Get Hard or Your Money Back. Start free online visit or check for symptoms

Viagra and Alcohol: What You Need to Know

Katelyn Hagerty FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 6/1/2021

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that affects men of all ages. 

In fact, research shows that more than 30 million men in the United States, or just under one third of the US adult male population, are affected by some level of erectile dysfunction, or ED.

Thankfully, ED is a highly treatable condition. These days, a 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 ED medications, Viagra® is one of the most popular and well-known. 

It’s been available since the late 1990s and has a long, proven track record of treating erectile dysfunction. 

While Viagra is safe and effective for most men, using it with alcohol can affect its performance as an ED treatment and increase your risk of experiencing certain side effects.

Below, we’ve explained what can happen when you drink alcohol and use Viagra or similar ED medications.

We’ve also discussed what you can to keep yourself safe if you use Viagra or other medication to treat ED before or while consuming alcohol.

Viagra and Alcohol: The Basics

Although drinking excessive amounts of alcohol with Viagra isn’t recommended, It’s usually safe to drink a small amount of alcohol on nights you plan to use Viagra. 

The precise definition of a “small” amount of alcohol can vary from person to person. In general, it’s best to stick to the CDC’s Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol, which set a daily intake of up to two alcoholic drinks per day (for example, two cans of beer or glasses of wine) for men.

This amount of alcohol, consumed at a normal pace, is unlikely to cause any negative effects in a healthy person when taken at the same time as Viagra or other ED medication.

As always, the normal rules of drinking alcohol always apply, whether you’re consuming alcohol on its own or with ED medication:

  • Know your limits. Everyone has a different tolerance level for alcohol. Understand your limits and know when it’s time to stop drinking. If you feel tipsy, slow down and switch to something non-alcoholic to give yourself time to recover.

  • Drink one serving of alcohol per hour. This gives your body additional time to process each drink. Slow down your alcohol consumption by sipping your drink instead of gulping it down all at once.

  • Switch between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. If you’re out with your date or at a social event, you can limit your alcohol consumption by drinking a non-alcoholic drink in between each beer, wine or cocktail.

  • If you feel drunk, take a break from drinking. The effects of alcohol can build up over time and hit you suddenly. If you feel drunk while you’re out on a date, take a break and stick to non-alcoholic drinks for the rest of the evening.

What happens when you use Viagra with alcohol? Research generally shows that if you restrict your alcohol consumption to a reasonable amount, Viagra and alcohol are unlikely to cause any significant issues. 

For example, in a 2004 study, men were each given 100mg of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. This is the highest dose of Viagra that’s used to treat ED. 

Some of the men in the study were also given 750mL of red wine -- the amount of wine found in a standard-sized wine bottle.

Over the course of 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. 

Although the findings of this study are interesting, it’s not recommended to drink alcohol in large quantities while using Viagra or any other ED medication.

It’s also worth noting that this study didn’t look at the men’s sexual performance after combining alcohol and Viagra -- an issue that we’ll address in more detail further down the page.

viagra online

genuine viagra. you'll never look back.

Potential Side Effects of Using Viagra With Alcohol

While it’s generally safe to consume a small amount of alcohol at the same time as medications like Viagra, drinking to excess may increase your risk of developing side effects. 

Common side effects of Viagra include headache, heartburn, facial flushing, diarrhea, insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep), diarrhea, muscle aches, numbness in your legs, feet, arms and/or hands, changes in color vision and increased sensitivity to light.

We’ve discussed these side effects in more detail in our guide to Viagra (sildenafil) side effects.

Research shows that your risk of experiencing side effects from Viagra can increase if you drink a significant amount of alcohol.

For example, a study involving more than 300 men with erectile dysfunction found that men who consume above average amounts of alcohol are more likely to develop headaches and flushing from PDE5 inhibitors (medications used to treat ED) than men who don’t drink.

Put simply, while it’s okay to drink a small amount of alcohol with Viagra, drinking large amounts of alcohol may increase your risk of developing side effects.

Sildenafil and Alcohol

Viagra is available as a brand name medication and in its generic form as sildenafil. 

Both brand name Viagra and sildenafil contain the same active ingredient and produce the same effects on your erections and sexual performance. 

Because it contains the same ingredient as brand name Viagra, generic sildenafil produces the same side effects when combined with alcohol.

Grapefruit Juice and ED Medications

While it’s generally alright to drink a small amount of alcohol with Viagra, you may need to take extra caution if you like drinks that contain grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit juice increases the bioavailability of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. It also delays your body’s absorption of sildenafil. 

The effects and side effects of Viagra may be more long-lasting and if it’s combined with drinks that contain grapefruit. 

As such, it’s best to avoid cocktails that contain grapefruit while you use Viagra, generic Viagra or generic sildenafil.

