Not a hormone, an herbal supplement or an aphrodisiac, Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is a prescription medication that won't create desire, but it can help the patient respond to sexual stimulation. Taken orally about an hour before anticipated sexual intercourse, assuming a willing and responsive partner, Viagra works by increasing the blood flow to the penis necessary for establishing and maintaining an erection.

Since its approval for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 1998, the drug has received much attention from the media, which has, in turn, generated much consumer interest. The manufacturer states that from the advent of its FDA approval to November 1999, 250,000 physicians wrote more than 14 million Viagra prescriptions for more than 5 million patients, proving both the existence of a major health problem and the eagerness to address it.

However, Viagra is not for everyone. Patients who have risk factors for coronary disease, cardiovascular disease or those who are hypertensive, diabetic, overweight, who smoke cigarettes or who are taking organic nitrates are warned not to take the drug.

The Possible Side Effects of Viagra

  • Headache
  • facial flushing
  • dyspepsia (gastrointestinal disorder)
  • urinary tract infection
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • muscle pain (myalgia)
  • temporary abnormal color vision