Nitrates are a class of medications that are sometimes used to treat blood pressure problems. They are vasodilators, which means that they allow for dilation of blood vessels in order to reduce blood pressure.
The problem with nitrates and the concurrent use of erectile dysfunction medications is that the erectile dysfunction medications such as Levitra, Viagra, Cialis, work by causing also vasodilation. They enhance the effects of your body's own natural nitric oxide. Nitric oxide actually has properties that leads to dilation of blood vessels. And the erectile dysfunction medications we use enhance dilation of blood vessels through the increased effects of your own body's natural nitric oxide.
Now, if you are taking nitrates to treat blood pressure, and you then take erectile dysfunction medications, then it can exacerbate or worsen the dilation of blood vessels, and this can then lead to dangerous drops in blood pressure which can be quite dangerous for patients.
So, anybody who is on nitrates should be warned to not take concurrently the medications such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis. Now, there may be alternative forms of treatment for you if you are on these medications. And for this you should discuss with your urologist what some of these options are. But they may include things such as penile injection therapy, where medications can be injected directly into the penile tissues. Or the use of things like vacuum devices.
But regardless, if you are on nitrates, then you should be warned that you probably should not be taking medications like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra.