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Medicines for Erection Problems: Reactions With Nitrate - Topic Overview

Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (for example, Viagra), have revolutionized the treatment of erection problems (erectile dysfunction). But they can cause life-threatening side effects for anyone who also takes nitroglycerin or another medicine containing an organic nitrate. This combination can make your blood pressure fall too low, possibly leading to a stroke, a heart attack, or death. Do not take nitrate-containing medicines up to 24 hours after you take sildenafil (for example, Viagra) or vardenafil (for example, Levitra), or up to 48 hours after you take tadalafil (for example, Cialis).

Medicines that contain organic nitrates include:

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  • Nitroglycerin (such as Nitro-Dur, Nitrolingual, Nitrostat).
  • Isosorbide (such as Dilatrate, Isordil).
  • Nitroprusside (such as Nitropress).
  • Amyl nitrite or amyl nitrate (sometimes called "poppers"), which are sometimes abused.

Nitrates found in foods are not a danger when taking phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 14, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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