Viagra, Cialis usually safe for those with heart disease

Treatment with sildenafil (Viagra) or similar drugs is usually safe in people with heart disease; however, these drugs may not be used by men who take nitroglycerine or related drugs.

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April 23, 2020 - 8:53 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 80-year-old man who still has psychological drive, but who has lost the physical ability for an erection. Is there any safe way to restore this? I have had multiple bypass surgeries, so I am fearful of medicines like Viagra or Cialis, but I wonder about the safety of testosterone. — F.E.D.

Dr. Keith Roach

Answer: Although older men often have decreasing ability for an erection, finding out the underlying cause is important before trying medications. In men with a known history of blockages in the artery — whether in the heart (leading to a stent or bypass), brain (leading to stroke or TIA) or elsewhere in the body (claudication, painful calf muscles with walking is a common symptom) — it is worth considering whether the arteries that supply the penis with blood flow might also be blocked. This might require specific treatment. In men without known blockages, erectile dysfunction is a clue that there might be arterial disease and should always be considered. 

Treatment with sildenafil (Viagra) or similar drugs is usually safe in people with heart disease; however, these drugs may not be used by men who take nitroglycerine or related drugs. Further, they can drop the blood pressure. It’s usually not enough to cause problems, but your heart doctor can tell you whether it is safe for you.

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