Millions of prescriptions for erectile dysfunction (ED) medications such as Viagra and Cialis are written every year, and during Men’s Health Month the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) wants to remind consumers of these products to be forthright with their anesthesia professionals when preparing for surgery or other procedures that require anesthesia.

Here are five things to know about ED drugs and anesthesia…

• Avoid taking an ED drug such as Viagra and Cialis for a couple of days prior to surgery because the drug takes at least 24 hours to clear the body.

•These drugs contain nitric oxide, which opens blood vessels and relaxes muscles. This can cause a patient’s blood pressure to become dangerously low when combined with anesthesia and other drugs used during surgery.

•Nitric oxide should not be confused with nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” which is primarily associated with use in a dentist’s office.

•Tell your anesthesia provider about ED drugs and any other prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including herbal remedies. Patients should never feel embarrassed about using these products. Anesthesia professionals need to know this information to prepare the anesthesia plan and keep patients safe. As with all sensitive information, patient-provider trust will be honored.

•Make sure that your spouse, a friend, and/or a family member is aware that you take a lifestyle drug like Viagra or Cialis. In the event you need emergency care, he/she will need to share this information with your healthcare providers.

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