Men who take erectile dysfunction drugs need to alert the anesthetist before having surgery or other medical procedures, hospital experts say.
Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis contain nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels and relaxes muscles. If they are combined with anesthesia and other medication used during surgery, a patient’s blood pressure may become dangerously low, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists said.
The association said men must be forthright about their use of erectile dysfunction drugs and any other medications, including over-the-counter and herbal remedies.
Men should stop taking erectile dysfunction drugs a few days before surgery, because they take at least 24 hours to clear the body, the group said.
The association recommends that you make sure your spouse, a family member or friend knows you use an erectile dysfunction drug. If you need emergency treatment, he or she should share that information with health care providers.
Harvard Medical School has more on erectile dysfunction drugs.