Can Recreational Use of PDE5 Inhibitors Have Long-Term Effects?

A Love Pill. A 3D rendered Illustration.

PDE5 inhibitors were originally created to treat erectile dysfunction, but in recent years, people have been using Viagra, Cialis and Levitra recreationally to enjoy “supercharged” sexual experiences. Men in their 20s and 30s are now using the drugs to experience more endurance, stronger erections and less downtime in between sexual experiences.

But can the recreational use of these drugs have long-term effects? How are users getting their hands on these prescription drugs?

How Do Users Get These Drugs Without ED?

Recreational users are getting these drugs from illegal dealers or online. Some go as far as lying to their doctors about having erectile dysfunction in order to get a legitimate prescription. Users say that it’s easy to get a prescription from doctors.

Because it’s so easy to get a hold of these drugs, Viagra has become the new “party drug.” But what happens when you use these drugs recreationally? Can they have negative side effects?

The Side Effects of Recreational Use of PDE5 Inhibitors

People typically use Viagra recreationally as a way to enhance their sexual experiences, but it can also have negative side effects, such as:

  • Heart racing
  • Veins bulging out of the penis
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Nasal congestion
  • Flushing
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in vision (e.g. blue haze)
  • Extended erections

Another part of the problem is that there are risk factors for these drugs, and if users aren’t getting regular check-ups they may not know if they have these issues – like heart disease, kidney problems or blood pressure issues.

ED drugs can cause blood pressure to drop so low that the user passes out. Older individuals or those who are on nitrates can have a stroke. Both Viagra and nitrates dilate the blood vessels, so if you’re taking both medications at the same time, it can cause a heart attack.

Doctors recommend getting a hormonal panel and a full cardiovascular risk profile before taking any erectile dysfunction drugs. There are many reports of people dying from heart attacks after taking Viagra.

Another issue is that the body will eventually develop a tolerance for the drug if you’re taking it when you don’t need it. Once the body builds up a tolerance, the drug will stop working for you, and that can lead to real erectile dysfunction.

There’s a very real risk of not being able to have a natural erection or sex ever again.

When Viagra is prescribed by a doctor for a genuine case of erectile dysfunction, the dose can be specified and the results are often positive. However, when taken recreationally, you have no guidance as far as dosing is concerned.

A poll from Men’s Health found that 18 out of the 20 women they spoke with said they didn’t want men to have erections of young teenagers. They want their partner’s sexual appetite and behaviors to be appropriate to their age group. They also don’t want their partners to have an erection for 4-6 hours at a time. Most importantly, men shouldn’t be putting their lives at risk just for an erection. Over the long-term, recreational use of these drugs can lead to actual erectile dysfunction.

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