Get Hard or Your Money Back. Start here or learn more

How to Take Viagra for Best Results

Angela Sheddan

Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP, FNP-BC

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 3/9/2021

Viagra® (brand name for sildenafil) can be highly effective for treating erectile dysfunction, more commonly known as ED. 

Like other prescription medicines, Viagra and sildenafil work best when they’re taken in the right conditions. From your mental state to your diet, a variety of factors can influence the effectiveness of drugs like Viagra.

Understanding the optimal conditions for using Viagra can not only help you get better effects — it could also reduce the risk of you experiencing side effects.

Six Tips For Taking Viagra for Best Results

Below, we’ve shared six tips that you can use to take Viagra and sildenafil(generic Viagra) more effectively and get the best possible results from every tablet.

Take Viagra 30-60 Minutes Before Sex

Viagra takes 30 to 60 minutes to become fully active in the body and start producing a noticeable effect on your ability to develop and maintain an erection. 

The amount of time required for it to start taking action depends on a variety of factors, from your diet to your personal metabolism.

If you take your ED medication too soon before sex, it might not become active quickly enough and you could be left with an awkward situation where the drug isn’t quite fully active when you need it most.

Simply put, it’s always best to be prepared. If you expect to have sex, make sure you take your recommended dose of Viagra ahead of time. This not only ensures it will be active and effective — it can also act as a useful confidence boost.

However, be sure not to take your Viagra tablet more than three or four hours before you plan to have sex because the effects of Viagra can also wear off. 

Viagra generally works for about four hours and then begins to wear off. If you take a Viagra pill in the morning for your evening date, you may be out of luck. Hit that sweet spot of 30-60 minutes before sex for the best results.

Avoid Heavy, Fatty Meals Before Taking Viagra

As a general rule, it may be best to avoid fatty meals on the days you plan to take Viagra or sildenafil (or other ED medication). It’s okay to have some fat, but an extremely high-fat meal such as a fatty steak, burger, lasagna or omelet is usually best avoided. 

This is because the fat in the meal can interfere with the absorption of the active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil citrate, which can make it less effective or not at all effective for your erection. Viagra is actually best taken on an empty stomach rather than after a heavy meal.

If you can’t resist a satisfying meal, try to make sure you have it for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, assuming you plan to take your ED medication towards the end of the day.

This way, your body will have already metabolized the fat content of the meal before you take the sildenafil or Viagra, making it quicker and easier to absorb the drug.

get hard, stay hard

Get genuine Viagra with Hims. You'll never look back.

If Viagra Doesn’t Work The First Time, Don’t Panic

Viagra comes in different doses and requires a prescription for a reason. If you take Viagra and sildenafil and don’t notice any effects during sexual stimulation, you may be inclined to panic and assume that your ED issues are permanent. Luckily, this is probably not the case.

ED can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s physical, with your body just needing a little help to develop and sustain an erection. 

Sometimes, it’s psychological, with an issue such as sexual performance anxiety affecting your ability to develop an erection in the first place.

If you don’t see any improvement from using Viagra the first time, your doctor might be able to switch you to a different medication or prescribe you a higher dose to provide a stronger effect. 

Or, your doctor might run some tests to see if there is another medical condition that could be contributing to your erectile dysfunction.

Viagra received FDA approval for ED over two decades ago for a reason — Viagra works. If you don’t notice any effect the first time, don’t panic. 

More often than not, there is a solution available and your ED doctor may be able to help you find it.

Learn more about what to do if Viagra doesn’t work.

Before You Take Viagra, Check for Drug Interactions

If you currently take medication for conditions like high blood pressure, it’s important that you talk to your healthcare provider about any possible interactions before using ED medication.

Viagra and sildenafil do have some potential interactions. They can interact with some of the medications prescribed for treating hypertension (high blood pressure), pulmonary arterial hypertension, HIV and other health conditions. Some of these medications include nitrates, nitroglycerin and alpha-blockers.

Viagra is a type of medication called a PDE5 inhibitor, which stands for phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor. 

While Viagra and its generic versions might be the most popular PDE5 inhibitor on the market, there are other PDE5 inhibitors, such as Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Stendra (avanafil). 

It is very important that you do not take any other PDE5 inhibitor at the same time as Viagra or sildenafil.

Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors work by helping to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow to your penis, but PDE5 inhibitors can also work in arteries near the heart and lungs. 

Taking Viagra with other PDE5 inhibitors or certain medications can increase your risk of experiencing a dangerous drop in blood pressure. 

Before you start taking any ED medication, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional and disclose all of the prescription and non-prescription drugs you take on a regular basis. 

They will be able to inform you of any potential interaction risks and provide expert assistance.

Learn more about PDE5 inhibitors.

Watch Out For Side Effects

Viagra is safe for most healthy men, but as with any medication, there are possible viagra side effects.

Watch out for any of the known side effects, such as headaches, flushing, upset stomach, blurred vision, nasal congestion, muscle and back pain, nausea, dizziness, and rash, and seek medical advice if any of these side effects are persistent.

However, some Viagra side effects are very dangerous. If you experience chest pain, sudden vision loss or sudden hearing loss, seek medical care immediately. 

Also, if you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours, this is called priapism and requires emergency medical attention to prevent permanent damage. 

Serious side effects are very rare and common side effects typically go away over time as you adjust to the medication. 

That said, your ED medication shouldn’t negatively impact your quality of life; it should improve it. So, if side effects are particularly annoying, talk to your doctor to see if you can try a different dose or medication.

If you want to know more about viagra, you can read our blog: Viagra FAQs: 22 Common Questions About Viagra Answered.

sildenafil online

get hard or your money back

Treat ED With a Healthy Lifestyle, Not Just Medication

Erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra, sildenafil and others are relatively safe when used as prescribed. However, it’s also important to live a healthy lifestyle that reduces your ED risk factors and symptoms in the first place.

ED can be caused by health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. In some cases, ED can correspond with an unhealthy lifestyle or issues such as obesity.

By fixing these health problems with a healthy diet and lifestyle, you may often be able to improve your ability to develop and sustain an erection, making ED drugs less necessary than they once were for normal sexual activity. 

As always, it’s best to talk to your doctor about improving your health and fitness using diet and lifestyle choices. 

Sometimes, even a small improvement in your weight, blood pressure, general fitness level or diet can have a huge positive effect on your health and sexual performance.

Learn more about lifestyle and natural remedies for ED.

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.

📫 Get updates from hims

Insider tips, early access and more.