still, you’ll need to take them at the same time — rather than spacing them out.  

This means that a morning session and evening session may not be in the cards for you on sildenafil. 

If you’re looking for an ED medication that lasts all day, talk to your doctor about tadalafil — another ED medication that lasts longer.

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So, Where Does That Leave You? 

Erectile dysfunction can be an annoying and frustrating condition to deal with. But, the good news is there are solutions. 

Sildenafil is a great medication that can assist in encouraging healthy erections. But you should never take matters into your own hands and increase your dose.

If you find yourself unhappy with how an ED medication is working for you, talk to a medical professional to determine a better solution. 

For instance, tadalafil, sold under the brand name Cialis®, may be an option to consider. When taken daily, Cialis can provide at-will relief from erectile dysfunction. 

Taken as-needed, it can provide relief from ED for a whopping 36 hours — they don’t call it the weekend pill for nothing’. 

Either way, your first step if you’re not getting what you want out of your ED medication is to talk to your healthcare provider. 

They’ll be able to assess the situation and discuss alternative options with you if you’d like. 

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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