Generic Viagra (sildenafil): Everything you need to know

Generic Viagra, or sildenafil, is a standard treatment for erectile dysfunction. Viagra is the brand name for sildenafil, but there is no difference between the generic and branded versions. Both require a prescription to order.

This article discusses generic Viagra, including how it works, how to use it, and where to get it. It also considers the risks of this medication, including its side effects and the high prevalence of counterfeit versions.

Sildenafil citrate, or simply sildenafil, is the active ingredient in the brand-name drug Viagra. Sildenafil is known as generic Viagra because it is not sold under the Viagra brand name. People take it in a dosage of 25, 50, or 100 milligrams (mg) per day.

Sildenafil is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor — the standard treatment for erectile dysfunction. Other PDE5 inhibitors include avanafil (Stendra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra).

Pfizer received its original patent for Viagra in 1998, and this expired in 2020. However, Pfizer allowed Teva Pharmaceuticals to sell generic Viagra in 2013, before the patent expiration.

Pfizer also released its own generic Viagra under subsidiary Greenstone in 2017 and Viatris — a merger of Mylan and Pfizer spin-off, Upjohn — in 2020.

Once the patent had expired, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted other drug companies to market generic Viagra, including:

  • Aptapharma
  • Appco
  • Hetero Labs
  • Mylan
  • Reyoung
  • Novitium Pharma

People know generic Viagra as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, at a lower dosage, sildenafil can also treat pulmonary hypertension. When doctors use it for this indication, they will typically refer to it as Revatio if they use the branded version, or generic Revatio.

Aside from these standard uses, doctors may prescribe sildenafil off-label for conditions such as Raynaud’s disease and altitude sickness. However, research from 2018 has shown the effect of sildenafil treatment for this disease to be moderate.

A 2014 paper outlined the research on the use of sildenafil to treat female sexual arousal disorder, noting that this treatment may not be the best fit for each person with the condition. The decision to use the medication in this manner should relate to underlying conditions or comorbidities.

While experts believe Viagra to be safe for people with heart conditions, the authors of a 2017 study advise against its use in people with valvular heart disease.

During sexual arousal or stimulation, the blood flow to the penis increases, causing it to expand, straighten, and harden.

An erection gradually goes away as an enzyme called PDE5 breaks down cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which is responsible for the smooth muscle relaxation that leads to increased blood flow.

Sildenafil treats erectile dysfunction by relaxing the muscles and increasing the blood flow to the penis while blocking PDE5 from breaking down cGMP. The higher cGMP levels improve a person’s ability to get and maintain an erection.

As with Viagra, doctors prescribe generic Viagra in dosages of 25, 50, or 100 mg per day. The prescribed dosage will vary depending on the person’s response to treatment and their physical condition.

As its effect is fast and short-acting, doctors recommend taking generic Viagra an hour before sexual intercourse. However, a person can take it between 30 minutes and 4 hours before having sex.

On average, it takes an hour for the drug to reach peak blood levels. A person may take generic Viagra with or without food. People who want to eat should opt for a light meal, as eating a heavy meal high in fat may delay the drug’s action.

People living with health conditions or taking certain medications should consult their doctor first. For example, those taking nitrates, which are medications for chest pain, should not take sildenafil, as this may cause their blood pressure to drop.

A person can take generic Viagra as needed but not more than once in 24 hours. The drug does not cause an erection without arousal or sexual stimulation.

It is important not to take the pill with grapefruit or grapefruit juice, as this fruit reduces the absorption and breakdown of the drug in the small intestine. This can lead a person to have toxic levels of medication in their blood.

Taking generic Viagra may cause side effects, including:

Serious side effects include:

As sildenafil is a prescription drug in the United States, people who wish to buy generic Viagra need a valid doctor’s prescription.

Individuals who want to get their prescriptions discreetly can have an online consultation with a licensed physician, also known as telemedicine, and get home delivery of the drug.

Numerous health clinics sell FDA-approved genuine and generic Viagra through U.S.-based licensed pharmacies.

1. Roman

Lowest cost

Roman is a digital health clinic that provides a free consultation with a healthcare professional to evaluate treatment options for erectile dysfunction, among other conditions.

Cost: Roman offers free delivery of prescriptions in discreet packaging, with prices for generic Viagra starting at $2 per dose.

