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Viagra in Sports on Steroids

Viagra pills Athletes are always looking for an edge in sports. While there has been a tremendous amount of effort in search for the perfect steroidal bodybuilding agent, the chances of getting caught and being banned for life are also of concern. One other product that athletes have recently started to use to improve their endurance is Viagra. Viagra gained prominence in the late 90s as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. It does help a few individuals who have difficulty sustaining or maintaining an erection. The drug has few side effects and is well tolerated.
How it works

Viagra works by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in the blood. The increased levels of nitric oxide are known to relax blood vessels in the penis and thus increase blood flow. The resultant blood flow is known to cause an erection. One should remember that Viagra does not enhance libido - the desire must be present for Viagra to work.

Viagra and the lung
  What most people do not know is that Viagra also works in individuals who have difficulty getting blood to their lungs. There are some heart disorders where the blood vessels in the lungs are either too narrow or too tight. Viagra has been shown to relax the blood vessels and increase the blood supply to the lungs. The results in more oxygenation and better tolerance to exercise. Viagra is frequently used to treat children and adults with a condition known as pulmonary hypertension. Viagra Effects on the  Lungs  

Now athletes feel that this medication can be used to improve their exercise tolerance. Viagra is not a steroid, has no addictive properties and can be taken by mouth. The only problem is that Viagra requires a prescription.


Viagra is widely sold over the internet and outside of North America it can be bought without a prescription. However, Viagra does not come cheap. This short acting aphrodisiac is often sold on the black market for as much as $10-$30 a pill. And when there is sex and money, there is always fraud. There are countless cases of fake Viagra sold online and in many health stores.

Viagra is usually taken on an empty stomach just 30-60 minutes before having intercourse. For the bodybuilder, Viagra is best taken at least a few hours before the exercise and the duration of action lasts anywhere from 2-4 hours. For Viagra to improve exercise tolerance it has to be taken once a day.

Even though Viagra is a relatively safe drug there have been a few side effects and complications associated with the pill.
Who should not take Viagra
  Viagra & High Blood Pressure Individuals who have heart problems may develop a full blown heart attack if they take Viagra. The heart attacks have been known to occur during sex. There have been a few reports of individuals developing chest pain during intercourse but the number of individuals is very small.  

Some individuals have been found to develop low or high blood pressure when taking Viagra. Thus, it is important to get the blood pressure measured on a frequent basis.

Viagra is not meant to be taken by individuals who have had a recent stroke.

Individuals who have sickle cell anemia can develop a painful erection (priapism) when they take Viagra.

Individuals who take the following medications should refrain from taking the pill because of the possibility of adverse drug reactions. One can develop loss of consciousness or dizziness if Viagra is combined with:

  • nitroglycerin
  • isosorbide
  • amyl nitrate
  • alpha blockers (hytrin, Cardura)
Side effects
Viagra is generally safe and very few side effects have been reported,. The most common problem after taking Viagra includes:
  • headaches
  • facial flushing
  • constipation or bloating
  • congested nose
Side effects of Viagra  

Recently some individuals have had permanent vision loss after taking Viagra. It is not known if this blindness is directly associated with Viagra or the individuals already had a vision disorder prior to taking Viagra.

Hearing loss has also been reported by some individuals who take Viagra


Viagra has been in the sporting news for some time. One athlete who keeps on denying that he took anything is Roger Clemens. A number of witnesses have come forward and claimed that they supplied Roger Clemens with Viagra. However, Clemens is not the only athlete to have taken Viagra. Many athletes have been found in possession of Viagra but this is not illegal. The drug is often sold as Vitamin V on the black market and is widely available. The exponential use of Viagra by athletes has not gone unnoticed and today several law enforcement agencies are already looking into many dealer sites and athletes who may have used it.

Viagra is bigger than any other supplement in cyberspace. While many sports athletes use it to achieve an erection, a number of athletes also use it to potentiate physical endurance. Viagra is not illegal and not banned by any sporting organization in the USA. However the world doping agency is taking hard look at Viagra. Infact, tests to detect Viagra in the urine have already been established.

Use in sports

Except for the effects of Viagra on the penis and in the lungs, no one really knows what Viagra can do for the body. There are a lot of hypothesis and innuendos about Viagra as a physical enhancer, but this is only a rumor. Infact, the extent of Viagra use in sports remains unknown. Every few weeks, a sports celebrity is caught with Viagra. Some of these athletes claim that the having Viagra is not illegal especially since they have a lot of potential mates to satisfy. Well, carrying 1-10 tablets may be okay, but how does one explain carrying 100 tablets in the underpants and another 100 hidden under the bicycle seat? Clearly, some of these athletes use Viagra for reasons other than sex, but what?

Most experts are skeptical about Viagra and its ability to induce endurance in athletes. However, athletes seldom require proof, they just go by their beliefs - if their friends say it works , then that it enough evidence for them.

Athletes are desperate people and will try anything. From bulls testicles to a chicken’s arse- everything has been tried out to build the body. And now we have Viagra. Viagra has never before been studied in athletes and so all the reports are anecdotal. Those who take Viagra are not willing to come forward and verify the claims.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that Viagra is widely used in the world of racing. Viagra has been found in racing dogs and horses.

Experimental work has shown that Viagra can relax the blood vessels in the lung and increase oxygenation but how this applies to a real human remains unknown.
Currently a number of medical centers are undertaking research to see if Viagra can infact improve exercise endurance.


Most of the hype about Viagra is simply the media making too much out of it. The drug does work in sick patients and improves blood flow to the lungs. The effects of Viagra at best are modest in the majority of individuals with pulmonary hypertension. Whether the drug can make a difference in an athlete remains to be seen. At $20-$30 a pill, there are a lot cheaper ways to improve the body’s endurance. The cheapest is hard work, exercise and good nutrition.


Collard HR, Anstrom KJ, Schwarz MI, Zisman DA. Sildenafil improves walk distance in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Chest. 2007 Mar;131(3):897-9.

Di Luigi L, Baldari C, Pigozzi F, Emerenziani GP, Gallotta MC, Iellamo F, Ciminelli E, Sgrò P, Romanelli F, Lenzi A, Guidetti L. The long-acting phosphodiesterase inhibitor tadalafil does not influence athletes’ VO2max, aerobic, and anaerobic thresholds in normoxia. Int J Sports Med. 2008 Feb;29(2):110-5. Epub 2007 Jul 5.

Hsu AR, Barnholt KE, Grundmann NK, Lin JH, McCallum SW, Friedlander AL. Sildenafil improves cardiac output and exercise performance during acute hypoxia, but not normoxia. J Appl Physiol. 2006 Jun;100(6):2031-40. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Rx for an ailing sex life: his and hers workouts. New research suggests that moderate cycling improves blood flow; “Look Ma, no Viagra”! [No authors listed] Heart Advis. 2002 Mar;5(3):3.

Spring RM, Ulrich S, Huber LC, Speich R, Maggiorini M, Treder U, Fischler M. Sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension: dose-dependent improvement in exercise performance. Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2008;21(3):516-21. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

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