Viagra Alternatives

You might think of Viagra as the go-to treatment for erectile dysfunction, but it’s not the only option out there. While Viagra is a safe medication and it’s effective for most men who try it, it may not be the best choice for you.

See which alternatives to Viagra are most affordable, work faster, or last longer, and learn how to get the best results from erectile dysfunction treatment.

Last reviewed: 29/01/2021 by Dr Simran Deo

Contents

List of Viagra alternatives

There are a number of alternatives to Viagra to help you get and keep erections, including:

Erectile dysfunction tablets:

Other medical treatments:

  • Alprostadil creams
  • Alprostadil injections
  • Penile implants

Non-medical treatments:

  • Lifestyle changes, like weight loss
  • Sex therapy
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Penis pumps

There are also some alternative treatments that aren’t proven to work, including:

  • Penis rings
  • Jelqing
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal pills

The sections below go into detail on these different groups of Viagra alternatives.

Are there pills work like Viagra?

Viagra Cialis Levitra Spedra
Our price from £19.99 £39.99 £43.00 £32.00
How effective are they? 74% 60-70% 58-74% 52-71%
Drugs.com rating 8.5 8.7 8.0 5.7
Generic available? Sildenafil Tadalafil Vardenafil No
Over the counter version? Viagra Connect No No No
Available in a daily dosage? No Cialis Daily No No
How fast do they work? 30-60 minutes 30 minutes 30-60 minutes 15-30 minutes
How long do they last? 4-6 hours Up to 36 hours 4-6 hours 6 hours
Chance of side effects Less than 2% Less than 2% Less than 2% 2% or over

Sildenafil – this is the generic version of Viagra. They both have the active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, but since Sildenafil isn’t branded, it’s usually cheaper than Viagra.

Viagra Connect – this an over the counter Viagra alternative you can buy in pharmacies without seeing a doctor first.

Cialis, Cialis Daily, and Tadalafil – these medications all contain tadalafil as the active ingredient. Cialis is the branded tablet, like Viagra. Tadalafil is the cheaper generic version and Cialis Daily is a once daily pill that you don’t need to take just before sex like other erectile dysfunction medications.

Levitra and Vardenafil – both contain vardenafil as the active ingredient. Levitra is the branded tablet and Vardenafil is the cheaper generic version.

Spedra – another erectile dysfunction tablet, which starts working faster than Viagra. There is no generic version of Spedra available yet.

For more information on choosing between these tablets, see:

Are there other medical alternatives to Viagra?

Vitaros – a cream for erectile dysfunction that contains the active ingredient alprostadil. This cream is applied to the inside of a penis using an applicator that inserts the cream into the urethra.

Caverject – an injection for erectile dysfunction that uses the same active ingredient as Vitaros, alprostadil. Here alprostadil is injected directly into the penis before sex.

Muse – these are alprostadil pellets that are inserted into the penis using an applicator, like with Vitaros cream.

Penile implants – usually a last resort when no other treatments are suitable or effective. Penile implants are pumps that are inserted into the penis by surgery. The implant is then manually inflated before sex.

Sex therapy – talking to a therapist and getting professional advice can help erectile dysfunction for some men. You can get referred for sex therapy on the NHS.

What non-medical alternatives to Viagra are there?

Penis pumps – these are effective devices used to draw blood into the penis to give an erection. They can be used alongside pills like Viagra.

Weight loss – many people with erectile dysfunction are overweight. Being overweight can cause erectile dysfunction so losing weight can help people improve their erections.

Pelvic floor exercises – strengthening the muscles responsible for erections can improve blood flow and make erections easier to get and keep.

Other lifestyle changes – there are a few other lifestyle improvements that can make erections easier, including:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Avoiding illicit drug use
  • Improving physical fitness
  • Lowering your stress levels

Non-medical options that are not proven to work

Penis rings – these are devices that go around the penis or around the base on the penis and testicles. They can be used after penis pumps to keep blood in the penis or on their own to try and improve erections. They aren’t proven to work by themselves.

Jelqing – this is a kind of penis massage meant to improve penis size and erections. There is no proof this technique works for erectile dysfunction.

Acupuncture – since acupuncture is believed to improve blood flow in general, it has been studied as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. Currently there is not enough evidence to prove it works.

Herbal pills – many pills are sold online as herbal alternatives that are meant to work like Viagra. Unlike authentic erectile dysfunction medications, these products aren’t proven to be safe or effective. You can still try them but they are likely to be a waste of money, and could even be unsafe to take. If you do decide to try them, make sure that the product you’re using is safe and properly regulated by the Traditional Herbal Registration scheme.

