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Erectile Dysfunction Medications and Alcohol Interactions

Written by L. Anderson, PharmD on Nov 7, 2017.

Low blood pressure may be a concern when alcohol is mixed with erectile dysfunction drugs such as:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)

These agents, in the class known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, cause vasodilatation and increase blood flow to the penis to help with an erection. Alcohol can also cause vasodilation and lower blood pressure.

Patients taking PDE5 inhibitors should avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol, which may cause a sudden decrease in blood pressure when getting up from a standing or reclining position. Although effects can be variable, symptoms may include a fast heart rate, dizziness, headache and fainting. Studies with some PDE5 inhibitors have shown a decrease in blood pressure and symptomatic effects when combined with alcohol.

  • In general, either avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with PDE5 inhibitors.
  • Use caution when getting up from a sitting or lying position.
  • The manufacturer of Cialis recommends no more than 5 drinks, while the manufacturer of Stendra suggests no more than 3 drinks. Other manufacturers do not make specific patient recommendations; however, since this most likely a class effect, use caution when combining PDE5 inhibitors with alcohol, and ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol

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