Sildenafil vs Viagra: How To Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager
Sildenafil vs viagra

Difference between Viagra and sildenafil citrate

Viagra vs sildenafil: what is the real difference between Pfizer's brand name medication and the generic version?

Sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in Viagra. This means it’s the same medication but the latter is patented by Pfizer. In fact, sildenafil is commonly referred to as generic viagra — this is because it's an ED treatment previously protected by Pfizer's original patent.

To that end, both sildenafil and viagra are the exact same medication and are equally effective at treating erectile dysfunction. They work by relaxing muscle tissue found inside the walls of blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the penis and helping individuals achieve and sustain an erection during sexual stimulation.

In some rare cases, sildenafil is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is a form of high blood pressure affecting the lungs.

Since Pfizer’s patent on Viagra expired, sildenafil is widely available as a generic medication and can be manufactured by most pharmaceutical companies. So, today you have the option to buy both erectile dysfunction medications (brand name or the generic version) making erectile dysfunction more widely treatable than ever before.

The generic ED medication tends to be cheaper than Pfizer’s branded Viagra tablets. Why? Because as a generic medicine, sildenafil is produced by a range of manufacturers. This creates competition that regulates prices and keeps treatment affordable to most. On the other hand, Viagra’s name recognition allows Pfizer to charge a higher price.

Viagra and sildenafil also differ greatly in appearance. Viagra has a patented pill design, which is a small diamond shape coloured blue. Generic sildenafil tablets by contrast are sold in a range of designs depending on the manufacturer. Some are white with chalky finishes; others are blue with a smooth casing.

Side effects of viagra and generic sildenafil

Branded Viagra and generic sildenafil treatments contain the same active ingredient, are recommended in the same dosages, and are effectively the same medication. This also means they come with the same potential side effects.

In most cases, the side effects for these ED treatments gradually fade away with the effects of the medication. Here are the most common side effects for Viagra and generic sildenafil:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin rash

Viagra and generic sildenafil treatments can, in rare cases, cause far more serious side effects. This includes a persistent painful erection known as priapism, as well as a sudden loss of vision. If any of these symptoms occur, it’s important to seek professional medical advice and immediate assistance.

For further reading, The Independent Pharmacy has created a complete guide to sildenafil side effects. Read this for more information and advice when taking ED medications that claim sildenafil citrate as the active ingredient.

The recommended dosage for Viagra and sildenafil

Generic sildenafil products and Viagra are sold as tablets, though it's also available in liquid form in the United States. The typical dosage options are 20mg, 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg — this tends to be the same dosage for both branded and generic medications.

Viagra and generic sildenafil are thought most effective when taken around an hour before sexual activity. You can use both with food, but it’s wildly recommended to avoid a high-fat meal because this can slow the time it takes for the treatment to start working.

It’s also best to avoid taking these tablets with grapefruit juice as the fruit juice can interact with the medication and reduce its effectiveness.

Alternative medication for erectile dysfunction

Branded Viagra and generic sildenafil tablets are perhaps the best-known treatments for erectile dysfunction, but there are other medications available.

Here are some examples of alternative medications for erectile dysfunction:

Viagra Connect can treat erectile dysfunction

Viagra Connect is also manufactured by Pfizer under the Viagra branding. The big difference is you can buy Viagra Connect over the counter, while Viagra requires a prescription from your doctor. Viagra connect contains 50g of sildenafil citrate and helps men over the age of 18 keep an erection for the duration of sex. You can purchase online from The Independent Pharmacy.

Cialis can treat erectile dysfunction

Containing the active ingredient tadalafil, Cialis can last up to 36 hours depending on the dosage. Like Viagra and generic sildenafil, Cialis works in combination with sexual stimulation by increasing blood flow to the penis. It also helps to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, relieving symptoms like difficulties with the flow of urine. To receive Cialisis you need a prescription from your doctor.

Summary

Sildenafil is the cheaper generic version of Viagra.

They are the same treatment containing the same active ingredient. They’re also proven to be equally effective and popular amongst sufferers of erectile dysfunction, with the only real difference being the branding. Viagra is a brand name patented by Pfizer and sildenafil is the generic version of the drug.

Whichever treatment you choose, it’s advised you consult a doctor, pharmacist or medical professional beforehand. Speak to The Independent Pharmacy’s online doctor and get a free consultation to determine if Viagra or generic sildenafil is the right treatment for you.

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