The Independent Pharmacy

How Long Does Sildenafil Last? When You Should Take It, and When It Should Subside

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 5 Apr 2023

Timing is extremely important when you’re taking treatment for erectile dysfunction because you probably have a specific time in mind. Maybe you’re planning a special occasion, or your schedule is limited — regardless, in ideal circumstances, it will be effective when you need it and gone when you don’t.

Because Sildenafil is a great one-off treatment (you don’t need it to build up in your system — just one tablet is enough), you need to know when you should take it to get the best results, and how you can expect it to affect you. Let’s go through the basics:

How long does Sildenafil typically last?

Sildenafil usually lasts for 4-6 hours at full potency. You’ll continue to get some effect while there’s some in your bloodstream, though, so it can still produce results past that point. It all depends on your health, age, dosage, and sexual activity.

It's important to note that Sildenafil (and other ED treatments) will not give you an erection for the entire period that they are in your system. They simply allow you to achieve a satisfactory erection when you are sexually stimulated. Your erection will still go down as normal after ejaculation.

To learn more about how Sildenafil works, exactly, stop by our main guide to Sildenafil. It details what it does, how it helps to treat ED and various other things you should know.

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How long does Sildenafil take to work?

Taken on an empty stomach, Sildenafil should kick in within 30 minutes and take full effect within the hour. If you’ve eaten recently, it might take another hour. The bigger you are, the longer it’ll take to spread through your bloodstream. The maximum level will fall by 50% every 3-5 hours and should be entirely gone within a day.

How do different dosages compare

Because the efficacy of Sildenafil depends on how much you have in your system, starting with a large dose will make it last longer — but not too much longer. The maximum dosage prescribed is 100mg because the dosages above can cause heart problems and produce side effects much more consistently.

If you take a 25mg dose, then depending on your weight and the degree of your erectile dysfunction, you might only find it effective for 2-3 hours. When you pursue a prescription, the doctor or pharmacist will be able to tell you roughly what level of dosage you should start with, although 50mg is the normal starting dose for most men.

Sildenafil versus other erectile dysfunction treatments

As far as duration is concerned, there are two main types of drugs in the category of oral treatments for erectile dysfunction:

  • Those that last for 4-6 hours. Sildenafil is one of these, as noted, but there’s also Vardenafil (also sold as Levitra) and Avanafil (also sold as Spedra).
  • Those that last between 1 and 2 days. Tadalafil (also sold as Cialis) is the sole popular option in this category. Tadalafil can increase your ability to achieve an erection for up to 36 hours. You can read our Tadalafil reviews page to find out what real customers think.

If you’re looking for a treatment that can provide consistent performance support for an extended time (throughout a weekend away, for instance), then Tadalafil may well be the best option for you. For one-time potency, though, Sildenafil remains among the best. Before you make a decision, read up on what Sildenafil users have to say on our page dedicated to Sildenafil reviews.


Wrapping up, let’s revisit the main points we’ve covered:

  • Sildenafil should reach maximum effect within an hour.
  • It kicks in faster when taken on an empty stomach.
  • Once it’s working, you may have 2-6 hours of full effect (depending on dosage).
  • Sildenafil makes it easier to get an erection, your erection will still go down after sex.
  • The effects will lessen over time, and be gone within a day.
  • Taking more than the recommended maximum dosage won’t help.
  • Sildenafil is ideal if you need intermittent support.

To complete an online consultation and pursue a prescription for Sildenafil, head to our main Sildenafil treatment page and click the “START CONSULTATION” button.


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