Sildenafil, brand name Viagra, is a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). It works in combination with sexual stimulation to help a man achieve and maintain an erection for long enough to engage in sexual activity.
Sildenafil works by relaxing the blood vessels that supply the penis. This improves blood flow, making it easier to achieve and maintain an erection. When you first start taking sildenafil, you may not experience effects straight away. Your doctor may recommend you try sildenafil several times over a period of a few weeks to see if it works for you.
Sildenafil is very effective with at least 2/3 of men reporting an improvement with use, and up to 84% of men reporting improvement in studies using a dose of 100mg. Erectile dysfunction can vary a lot between people and it’s common to trial several doses or several different therapies before finding the one that works best for you. To help you, an ED Trial Pack is available that contains a selection of the most popular ED medications at a range of doses.
Sildenafil takes 30–120 minutes to work, and is advised to be taken one hour before sexual activity. Sildenafil does not automatically give you an erection, but it makes it easier to obtain an erection following sexual stimulation. When you first start taking sildenafil, it can take a while to adjust, so you may need to try taking it over a few weeks before you see any effects.
Sildenafil typically lasts for 4–5 hours, with some studies reporting effects for up to 12 hours. This does not mean that you will have an erection for this whole time period, as you still require sexual arousal and stimulation to trigger an erection.
Sildenafil is a convenient and effective treatment for erectile dysfunction but can be dangerous if overused or if used recreationally. It is important to remember that sildenafil is a prescription drug and should never be used if not prescribed to you personally by a doctor. Purchasing any medication from an unregistered source is extremely risky, as you can never be sure of what exactly you are taking, so though it may seem like a hassle, it is well worth obtaining it on prescription. Sildenafil should never be used where it is not necessary, as improper use puts you at risk of increased side effects and dependence.
The active ingredient in sildenafil is sildenafi citratel.
The inactive ingredients in sildenafil are calcium hydrogen phosphate anhydrous, cellulose microcrystalline, croscarmellose sodium, silica colloidal anhydrous, magnesium stearate, lactose monohydrate, hypromellose 15cP, titanium dioxide (E171) and triacetin.
Note that inactive ingredients may differ depending on the manufacturer.
Always take sildenafil as instructed by a doctor or pharmacist, who will also instruct you on your dosage. Swallow one tablet whole with a glass of water approximately an hour before sexual activity. Sildenafil may take longer to work if you have just eaten a heavy or fatty meal. If you feel that your dose is too weak or too strong, speak to your doctor who may alter your dosage. Do not take sildenafil more than once per day.
The recommended starting dose of sildenafil is 50mg, taken as required, up to once a day. Your doctor will normally recommend you trial this on several occasions over a period of a few weeks. If you find it’s not working as expected, speak to your doctor who may increase your dose. The maximum dose is 100mg up to once per day. Exceeding this dose will not increase its effectiveness, but will increase the risk of side effects.
Sildenafil tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water and should not be crushed or split.
Sildenafil can be taken daily if necessary, but should not be taken more than once a day. It is only effective in the instance of sexual arousal.
Like all medications, sildenafil can cause side effects in some patients. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking sildenafil and seek medical help immediately:
Headaches may affect greater than 1 in 10 people who use sildenafil.
Other common side effects (affecting up to 1 in 10 people) are:
Uncommon side effects (affecting up to 1 in 100 people) are:
Rarely (less than 1 in 1,000 people), the following side effects may be experienced:
Do NOT take sildenafil if you:
You should inform your doctor and take particular care when taking sildenafil if you:
Before taking sildenafil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription.
Do not take sildenafil along with:
In particular, speak to your doctor if you take:
The most common side effects of sildenafil use is headache, which is reported to occur in more than 10% of users. Headaches can be managed with hydration and over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, where necessary. If you experience facial flushing, try and stay cool by applying a cool compress, breathing deeply and trying to relax. If any of these side effects are particularly severe or prolonged, or if you frequently experience stomach upset when taking sildenafil, speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice. A doctor may recommend an alternative ED treatment.
While sildenafil doesn’t directly interact with alcohol, drinking alcohol can inhibit your ability to get an erection. In order to experience the best results of sildenafil, it is recommended that you limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Sildenafil should not be taken in combination with other erectile dysfunction medications unless specifically advised by a doctor.
It can be dangerous to take sildenafil with recreational drugs, including stimulants such as ecstacy or cocaine, hallucinogens such as LSD and former-legal highs such as mephedrone. Sildenafil should NOT be taken in combination with poppers (butyl or amyl nitrates), as this can have a dangerous effect on your blood pressure and heart.
Viagra is the brand name of sildenafil used for treatment of erectile dysfunction. Both contain the active ingredient sildenafil and work in exactly the same way, although generic sildenafil is significantly cheaper.
Sildenafil (brand name Viagra) is the most well-known and popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. Generic sildenafil is significantly cheaper than the branded Viagra and works in exactly the same way. Alternative ED medications have since been developed and are available on prescription in the UK, including tadalafil, vardenafil and Spedra (Avanafil). Different treatments may be better suited to different people, and a doctor will be able to advise you which is likely to work best for you.
A doctor will write a prescription for this medication using the medical name “sildenafil”, but a pharmacist is free to supply any available brand. Viagra is a brand name for sildenafil prescribed for the treatment of ED in the UK, and Revatio is the brand name sildenafil used for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension. The brand name Viagra Connect can be purchased without a prescription in the UK. The brand Kamagra is not legal in the UK, and can therefore only be purchased illegally through websites that are not registered pharmacies. Doing so runs the risk of purchasing counterfeit medication which can be dangerous.
In the UK, most treatments for erectile dysfunction require a prescription, however, Viagra Connect has recently become available over the counter. Like sildenafil, tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) are PDE-5 inhibitors that work by increasing blood flow to the penis in the event of sexual stimulation. Tadalafil (Cialis) has a longer action time, and can remain effective for up to 36 hours. Spedra is the newest PDE-5 inhibitor (ED medication) and takes as little as 15 minutes to take effect and has a similar duration of action to sildenafil and vardenafil.
Sildenafil is safe for long-term use, although this may lead to psychological dependency. Erectile dysfunction often has a psychological component, such as anxiety, depression or stress, and continued use of treatments such as sildenafil may mask these issues and prevent the patient from pursuing more effective, long-term help.
Sildenafil will not cure erectile dysfunction, the root cause of which is often psychological. However, it can help to relieve the stress and anxiety associated with ED in the short term and improve the physical symptom of erectile dysfunction.
There is little evidence to suggest that sildenafil has any effect on female libido or sexual enjoyment and it is not licenced for arousal disorders in women. However, it can be used to treat pulmonary hypertension in women.
It is safe to buy sildenafil online from a registered pharmacy such as Dr Felix. It is a prescription-only medication and should not be purchased online through any website that does not require a private prescription. However, Viagra Connect, which contains 50mg sildenafil is available over the counter without a prescription.
Generic sildenafil is only available in the UK with a prescription and should not be purchased prescription-free online. Viagra Connect is the only version of sildenafil which is available over the counter without a prescription in the UK.
Over the counter treatment
Works in 15-30 minutes
Effective for up to 5 hours
Effective for up to 4 hours
For daily or intermittent use
Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil