Sildenafil, often known as “a little blue pill” is one of the widely known and prescribed drug to treat the problem of erectile dysfunction. It is an oral therapy for this sexual dysfunction and it treats the problems with erections by restoring an impaired erectile function. It increases the blood flow to the penis region, resulting in a natural response to sexual stimulation. A blue pill is the first line treatment option offered to the patients who are suffering from erectile dysfunction. It belongs to the class of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors and its working is same as other phosphodiesterase types 5 inhibitors but the efficiency level differs.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, which is also known as impotence is a rapidly increasing condition and a large number of men are facing issues with erections. It is defined as a persistent inability to attain satisfactory penile erections. It is a highly prevalent condition, which affects the physical and psychosocial well-being and quality of life of thousands of men, and their partners. Erectile function is a complex process that involves the brain, emotions, nerves, hormones, blood vessels, and muscles.
Physiology of erections
Erectile function involves various mechanisms and it involves psychological and biological factors. Sexual stimulation, both physical and mental causes the release of nitric oxide from the penile nerve which stimulates the production of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) within the vascular smooth muscle of the erectile tissue. Nitric oxide plays an essential role in maintaining the levels of cGMP in the erectile tissue or corpora cavernosa and cGMP is highly important for the attaining adequate penile erection. cGMP induces smooth muscle relaxation in the corpora cavernosa it fills the vascular lake of the penis with blood. An erection is achieved through the combination of an increased blood flow to the penis and decreased venous return. The problems of erection mainly occur when the cGMP is degraded by phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) and the blue pill works in treating the problems with erections by inhibiting PDE5.
As stated above, a form erection requires a good arterial inflow of blood and an efficient reduction of venous outflow. Risk factors and disease can affect the functionong of the arterial or venous systems, therefore, be expected to have a negative impact on erectile function. Some of the risk factors include:
How Blue Pill Works
Numerous researchers suggest that the hallmark for erectile dysfunction treatment has always been the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. There are four PDE 5 inhibitors and sildenafil or the blue pill is one of them. Even though there are many treatment options for erectile dysfunction currently, still a blue pill is the most recommended drug by the doctors to treat this problem. A blue pill has no direct relaxation effect on the isolated human corpus cavernosum. By inhibiting PDE5, it enhances the effect of nitric oxide. As a result, the degradation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is stopped in the corpus cavernosum. With a release of nitric oxide, a blue pill increases the level of cGMP in the erectile tissue which results in the smooth muscle relaxation and an inflow of blood in the penis.
- Nitrates - A blue pill or any other PDE 5 inhibitor is known to interact with nitrates because this drug is shown to potentiate the hypotensive effect of nitrates.
- Hypersensitivity reactions - It should be noted that patients who are sensitive to a blue pill or any ingredient of this drug should not consume it.
- Alpha Blockers - An interaction between the alpha blockers and any PDE 5 inhibitor is not advised as it can cause a hypotensive effect on a man.
- Antihypertensives - Blue pill or any other PDE 5 inhibitors are known to have systemic vasodilatory properties and any interactions with the hypertensive drugs can further lower the blood pressure.
When to call a doctor
- Prolonged erection or priapism
If any men experience erections for more than four hours or painful erections greater than six hours in duration, he should immediately contact the doctor. Immediate medical erection is required as if priapism is left untreated, it can lead to penile tissue damage and sometimes in rare cases, it can cause permanent loss of potency. It is advised that a blue pill should be used in caution with patients who have any anatomical deformation of the penis.
- Effects on the eyes
If a men experience any problem with the eyes, physicians always recommend stopping the usage of a blue pill or any other PDE 5 inhibitors.
- Major side effects
Generally, the side effects of the blue pill are mild such as dizziness, headache, flushing, and nausea but if you ever experience any serious side effect, it is recommended to make medical help immediately.