FATHER'S DAY PROMO: FREE ONLINE VISIT. START FREE VISIT

What To Do if Viagra Doesn’t Work

Reading time -
5
min

Erectile dysfunction treatments are often catered per individual case. There are many possible treatments for erectile dysfunction, which can be provided by a qualified medical professional.

For mild cases of erectile dysfunction, treatment typically begins with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and consuming a healthier diet. If these changes are not effective, a doctor may prescribe medication such as Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra. In more severe cases, a doctor may recommend surgery.

But what happens when your prescription medication for your ED fails you? There are a lot of reasons why it might not work, and it’s often nothing to do with you. It’s most likely that your body is responding to the medication differently than it did when you first started taking it.

If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Many men have the same problem. Here are some things you can do to try and make your erectile dysfunction medication work for you again, or what to try if it doesn't seem to work for you to begin with.


The Basics of Viagra

Viagra is indicated for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men. It is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, which is a fancy way to say that it helps men with erectile dysfunction achieve and maintain erections.

Viagra works by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis so that more blood can flow through them and cause an erection.

Viagra should be taken as needed, about one hour before sexual activity. An erection will not occur just by taking the pill, because Viagra is not an aphrodisiac. You must be sexually aroused for Viagra to work.

Why Viagra Doesn't Work Every Time

Ever had bad luck with Viagra? You’re not alone. There are a few reasons why the drug may not work for you every time you use it. Viagra increases blood flow to the penis, allowing you to get and maintain an erection for sexual activity. But sometimes the drug doesn’t work as intended. Research shows that for about 70% of men, Viagra works to treat their ED. But that still leaves 30% of men who don’t respond to the drug 100% of the time.

So why doesn’t Viagra work for every man? Here are four possible explanations.


1. You Recently Ate a High-Fat Meal

An interesting thing about Viagra is that it’s affected by what you’ve eaten. A high-fat meal can delay the drug’s absorption into your bloodstream, which can lead to it not working as well. So if you’ve had a heavy meal right before taking Viagra, it might not work as quickly as you’d like.

The easy solution to this is to try taking Viagra on an empty stomach, or just at least 2-3 hours after your last meal. If that’s not possible, or it doesn’t work for you, there are other ED drugs that are not affected by what you eat.

2. You Took Viagra With Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while taking Viagra is not advised. Alcohol decreases the drug’s ability to work. In fact, drinking too much alcohol while taking Viagra can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

If you do drink alcohol, stick to 1-2 drinks and don’t get too drunk. If you want to avoid alcohol altogether, there are other ED drugs that are not affected by alcohol consumption.

3. You Took Viagra With a Medication That Interacts With It

There are a few medications that can interact with Viagra and make it not work as well. These include:

  • Certain antibiotics, such as erythromycin and clarithromycin
  • Certain antifungals, such as ketoconazole and itraconazole
  • Certain HIV protease inhibitors, such as ritonavir and saquinavir
  • Certain barbiturates, such as phenobarbital
  • Certain seizure medications, such as carbamazepine and phenytoin

If you’re taking any of these medications, make sure to talk to your doctor before taking Viagra. They might be able to prescribe a different ED drug that doesn’t interact with your other medications.

4. You Have a Condition That Causes a Different Type of Erectile Dysfunction

There are a few medical conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction and make Viagra not work as well. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Certain types of surgery

If you have any of these conditions, Viagra might not be the best treatment option for you. There are other ED drugs that can be more effective in treating your condition.

5. You Took Viagra Too Early

One common mistake is taking Viagra too early. Viagra is not an aphrodisiac, so it won’t give you an erection just by taking the pill. You still need to be sexually aroused for it to work.

If you take Viagra too early, you might not experience the drug’s full effect. It’s best to wait 30-60 minutes after taking the pill before engaging in sexual activity.

6. You Took Viagra Too Late

On the other hand, some people make the mistake of taking Viagra too late. Viagra only works for a few hours after you take it. So if you wait too long to take it, it might not work at all.

Ideally, you should take Viagra 30-60 minutes before you plan to have sex. That way, you’ll be more likely to experience the drug’s full effect.

7. You Took Viagra More Than Once a Day

You might be tempted to take Viagra more than once a day if it doesn’t seem to be working the first time. But this is not a good idea.

Viagra is a medication that can have serious side effects if you take it too much. So it’s important to stick to the recommended dosage of 1 pill per day. If you experience serious side effects such as vision problems, hearing problems, or an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours, stop taking Viagra and see a doctor right away.

If Viagra Doesn't Work For You, There Are Alternative Treatments

Even regularly otherwise healthy men can have Viagra unexpectedly not work for them.

There are a few alternative treatments that can be considered if Viagra does not work for a man. One option is to try a different erectile dysfunction medication such as Cialis or Levitra. Another option is to try using a penis pump.


Cialis is different from Viagra in that it can be taken daily rather than just when needed. This can make it more convenient for some men. It stays in your body for a longer period of time than Viagra, so you may be able to have sex more spontaneously. For most men, it stays in the body for about 36 hours. This means that you may be able to have sex in a more spontaneous matter, as long as you become aroused within that time period.


Levitra is similar to Viagra in that it can be taken about 30 minutes before sex and will last for a few hours. Again, it will only work if you become aroused during that time period. It works a little differently from Viagra in that it is effective for a wider range of men, including men with diabetes or men who have had prostate surgery.


A penis pump is a device that can be used to help achieve and maintain an erection. It can be used instead of or in addition to other erectile dysfunction treatments. The device consists of a cylinder that is placed over the penis. The cylinder is then connected to a pump, which is used to create a vacuum. This vacuum pulls blood into the penis, resulting in an erection.

How To Get ED Medications Online

If you want to get ED medication, it's easier than ever. Phoenix is a telehealth company that exclusively deals with men's health issues. Phoenix utilized text-based chat software, so you don't need to turn on your camera to speak with a doctor. You can simply text your question and receive an answer back from a licensed physician.

If you want to get started taking control of your life and get ED medication, you can sign up for Phoenix here and start your free visit!

Hair Loss?
No problem

Let’s help you Rise Again
Start Your Assessment

Got ED?
No problem

Let’s help you Rise Again
Start Your Assessment
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive a weekly newsletters with insightful tips and resources

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.