Viagra Connect Vs Viagra Vs Sildenafil

How do these erectile dysfunction medications compare?

Viagra Connect Vs Viagra Vs Sildenafil

How do these erectile dysfunction medications compare?

Viagra Connect, Viagra, and Sildenafil are all medications used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. They are closer-related than some other ED medications, but why?

Find out the link between these medications, how they are similar, and what differences there are that would help you choose between them.

Contents

How are Viagra Connect, Viagra, and Sildenafil related?

They are the same from a medical point of view – Viagra Connect, Viagra and Sildenafil are all related because they contain the same active ingredient, sildenafil citrate. As a result they all have the exact same effect during treatment. The only difference is branding:

  • Sildenafil is a generic medicine and produced by several manufacturers
  • Viagra, is the branded version of Sildenafil patented by the company, Pfizer
  • Viagra Connect is ‘over-the-counter Viagra’, which is also made by Pfizer

Sildenafil was invented first, by accident – sildenafil citrate (the active ingredient in all 3 medications) was discovered as a treatment for ED by accident. The researchers who discovered it were originally testing new treatments for high blood pressure (hypertension). Sildenafil, however, didn’t relieve the symptoms of hypertension properly. Instead 80% of 4000 male participants found they got an erection more easily when they took sildenafil. Therefore, the drug was subjected to testing and was later approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ED.

The patent for sildenafil medication was created by Pfizer – Viagra was born from the discovery of sildenafil as an ED treatment. Although they are both the same, Viagra is the brand name for the sildenafil produced and sold by the company, Pfizer. This was until the patent expired and Sildenafil could be sold as a cheaper generic medication.

Viagra Connect was then approved as a pharmacy medication (PMED) – it works in the same way as Sildenafil and Viagra, but it does not require a prescription. The reason for creating Viagra Connect was to reduce the number of men buying Viagra from illegal sources, possibly because they don’t want to go to their GP for a prescription.

How is buying each one different?

They can all be bought online in the same way – you can buy all 3 versions from us using our online service. To order, you will need to complete a short online questionnaire which will assess your suitability for the treatment. One of our doctors will then check your request and make sure it is the right choice for you. If agreed, our pharmacy team will prepare your medication and will post it directly to your door, free of charge. You can also choose to collect in store if you prefer.

Buying generic or branded – Viagra is the brand name for generic Sildenafil. Both of these medications have been proven to be equally effective for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in Viagra and Sildenafil. The main difference between them is pricing – Sildenafil is the cheaper of the two.

The reasons for the difference in pricing – in 2013, the producers of Viagra, Pfizer, lost their patent allowing generic manufacturers to begin producing their own version. The generic version is known as Sildenafil. Viagra is a brand name that only Pfizer can use. As Sildenafil is generic, its price is not under the control of a single manufacturer, and as it is produced by several different companies, so the price is competitive. Viagra, however, is a well-known brand name so it can command a premium price.

POM vs PMed – when buying in person, prescription-only medications (POMs) such as Viagra and Sildenafil require you to get a prescription from your GP, whereas pharmacy medication (PMeds) like Viagra Connect can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy following a consultation with the pharmacist. They can also be bought from online providers such as Superdrug Online Doctor. When you buy from a pharmacy, you still need to discuss your symptoms and medical history with the pharmacist as you would your GP, but you can avoid visiting your GP to get a prescription. Some men would prefer not to see their regular GP for problems like erectile dysfunction.

Is the POM or PMed cheaper? – you will need to pay the full price of the medication if you opt for pharmacy medication such as Viagra Connect. This is also true if you acquire a private prescription for a POM. If you are eligible for an NHS prescription you will only need to pay the current NHS charge, which is usually cheaper than the cost of the medication. This is usually only for Sildenafil as branded medications aren’t normally covered by NHS prescription.

Overall, Sildenafil is still the cheapest option with a private prescription, because it is non-branded.

Which one is best for me?

Could one be more suitable than the others? – yes, because of the dosages available. Viagra, Viagra Connect, and Sildenafil all produce the same outcome at the same dosage, but if you need a lower or higher dosage than standard, Viagra and Sildenafil are more suitable. This is because you can get 25mg or 100mg dosages of these two.

Apart from available dosages, are they all as good as each other? – yes. They work in the same amount of time (usually 4 hours), last the same length of time, and all require arousal to work. The side effects for all 3 types are also all the same. The only difference is price and the fact that Sildenafil and Viagra are available in a wider range of dosages.

What dosages are there? – the 25mg dosages are suitable for men who only need a low dose or are unable to take the standard 50mg dose due to existing medical conditions. The higher dose of 100mg should never be exceeded but may be given to men who find the 50mg tablet is ineffective at treating their ED symptoms.

Viagra Connect is only available in the 50mg dosage – unlike the other two, Viagra Connect is currently only available in one dosage. This means you can’t get 25mg or 100mg Viagra Connect, even if those dosages would suit you better.

How can I choose between them?

There are several factors which may influence which type you will choose, including:

  • Price:
    • Generic Sildenafil tends to be cheaper
    • NHS prescription is cheaper than a private prescription, but usually only available for Sildenafil
    • Viagra and Viagra Connect are branded, so they command premium prices
  • Method of purchase:
    • Face-to-face visit either a GP (Viagra and Sildenafil) or pharmacist (Viagra Connect)
    • Online (all 3):
      • Simple, quick online consultation/questionnaire
      • You may feel more comfortable ordering online
  • Which dosage works for you:
    • 50mg is the right dosage (all 3)
    • 50mg is not the right dosage (Viagra or Sildenafil have other dosages but not Viagra Connect)

Which one does the UK government recommend?

All 3 medications are approved for treatment for ED in the UK to the same standards.

Sildenafil is prescribed more readily on the NHS – if you get a prescription from your GP for ED treatment, it is more likely that you will be prescribed generic Sildenafil. According to NHS guidance, generic Sildenafil is available on an NHS prescription for all eligible men who have ED. Whereas, branded Sildenafil (Viagra) should only be prescribed on a private prescription, or with an NHS prescription to few with very specific health problems.

Viagra Connect has been introduced by the UK government to improve men’s access to ED treatment – Viagra Connect was authorised as the first over-the-counter medicine by the MHRA. The black market for Viagra is huge and in 2016, £17 million worth of counterfeit and unlicensed Viagra was seized, despite 2,958,199 prescriptions also being written for the same drug. Therefore, to clamp down on the illegal trading of Viagra, Viagra Connect is intended to encourage men to purchase the drug safely.

Sources

Greater Manchester Medicines Management Group (2015). Guidance for prescribing phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE5) inhibitors for erectile dysfunction in primary care. NHS .

Hatzimouratidis, K. et al (2016). EAU guidelines on erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, penile curvature and priapism. European Association of Urology: 1-86.

Krzanowski, T. et al (2017). The blue pill (sildenafil) and its descendants: an overview. Current Issues in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences; 30: 129-133.

Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. (2017). Public assessment report prescription only medicine to pharmacy medicine reclassification Viagra Connect 50mg film-coated tablets.

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. (2017). MHRA reclassifies Viagra Connect tablets to a pharmacy medicine.

Mohee, A. et al (2014). Management of ED under the “severe distress” criteria in the NHS: a real-life study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine; 11(4): 1056-1062.

Prins, J. et al (2002). Prevalence of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review of population-based studies. Int J Import Res; 14: 422-32.

Siddique, H. (2017). Viagra will be available over the counter in UK, says medicines regulator. The Guardian.