Viagra and Alcohol: What You Need to Know

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that affects men of all ages. In fact, data shows that more than 18 million men over the age of 20 in the United States are affected by some level of erectile dysfunction, or ED.

Thankfully, ED is a highly treatable condition. These days, a wide range of medications are available to enhance sexual performance and make it easier for men affected by ED to get and maintain an erection.

Among these medications, Viagra is one of the most popular on the market. It’s been available since the late 90s and has a long, proven track record of producing results for its users.

However, using Viagra with alcohol can affect its performance as an ED treatment. Below, we’ve looked at what happens when you drink alcohol and take Viagra, as well as how the presence of alcohol in your body can affect your ability to get and maintain an erection.

Viagra and Alcohol: The Basics

It’s generally safe to drink a small amount of alcohol on nights you plan to use Viagra. While it’s unsafe to drink to excess while using Viagra, a glass or two of wine (or an equivalent serving of beer or spirits) is unlikely to cause any negative interaction with Viagra in a healthy person.

As always, the normal rules of drinking alcohol still apply:

  • Know your limits and make sure you don’t drink too quickly.
  • If you’re worried about getting drunk, limit yourself to one normal serving of your preferred alcoholic beverage per hour.
  • Drink water, fruit juice, soda or other non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic drinks to make sure you stay hydrated.
  • When you reach your limit or start to feel intoxicated, take a break from alcoholic beverages and stick to non-alcoholic drinks.

In a 2004 study, eight healthy men were given 100mg of sildenafil (the maximum normal dose of Viagra) and a large serving of red wine. In three hours of monitoring, the researchers didn’t see any clinically important hemodynamic interaction between the medication and the alcohol.

It’s important to remember that this study took place in a clinical environment, meaning that the men were never far from medical help. It is not recommended to drink alcohol in large quantities while using Viagra or any other ED medication.

Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction

While it’s generally safe to drink a small amount of alcohol with Viagra, it’s worth remembering that alcohol isn’t such a great choice for optimal sexual performance. In fact, alcohol is closely associated with erectile dysfunction and reduced sexual performance in several studies.

In a study of alcohol dependent men, researchers discovered that 72 percent had one of more sexual dysfunctions. The most common types of sexual dysfunction were erectile dysfunction, reduced sexual desire (low libido) and premature ejaculation.

Other studies of alcohol and sexual performance tend to show similar patterns. A mini review of study findings from Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan notes that long-term alcohol users are highly associated with ED, although there’s less of a link in occasional drinkers.

Interestingly, this association isn’t present in men who only consume a mild to moderate amount of alcohol. A 2009 study from Australia found that men who stick to the Australian guidelines of between one and 20 standard drinks a week had some of the lowest odds of developing ED.

In short, while excessive alcohol consumption is definitely a bad choice for sexual performance, drinking a small amount of alcohol doesn’t appear to hurt your erections or sexual experience in general.

Does Alcohol Make Viagra Less Effective?

While mixing Viagra and a small amount of alcohol doesn’t have any immediate health risks, it can make the medication less effective as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

First, alcohol is a depressant, meaning it can reduce the level of blood flow to the erectile tissue of your penis. When you drink an excessive amount of alcohol, this can counteract the effects of Viagra and make it harder to get and maintain an erection when you’re aroused.

Second, alcohol can suppress your body’s testosterone levels. Since your levels of testosterone are closely linked to both your level of sexual interest and your ability to get an erection, this can potentially reduce the effectiveness of Viagra.

In a 1977 study, researchers found that men’s plasma testosterone levels become depressed quickly after consuming alcohol. This means you might have a lower hormonal interest in sex shortly after you start drinking.

Third, alcohol can reduce your body’s ability to break down sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. This means that a smaller amount of Viagra will make its way into your bloodstream, further reducing the medication’s effectiveness.

In short, alcohol, when consumed in excess, does make Viagra less effective and can cause serious damage to your ability to perform in bed.

In Summary

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two before you use Viagra, it’s important to drink responsibly if you want to enjoy optimal results and good sexual performance.

Alcohol reduces Viagra’s effectiveness in several ways. First, it can reduce blood flow to your penis, making it harder to get an erection even with Viagra.

Second, it can affect the hormonal side of sexual performance by reducing your testosterone levels.

Third, it can make it harder for your body to process the active ingredient in Viagra, preventing you from enjoying the full benefits of the medication.

Alcohol often precedes sexual activity — something you won’t need to change if you use Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction. Drink responsibly and limit your alcohol consumption to one or two drinks per night and you’ll find it easy to enjoy the benefits of Viagra without any issues.

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.