Some of the natural or herbal remedies advertised for treating erectile dysfunction include:

  • horny goat weed
  • arginine
  • maca
  • watermelon
  • DHEA
  • red ginseng
  • propionyl-L carnitine
  • melatonin
  • vitamin E
  • zinc

See our page on Herbal Viagra for more information.

What are the most effective Viagra alternatives?

Viagra is a highly effective medication for treating erectile dysfunction, and there are no other pills for erectile dysfunction that are guaranteed to work better. However, some medical devices, such penile implants and penis pumps, may work better than Viagra for some men.

Penis pumps are an effective alternative to erectile dysfunction tablets, with 82% to 89% of men and their partners reporting success after using a penis pump, with over 90% satisfaction in their erections. Penis pumps can also be used alongside Viagra for a better chance of success. When using a penis pump with erectile dysfunction tablets, 70% to 79% of men reported improvements to their erections

Penile implants are a last-resort treatment and aren’t a good alternative to Viagra for most people, but they can be a good option for people who can’t use Viagra, or don’t want to use it.

If Viagra doesn’t work for you, you can try other erectile dysfunction pills. Sometimes one pill might work even when another one hasn’t. Everyone’s body is a little bit different, so the most effective treatment for most men may not be the most effective treatment for you. Just remember you can’t take different erectile dysfunction medications together, as that can cause side effects such as damage to your penis.

To increase your chances of success, you can use a combination of treatments, as long as you don’t combine medications. For example you could try a combination of:

  • An erectile dysfunction tablet, like Viagra
  • Weight loss plan
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • A penis pump
  • Sex therapy

Which Viagra substitutes work faster?

Spedra is the fastest working erectile dysfunction medication that you can take before sex. It starts work in 15 mins while other ED medications start working around 30 to 60 mins after you take them.

Cialis Daily takes no time to start working because it’s always in your system. Taking Cialis Daily every day means you can always be ready for sex with no need to plan ahead.

Other treatments that work faster than Viagra include:

Also, any treatment that provides long-term benefits, like lifestyle changes, exercise, or therapy, can help you get erections easier at any time without the need to plan ahead.

Which Viagra alternatives last longer?

Cialis is the longest-lasting erectile dysfunction tablet you take before sex. It can last up to 36 hours whereas other pills only last a maximum of 6 hours. This is why it’s sometimes known as the ‘weekend pill.

Cialis Daily doesn’t stop working. This technically makes it the longest-lasting pill available since its effects can last as long as you keep taking them every day.

While it’s not possible to cure erectile dysfunction completely, some treatments can improve erections long-term, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Sex therapy
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Lifestyle changes

Also, if you treat the causes of erectile dysfunction, you could get long-term relief from the symptoms, for example:

  • Changing your medications if erectile dysfunction is one of the side effects (always speak to a doctor before changing your medication)
  • Lifestyle changes if your erections are being affected by stress, drugs, or alcohol
  • Getting treatment for health conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction, like high blood pressure

Are there any cheaper alternatives to Viagra?

Sildenafil and other generic treatments like Tadalafil and Vardenafil are the cheapest erectile dysfunction pills available. These medications work the same way as branded treatments like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra but since they aren’t branded, they’re usually cheaper.

You can also get Sildenafil for erectile dysfunction on an NHS prescription which is cheaper than getting a private prescription. Other erectile dysfunction tablets are available on NHS prescription, but only for people with certain preexisting health conditions.

There are also other treatment options which cost less or can be free, including:

  • Sex therapy, free when referred on the NHS
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Weight loss

Are there any Viagra alternatives you can get without a prescription?

The only over the counter Viagra alternative is Viagra Connect. This has the same active ingredient but instead of getting a prescription, you can go straight to the pharmacist to order it. The pharmacist will run through a questionnaire like a doctor would in person or online. If the pharmacist thinks Viagra Connect is right from you, you can buy it there and then.

Other over the counter remedies for erectile dysfunction, like herbal supplements, are not proven to work and should only be bought from a trusted seller. Buying these products can just be a waste of money, or at worst could be unsafe to take.

Sources

Erectile dysfunction (2019) NICE [accessed 3 April 2020]

Can lifestyle modification affect men’s erectile function? (2016) Translational Andrology and Urology [accessed 3 April 2020]

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