Heart Disease

Can men with heart disease take erectile dysfunction medication?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    The major side effect of taking erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, is that 100 people die each year while taking them. Yet this happens almost exclusively in people with cardiac disease.

    Unfortunately, many cases of nonperformance involve guys who are part of this group: men with arterial disease who have risk factors such as high blood pressure, chest pain, diabetes, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol counts, or high inflammation numbers, which are indicated by either a waist size larger than 40 inches or a test called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). If you are in this category, get thee to a cardiologist, tell him (most guys with this problem choose a male doctor) what you want, and get his take on the side effects of Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medication -- and decide together whether they're right for you.

    If you do get a prescription, remember not to use these pills with nitroglycerin. If you get chest pain after using one of these, take an aspirin with water, and get to an ED -- that stands for emergency department, not erectile dysfunction -- fast. Have your partner drive you. Immediately.


  • ASCAI answered

    Erectile dysfunction is sometimes a first indicator of existing heart disease in men. It can be a sign of narrowing and hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which restricts blood flow through the arteries and can make it more difficult for men to get and maintain an erection.

    If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or have already had a heart attack and are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it is critical that you discuss erectile dysfunction medication with your physician before considering taking it. Popular erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) can interact with a range of cardiovascular disease medications. Interactions are possible with blood pressure medications; blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin), nitrates for the treatment of chest pain, and antiarrhythmia medication for the treatment of irregular heart rhythms.

    If your physician advises you that the risks of taking an erectile dysfunction medication are too high, he or she can advise you of other treatment options that can enable you to resume sexual activity without risks of complications. These might also include screening to try to determine if your erectile dysfunction has a physiological basis in need of medical intervention, can be corrected through lifestyle changes or if it may have psychological roots. After all, a heart attack or diagnosis of heart disease can lead to depression, which can also affect libido. Talk with your doctor to establish a safe, effective plan for resuming intimacy after your heart disease diagnosis.


Did You See?  Close
How can I participate in a cardiac rehab program for heart disease?