Ratings: Roman has Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation and holds an A rating. On TrustPilot, Roman has an average rating of 2.5 stars out of 5, based on five customer reviews.

2. Hims

Discreet packaging

Hims is a telehealth service that offers treatment plans and prescriptions for various health concerns, including erectile dysfunction.

Cost: Prices for generic Viagra start at $3 per dose, which includes a free assessment from a healthcare professional and delivery in discreet packaging at no additional cost.

Ratings: Hims has BBB accreditation with an A+ rating. It has a 4.3 rating on TrustPilot, based on 1,003 customer reviews.

3. Lemonaid Health

Consultation for a fee

Lemonaid Health provides personalized healthcare with online health assessments and free prescription delivery using discreet packaging.

Cost: Consultations with a healthcare professional cost about $25, and generic Viagra starts at $2 per dose.

Ratings: Lemonaid Health has BBB accreditation and holds an A+ rating. However, the BBB profile is in the process of being updated. On TrustPilot, it has a 2.6 rating, based on four customer reviews.

4. PlushCare

Accepts insurance

PlushCare is a virtual primary care service that enables users to book a video or phone appointment with healthcare professionals in their area.

Cost: Unlike some similar services, PlushCare allows people to connect with professionals who accept insurance and fill their prescriptions at their local pharmacy. Without insurance, PlushCare charges $129 for each visit, plus a membership fee.

Ratings: PlushCare has BBB accreditation with a B rating. On TrustPilot, it has a 4.4 rating, based on 1,167 customer reviews.

5. Blink Health

Free shipping

Blink Health is an online pharmacy that provides low cost virtual visits with a healthcare professional and home delivery for prescriptions. It allows users to order discounted medications through its website and pick up prescriptions at a local pharmacy.

Cost: Online health visits start at $10, which includes free shipping but does not include the cost of medications. Refills start as low as $17 per refill. However, the price of generic Viagra from Blink Health can vary depending on several factors, including the dosage and frequency needed.

Ratings: Blink Health has BBB accreditation and holds an A+ rating. It has a 2.1 rating on TrustPilot, based on 40 reviews.

Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs worldwide, with many people exploiting online platforms to sell counterfeit versions.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has had numerous reports of seized counterfeit Viagra pills. The FDA also reports that many sexual enhancement supplements online contain undisclosed ingredients and may pose a significant health risk.

People should refill their prescriptions from licensed pharmacies in the U.S. All online U.S. pharmacies should have a listed U.S. address and contact number.

People who consider buying online should ensure that the retailer requires a valid prescription and that the retailer’s website has a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) seal.

They can also check whether the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has accredited them as a digital pharmacy.

A person who suspects they have erectile dysfunction may choose to try a treatment such as generic Viagra. As these are prescription drugs, a person will need to consult a doctor.

The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:

  • not always getting an erection when there is a desire to have sex
  • an erection not lasting long enough for sex
  • an inability to get an erection

Although mild side effects, such as headaches, are not uncommon, anyone experiencing the severe side effects listed below should immediately contact a doctor:

  • changes in or loss of vision
  • changes in or loss of hearing
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • chest pain
  • painful erection

Generic Viagra, or sildenafil, is the same drug as the brand-name Viagra. People should take care when purchasing and taking these prescription drugs, as misusing them can be dangerous to a person’s health.

Many online pharmacies and health services allow people to obtain prescriptions and order generic Viagra. It is important to look for licensed companies with U.S. addresses and be wary of fake Viagra retailers.

A doctor or telemedicine service can provide prescriptions, recommendations, and guidance on taking generic Viagra. They can also recommend alternative options.

Below are some frequently asked questions about generic Viagra.

Can you buy generic Viagra online or over the counter?

Generic Viagra requires a prescription and is not available over the counter. However, some online pharmacies offer virtual health assessments and can provide a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional.

Is there a cheap generic Viagra?

Generic Viagra is a more cost-effective and affordable alternative to brand-name Viagra. Some insurance plans cover generic Viagra, which can help lower the cost.

How much does generic Viagra cost?

Generic Viagra can range in price depending on the specific dosage and pharmacy but may cost as little as $2 per dose.

Last medically reviewed on March 3, 2022

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