Sildenafil citrate (sildenafil), often referred to as “generic Viagra,” is the same active ingredient used in Viagra. Viagra also contains small amounts of inactive ingredients. These ingredients give the pill its form and make it easier for your body to metabolize them.
What Is Generic Viagra?
One of the primary causes of ED is a buildup of the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) enzyme that restricts blood flow to the penis and prevents or lessens the firmness of an erection. Sildenafil works as a PDE5 inhibitor, which blocks the effect of PDE5 and allows more unrestricted blood flow — making an erection more likely.
How Do PDE5 Inhibitors Work?
Sildenafil doesn’t cure ED. It treats ED symptoms. Likewise, sildenafil doesn’t cure PH. It just helps control blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs.
Sildenafil is in a class of medications called PDE5 inhibitors. These drugs restrict the action of phosphodiesterase enzymes, which break down cyclic guanosine monophosphate. This is a type of molecule that relaxes smooth muscle tissue in the body, such as those in the blood vessels that allow the penis to become erect. Taking sildenafil improves circulation by helping the arteries relax enough to fill more easily with blood.
Sildenafil is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, reaching maximum concentration in about 1 hour for most users. Generic Viagra, like other PDE5 inhibitors, can cause a drop in blood pressure. If you take medications for blood pressure control or tend to have low blood pressure, ask your doctor if it’s safe to use sildenafil.
Sildenafil doesn’t trigger an erection on its own, nor does it increase sexual desire. Sexual stimulation is still required. However, for most healthy people, sildenafil can make an erection easier to get.
Is Generic Viagra The Same As Brand-Name Viagra?
Instead of the “little blue pill,” as Viagra is known, sildenafil is often sold as a little white pill by Viagra’s competitors. The pill’s appearance does not change its effectiveness or how it works in the body.
What Is Generic Viagra Used For?
Sildenafil is best known as a treatment for ED, the inability to get or keep an erection. It is meant to be taken before having sex, with the understanding that its effects last only a few hours.
Sildenafil is also approved for treating pulmonary hypertension (PH) — elevated blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs and in the right side of the heart. Revatio is the brand name of sildenafil prescribed for PH.
Generic sildenafil is always sold as sildenafil. There are currently no other brand names for the drug, aside from Viagra and Revatio.
In the United States, sildenafil for ED or PH requires a prescription. The United Kingdom allows for over-the-counter sales of the drug, in part to discourage the market for fake sildenafil. Sildenafil is one of the most commonly counterfeited drugs in the world.
Dosage And Effectiveness For Generic Viagra
Generic Viagra (sildenafil) is available as a 20-milligram (mg), 25-mg, 50-mg, and 100-mg pill and in liquid form. It’s usually taken 3 times per day. The 50-mg dose is standard, though your doctor may start you on a 25-mg dose to see if that’s enough.
For ED, take sildenafil as needed, ideally 1 hour before intercourse. However, sildenafil may be effective as soon as 30 minutes before intercourse and may still be effective 3 or 4 hours later.
After 4 hours, the effects of sildenafil tend to wear off. It’s recommended that you take sildenafil no more than once daily.
Avoiding Fake Viagra
Viagra and other ED medications are some of the most counterfeited drugs. It’s important to speak with a doctor to seek treatment and get medications through a pharmacy.
Sildenafil is available at most retail pharmacy locations and several reputable online retailers, so there’s no need to buy sildenafil from companies not regulated by the FDA.
Does Generic Viagra Have Side Effects?
Sildenafil may cause side effects, most of which are minor and temporary. Some of the most common are:
- Flushing, or a feeling of warmth under the skin
- Tingling in the limbs
- Muscle aches
- Sensitivity to light
Serious Side Effects Of Sildenafil
More serious side effects should prompt an immediate call to your doctor or 911. They include:
- Blurry vision or sudden and severe loss of vision
- Diminished hearing
- Ringing in ears
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Itching or burning during urination
- Erection that is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours (priapism)
Follow Safe, Recommended Doses.
The standard recommended dose of Viagra for treating ED is 50 mg, but your doctor could prescribe anywhere from 25 mg to 100 mg.
Viagra is only recommended to be taken once per day. This means that if you’re planning on engaging in sexual activity more than once throughout the day, you shouldn’t take a pill every time. And if you take a pill and it doesn’t work for you — don’t double up and take another one. Exceeding the recommended Viagra dosage can put you at risk for serious effects.
Because Viagra can affect other parts of the body, such as the heart and lungs, it’s important to stick to the dose and instructions your doctor provides. And if your prescribed dose isn’t working for you, they may make adjustments to find one that works.
Take It On An Empty Stomach.
Although it can be taken with or without food, Viagra tends to work best when taken on an empty stomach. So, to maximize its effects, try to take it separately from meals.
But if you do end up eating beforehand, avoid taking it with a high-fat meal since this can affect how quickly the medication is absorbed and how fast it kicks in.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Taking Viagra For Maximum Effectiveness
- Avoid taking Viagra with a large meal or high-fat meal
- Don’t expect Viagra to work just minutes before sex
- Avoid taking Viagra with alcohol
- Don’t expect Viagra to work alone
- Make sure your testosterone levels get checked