Cocktails that contain grapefruit juice include the Greyhound, the Paloma, the Brown Derby (or "De Rigueur"), the Sea Breeze and grapefruit-based variations of common cocktails such as a margarita and mojito.

Grapefruit juice may also affect other PDE5 inhibitors, such as tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis®), vardenafil (Levitra®) and avanafil (Stendra®).

Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction

While it’s generally safe to drink a small amount of alcohol with Viagra, it’s worth remembering that alcohol usually isn’t a great choice for optimal sexual performance. 

Although a glass of wine or two can help to set the mood for a romantic night, research shows that alcohol is associated with several negative effects on sexual function. 

For example, in a study of alcohol dependent men, researchers found that 72 percent had one of more forms of sexual dysfunction.

The most common types of sexual dysfunction were erectile dysfunction, reduced sexual desire (low libido) and premature ejaculation.

Other research into the effects of alcohol on sexual function and performance tends to show the same patterns. 

A mini review of study findings from Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan notes that long-term alcohol use is 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.

In a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that men who drink a moderate amount of alcohol (defined as one to 20 standard drinks per week) were less likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who completely abstain from drinking.

Put simply, while drinking to excess is clearly associated with reduced sexual performance, the link between mild alcohol consumption and issues such as ED isn’t so clear. 

As such, if you like to drink alcohol and want to reduce your risk of dealing with issues such as ED, it’s important to limit your consumption to a moderate amount.

Does Alcohol Make Viagra Less Effective?

Does alcohol affect Viagra? While using Viagra with a small amount of alcohol doesn’t seem to have any immediate health risks, it could make the medication less effective as a treatment for erectile dysfunction for several reasons. 

First, alcohol affects blood flow throughout your body. Research has found that drinking a small amount of alcohol can have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health. 

However, this effect reverses as the amount of alcohol you consume increases.

When you drink an excessive amount of alcohol, this may counteract the effects of Viagra and make it harder for you to get and maintain an erection when you’re aroused.

Second, research shows that alcohol can suppress your body’s testosterone levels. 

Since your levels of testosterone are closely linked to sexual desire, this may reduce your level of interest in sex and prevent you from becoming aroused. 

A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that men’s testosterone levels decline within 30 minutes of alcohol consumption. 

This means that despite the common belief that alcohol increases your level of interest in sex, you might actually feel less interested in having sex shortly after you start drinking.

Third, alcohol is infamous for causing a sexual performance issue known as whiskey dick, or alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction. This temporary form of ED may pop up after you’ve had too much to drink and ruin what could have otherwise been an enjoyable night. 

Combined, these factors may make ED medications like Viagra slightly less effective if you’ve consumed alcohol.

sildenafil online

get hard or your money back

The Bottom Line on Alcohol and Viagra

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.

This is also true if you use other types of medication to treat erectile dysfunction, such as Cialis (tadalafil), vardenafil (Levitra) or avanafil (Stendra).

Alcohol often precedes sexual activity -- something you won’t need to change if you use Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction. 

Drink responsibly by limiting 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.

11 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Definition & Facts for Erectile Dysfunction. (2017, July). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/definition-facts
  2. Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol. (2020, December 29). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
  3. Leslie, S.J., Atkins, G., Oliver, J.J. & Webb, D.J. (2004, October). No adverse hemodynamic interaction between sildenafil and red wine. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 76 (4), 365-70. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15470336/
  4. Sildenafil. (2018, January 15). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699015.html
  5. Kim, J.N., Oh, J.J., Park, D.S., Hong, Y.K. & Yu, Y.D. (2019, December). Influence of Alcohol on Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors Use in Middle- to Old-Aged Men: A Comparative Study of Adverse Events. Sexual Medicine. 7 (4), 425–432. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963111/
  6. Jetter, A., et al. (2002, January). Effects of grapefruit juice on the pharmacokinetics of sildenafil. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 71 (1), 21-9. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11823754/
  7. Arackal, B.S. & Benegal, V. (2007, April-June). Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 49 (2), 109–112. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917074/
  8. Jiann, B.-P. (2010, December). Effect of Alcohol Consumption on the Risk of Erectile Dysfunction. Urological Science. 21 (4), 163-168. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1879522610600371
  9. Chew, K.-K., Bremner, A., Stuckey, B., Earle, C. & Jamrozik, K. (2009, May). Alcohol consumption and male erectile dysfunction: an unfounded reputation for risk? The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 6 (5), 1386-94. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19143912/
  10. University Health Network. (2008, February 13). One Drink Of Red Wine Or Alcohol Is Relaxing To Circulation, But Two Drinks Are Stressful. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212174615.htm
  11. Ida, Y., et al. (1992, October). Effects of acute and repeated alcohol ingestion on hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal functioning in normal males. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 31 (1), 57-64. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1330472/

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.