Viagra Use in New Zealand Has Almost Doubled In 5 Years

    “Over the last 20 years, it has become more easy for men to talk about, especially compared to premature ejaculation.”

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    It seems like New Zealanders are using Viagra (sildenafil) more than any other nation.

    Officials at the Ministry of Health have found that the use of Viagra among New Zealand men has almost doubled in the last five years.

    In 2018, more than 1610 men accessed the blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug, up from 893 in 2014. The number of prescriptions rose from 2873 in 2014 to 4524 in 2018.

    The officials found that most men who used Viagra were in their 50s who were given Viagra prescriptions 384 times last year.

    Medical Sexologist Dr. Simon Snook at Wellington Regis Clinic believed the increase in Viagra, as well as Cialis (tadalafil), use has partly been due to men feeling more comfortable taking the meds for addressing their erectile dysfunction issue.

    Dr. Snook said, “Over the last 20 years it has become more easy for men to talk about, especially compared to premature ejaculation. The increase is also due to men expecting more from their erections.”

    “We used to define erectile dysfunction as someone who is unable to undertake penetrative intercourse,” Dr. Snook added. “Now, we talk about different grades of erectile dysfunction.”

    “Young men are generally looking for a return to perfect erectile function. There’s an influence of peer groups and porn, and they misunderstand what Viagra does, they think it makes them last longer,” the sexologist continued.

    Viagra has been available on many platforms without a prescription for the last couple of years, removing barriers for men who are embarrassed to see a doctor.

    However, Dr. Snook has warned that Viagra would not work for everyone and may not be safe for all men.

    Viagra is not advised to men who take nitrates, or nitroglycerine, for chest pain. A combination of Viagra and nitrates could lead to severe hypotension (low blood pressure).

    “Some men feel if that doesn’t work, nothing will work,” Dr. Snook said. “Medication like Viagra can mask deeper problems. It only fixes the problem as long as you take the drug; there are a lot of causes behind erectile dysfunction that need more investigation.”

    Regional Director of Sex Therapy New Zealand, Mary Hodson, said, “When men hit 50, their ability to become aroused is not as good as it was before. A young man might say, ‘don’t touch me, it’s too much, it will happen too quickly’; a man over 50 needs more stimulation to get the erection and more to hold it.”

    Viagra is now available over-the-counter so more and more men could address their erectile dysfunction problem. Hodson said, “It could be that being able to go to the chemist is easier all round. A little more anonymous, less personal.”

    But like Snook, Hodson has recommended men to take Viagra under professional guidance. She said, “It’s not a drug that should be taken lightly; it’s a serious, full-on drug that should be used with care.”