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Erectile dysfunction medications like over-the-counter Viagra Connect, or prescription-only medications, are pretty well known. But how they actually work is still a bit of a mystery for most people.

So to put some curious – or anxious – minds at rest: here’s our hour-by-hour timeline, starting at before you even think of getting treatment, right up to a year after you pop your first tablet.

(The 'eggplant scale' – you're going to see an emoji-inspired scale in parts of this timeline. The number of aubergines represent your chances of a successful erection at different stages during your dose.)


Contents:


The run-up

27 years before the first dose

27 years is how long one person in the UK said they put up with their erectile dysfunction (ED) before getting medical treatment.

6 months before the first dose

Our research shows 35% of people in the UK wait at least 6 months before getting help.


Deciding to get treatment

Almost 30% of men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.

Research done in the USA shows that of those 30%, three quarters don’t look into medical treatment at all.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re regularly struggling to get or keeping erections, a doctor or pharmacist can check if treatment is right for you – either in person, or online.

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Kick-off (the first hour)

Taking a pill

Nothing will happen straight away – medication takes a while to make its way into your bloodstream from your stomach.

10 minutes after taking your pill

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you might see an effect after just 10 minutes, which is the earliest that the effects of Viagra Connect have been spotted in studies.

30 minutes

The start of lift-off time for most people on Viagra Connect.

1 hour

If you’ve taken Viagra Connect on an empty stomach, we’re now entering Erection Prime Time.

It’s at its highest concentration in your blood.

Average erection time at this point: 33 minutes


What's going on in there?

Erection medication increases blood flow to your penis to make erections easier, although you still need to be aroused.

They do this by stopping a chemical called PDE5 from breaking down another chemical called cGMP.

cGMP relaxes the blood vessels, so less PDE5 means more cGMP, means more relaxed blood vessels, means easier erections.

For more info about your treatment, always read the label on your packaging and the patient information leaflet include with your medication.

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Riding the wave


2 hours

If you’ve had a big meal or a bit to drink, 2 hours after Viagra Connect is when you are mostly likely to see the effects.

But even now, there’ll still be less of the medication in your system than if you’d taken it without eating or drinking first.

So you might want to think about that next time you reach for a beer or a burger…

4 hours

After 4 hours, the amount of Viagra Connect in your system has roughly halved since the 1-hour mark.

So we’re not saying you can’t get an erection at this point – just don’t expect such an easy time of it.

6 hours

Research shows that 6 hours is the latest a man can still expect to see a real difference in his erections compared to if he hadn’t taken anything in the first place.


What if nothing happens?

26% of men haven’t seen any effect 6 hours after taking Viagra Connect.

If this is you, don’t panic. Your next steps could be:

  • Try it again – but make sure you wait the full 24 hours between doses. It can take up to 4 tries before it works properly
  • If that doesn’t work, it’s a good idea to get in contact with a doctor and explore your other treatment options

Winding down


8 hours

Beyond the first 4 to 6 hours on Viagra Connect, erections are a whole lot harder to come by.

After 8 hours there’s less than 90% of the maximum amount still left in your system.

Even so, it’s not safe to take another dose for at least another 16 hours.

Average erection time now: 23 minutes

12 hours

That 23 minutes has dropped even further, to around 15 minutes after 12 hours.

24 hours. Time for round 2?

For Viagra Connect, this is where your dose ends.

It’s pretty much all gone from your system.

At this point, you can have another Viagra Connect.

The after-glowmath

At least 4 days after your first dose

If you’ve now safely taken 4 doses in a row (you've waited at least 24 hours between doses), and haven’t seen the results you were hoping for, then you might need to rethink your treatment.


6 weeks

One study showed that nearly 33% of people who start taking medications like Viagra Connect have stopped within 6 weeks.

If your treatment isn’t working for you, you’ve had side effects, or if you just don’t like taking it, then remember that you have options.

The important thing is not to give up find the right treatment. Get in contact with a doctor and get some advice on your next steps.

24 weeks

According to one study, no matter what medication you end up with – if you try one that contains tadalafil first, you’re more likely to stick with treatment long term.

Even if you actually switched to another type of medication that contains sildenafil later down the line, like Viagra Connect.

36 weeks

Another study showed that after 36 weeks about 80% of patients were still using medication, having taken an average of just under 100 doses of their medication – that’s one dose every 2.5 days.

52 weeks

Another group in the same studied showed that after a full year, 84% of them were still using their medication.

Interestingly, this group had an average number of doses around 100 too – but less frequently, having one dose every 3.5 days.


Great work scrolling this far. Hopefully the mystery’s not so mysterious any more – and remember, you can always find more info on Superdrug Online Doctor.

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Ordering treatment online

At Superdrug Online Doctor, you can order treatment for erectile dysfunction online, and we offer over 30 other digital health services.

Complete a short health questionnaire, create an account, and place an order for your preferred treatment. Every order is checked by a UK-registered doctor before treatment can be approved. If your treatment is approved it can be posted to you fast and free of charge. Or if you prefer, there are express and click and collect delivery options.

Our doctors are right there with you to answer any questions when you order and while you’re using your treatment. They’re only one message away, reachable through your personalised account.

No appointments 2 weeks away, no need to travel, and no waiting rooms – upgrade your healthcare online with Superdrug Online Doctor.

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  • MDedge (2013). Erectile dysfunction: 75% with diagnosis go untreated. [online] Available at: https://www.mdedge.com/familymedicine/article/58753/mens-health/erectile-dysfunction-75-diagnosis-go-untreated [accessed 7th February 2019].
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