Does Viagra Lower Your Blood Pressure Or Raise It?


While working in the healthcare facility I talk about high blood pressure on various different levels with patients. Not once has any of them bought up the topic of taking Viagra or erectile dysfunction medications. It’s completely understandable and an embarrassing topic to talk about with anybody. That’s the very reason that inspired me to come up with the idea about writing a blog post about it (resource).

Does Viagra lower your blood pressure or raise it? Viagra lowers your blood pressure and does not raise it. The active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil citrate, helps to lower blood pressure by relaxing smooth muscle tissue and opening up the blood vessels increasing blood flow.

This doesn’t mean you should start taking it to lower your blood pressure. As with any medication, don’t start or stop taking medicine without consulting with your doctor first. I think there’s a myth that taking Viagra raises blood pressure. This is so because of Viagra’s common side effects of flushing and headaches giving people the impression that their blood pressure has increased.

Studies Reveal How Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) Lowered Blood Pressure

In 2002, a study (study) of 49 men was conducted where they gave each participant 100 mg of sildenafil citrate. The results showed a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 6 mm Hg and a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 4.5 mm Hg. The results also showed that 22.7% of the men that had high blood pressure experienced systolic blood pressure reductions of 20 mm Hg or greater.

In 2005, John Hopkins Medicine released a report (press release) how Viagra improved heart stress and blood pressure. The study included 35 healthy men and women, with an average age of 30 and no previous signs of coronary artery disease.

Each participant received chemical injections that increased heart rate and pumping strength. After the injection, one group was treated with sildenafil and the other group with a placebo. After the sildenafil and placebo treatment, a second chemical injection to increase the heart rate was administered. Measurements of heart function were given before and after the injections that included blood pressure readings.

This is what the results showed. After the first chemical injection, the force of heart contraction increased by 150% in both groups. After the second chemical injection, this same increase repeated itself in the placebo group. However, in the group treated with sildenafil, the increased heartbeat was slowed by 50% resulting in a smaller increase in blood flow and blood pressure.

Studies like these and the findings below intrigue me and get me excited that more help may be on the way to help those with cardiovascular related health issues.

Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) Prescribed for High Blood Pressure

Many of you may have heard of the conditions called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and Reynaud’s Syndrome. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a life threatening condition that means you have high blood pressure in the blood vessels that lead from the heart to your lungs (resource). Reynaud’s syndrome is a condition where smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin constrict excessively in response to the cold.

Doctors are prescribing a drug called Revatio to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension and Raynaud’s syndrome. Revatio is sildenafil citrate, Viagra, but marketed under a different name. Using a sex drug may raise some eyebrows and for that reason the drug is marketed by another name.

How does Revatio work? It extends the lives of some pulmonary arterial hypertension sufferers by increasing blood flow to the lungs, reducing the workload on the heart. The same with Raynaud’s syndrome, the blood vessels are relaxed which increases blood flow.

Other Ways Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) Benefits The Heart And Blood Flow

In addition to pulmonary arterial hypertension and Reynaud’s syndrome, researchers are continuing to discover ways that Viagra improves blood flow and benefits the heart.

Heat Attacks

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found Viagra helped to restore blood flow and tissue healing after a heart attack (resource). They also found Viagra stopped Apoptosis, a condition where heart muscle cells kill themselves in the wake of a heart attack.

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that pregnant women develop and is marked by high blood pressure. It can lead to serious, sometimes fatal complications for the mother or baby. In 2005, a University of Vermont College of Medicine Team found Viagra prevented deaths among fetuses in pregnant rats. It did this by relaxing muscles in the artery walls allowing adequate blood flow.

Another study (study) in 2016 using rats, concluded that sildenafil citrate improved blood flow to the fetoplacental unit despite lowering maternal blood pressure. Their findings provided preclinical evidence to support the hypothesis that sildenafil is a therapeutic target for the treatment of preeclampsia.

Infertility

Viagra showed that it could increase a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. This happened when the cause of infertility is the lining of the uterus being too thin to sustain a pregnancy. Tests showed that sildenafil citrate increased blood flow to the uterus and stimulated the growth of cells (resource).

Mountain Sickness

Viagra can improve the ability to exercise in low oxygen conditions because it can reduce pulmonary artery pressure at high altitude.

Randomized Trials Improve Cardiac Conditions

In 2014, research (report) published by the Journal BMC Medicine, analyzed 24 trials published between 2004 and 2014. The trials involved mixed populations of patients who were treated with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i), which is sildenafil citrate (Viagra). The study found the following:

  • PDE5i prevented the heart from changing shape in patients suffering from left ventricular hypertrophy, a condition that causes thickening and enlargement of the heart muscle.
  • PDE5i also improved functioning of the heart in patients with a variety of cardiac conditions, with no affect on blood pressure.
  • Researchers found PDE5i improved efficiency when the heart pumped blood into vessels, along with relaxation between beats.

History Has Shown That Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) Lowers Blood Pressure

The story how Viagra started is pretty interesting. In 1989, sildenafil citrate was created by British scientists, Peter Dunn and Albert Wood. They believed it would be useful in treating high blood pressure and angina, chest pain caused by the constriction of vessels that supply the heart with blood (resource).

In 1991, Dr. Nicholas Terrett is named in the British patent for sildenafil citrate or Viagra, as a heart medication.

In the early 1990s, Pfizer completes several early trials of sildenafil citrate that provides little hope for its use as a heart disease treatment for angina. But volunteers in the clinical trials report increased erections several days after receiving a dose of the drug. The volunteers didn’t want to return the medication. Can you blame them?

The rest is history and Viagra is known about in every circle as the drug to treat erectile dysfunction, talked about or not. But as you read it’s starting to become more popular for treating the heart and blood pressure, let’s hope that the trend continues.

Related Questions

Can high blood pressure affect erectile dysfunction? High blood pressure can affect erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure can cause erection problems by slowing the supply of blood to the penis. In addition, certain blood pressure medications can affect erectile dysfunction by reducing blood circulation.

What blood pressure medication does not cause erectile dysfunction? Blood pressure medications that do not cause erectile dysfunction include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers and angiotensin ll Receptor Blockers. This is so because they do not reduce the blood flow to the extremities like the other medications.

Can I take viagra and blood pressure medication? You should not take viagra with certain blood pressure medications like alpha blockers. In addition, don’t take viagra with certain medications for pulmonary arterial hypertension like edemas (riociguat). Always consult with a doctor prior to taking any medication.

Can I take viagra with low blood pressure? If you have low blood pressure, you should not take Viagra. Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs can cause a sudden, unsafe decrease in blood pressure. You should ask your doctor about what erectile dysfunction treatment is right for you.

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Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on blood pressure topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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