Sexual impotence Q&A: Part 2

sexual impotence

Sexual impotence is a hot topic since the patent of Viagra (the brand name of Sildenafil) ran out a couple of years ago. Now, what seemed like a taboo subject is an everyday chat in all walks of life. As we recently released our own erectile dysfunction treatment, we wanted to answer your main questions with answers from our pharmacist, Scott. Read part 1 now if you haven’t already.

What’s the difference between Sildenafil and Viagra?

Viagra is a brand name. It was patented by Pfizer when they first discovered Sildenafil meaning no one else could sell it for up to 15 years; however this patent ran out in 2013, so now other pharmaceutical manufacturers/ companies can produce it under its true medical name, Sildenafil.

What are the side effects of sexual impotence medication?

Most men who take Sildenafil for sexual impotence experience no side effects. However, if you get any of the following, they are generally mild and go away within a couple of hours.

You may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick
  • Hot flushes


  • a colour tinge to your vision
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dizziness

Be/Make sure you tell your doctor or pharmacist if they bother you or don’t go away.

What is the difference between the strength of tablets? (50mg/100mg)

Sildenafil 50mg is the starting dose for anyone who hasn’t taken treatment for sexual impotence before. Most men will find this effective and will be able to continue taking this strength indefinitely.

Men who have tried the 50mg strength eight times and not managed to achieve or sustain a satisfactory erection can move up to the 100mg strength.

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How common is sexual impotence?

It is thought to affect at least one in ten men in the UK, and more than 50% of men over 40 will experience some form of sexual impotence, from the total inability to obtain an erection, to an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only brief erections.

At what point should somebody see a doctor?

Serious side effects don’t occur very often; they are thought to happen in around 1 in 1000 men.

If they do happen, you may experience:

  • Fainting
  • Breathing problems
  • An erection that lasts more than 4 hours


  • Vision loss
  • Hearing problems
  • Chest pains

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help.



Scott McDougall (MPharm) is a clinical pharmacist and in addition to being Cornerstone’s senior in-house pharmacist, is the co-founder of The Independent Pharmacy, one of the UK’s leading independent online pharmacies.

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