How Long Does Viagra Last?

September 9, 2021

Arguably the most famous treatment for erectile dysfunction is Viagra®. Since its creation in 1998, there have been many other drugs that have made it to the market, but none have been able to unseat Viagra in terms of popularity. 

When it comes to how long Viagra will last, there are many external factors that play a role. Your diet, age, weight, and overall health are just a few of the possible influences on Viagra and its duration of effect. 

What is Viagra? 

Viagra, active ingredient sildenafil, is an oral medication used to treat erectile dysfunction. It falls under the drug classification known as a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, which also include Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil).

In 1998, Viagra was released by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer as the very first oral medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating erectile dysfunction. Eventually, the patent that Pfizer owned for Viagra expired, resulting in the opportunity for a generic version to be manufactured, marketed, and sold. 

From a scientific standpoint, there is no substantial difference between Viagra and generic sildenafil, as they are virtually identical in terms of active ingredient (sildenafil). The only difference being the precise recipe, name, and the color & shape of the tablets. 

How Does Viagra Work? 

Along with increasing blood flow, Viagra helps to stop the chemical reaction that results in blood leaving an erect penis. PDE5 is an enzyme that encourages blood to flow out of the penis. When PDE5 is inhibited by Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors, the levels of cGMP remain elevated, which will result in relaxing the smooth muscles of the penis and encourage the blood vessels to widen or remain widened. 

This is a process known as vasodilation and will help the blood to flow more freely, especially into the penis, resulting in a longer lasting and more firm erection. 

How Long Before Viagra Starts Working? 

After you've swallowed the trademark diamond blue tablet, it should take between 30 and 60 minutes for the drug to kick in, but it may take as long as two hours for some men. 

However, simply swallowing the pill won't be enough to achieve an erection. You will still need to become aroused and sexually stimulated before the Viagra will have any effect. Being adequately stimulated, relaxed, and comfortable will help get Viagra through your system faster and prevent any possible delays.

How Long Does Viagra Last? 

In most cases, Viagra will last between two and three hours before the effects start to diminish; however, it may last as long as five hours, and in some cases even longer depending on the dose, your body’s metabolism, and a few other external factors including what you've recently eaten. 

Depending how your body metabolizes the drug, it may be possible to experience multiple erections while the Viagra is in your system. However, it may be difficult to achieve an erection after ejaculation, as your body is most likely not physically prepared for it. This is known as the refractory period, and while it may only last for a few minutes, it typically lasts a few hours and even a few days. 

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What Are The Factors That Can Affect Viagra? 

There are several external factors that can have a significant impact on how effective Viagra is and for how long its effects will be experienced. Some of the most important include:

Your Lifestyle and Diet 

If you eat a large and heavy meal with foods that are high in fat, then it may keep Viagra from being metabolized quickly or effectively. It will take your body a longer time to process and absorb the Viagra, which may result in a delayed erection, a weaker than expected erection, and the effects not lasting nearly as long. It’s best to take Viagra on an empty stomach, or at the very least a lighter meal with little-to-no fat. 

Your Metabolism 

As you get older, your metabolism will slow down. As a result, it will take you longer to process and metabolise the various medications that you take, including Viagra. This means that as you get older, the effects can actually last even longer.

Your Overall Health 

There are several underlying medical conditions that can affect Viagra's effectiveness and how long it will work. Diabetes, nervous system conditions, and heart problems can all hinder the effectiveness of Viagra and how long it will last. There are some kidney related conditions that can result in Viagra lasting longer, too, depending on the condition and its specific effects on your metabolism. 

The Dose 

The standard dose for Viagra is 50 mg, but there is also a 25 mg dose and a 100 mg dose. The higher the dose that you take, the longer it will stay in your system. It’s important not to take more than what your prescription suggests. If your current dose is not delivering the desired results, talk with your doctor about the possibility of getting another prescription. Under no circumstances should you ever take more than 100 mg total in a 24 hour period. 

Alcohol and Cigarettes 

Drinking alcohol has a known negative effect on blood flow and nervous system response in the penis, so drinking wine, beer, spirits, or other alcoholic beverages when taking Viagra could make it less effective. 

Smoking can also have a negative affect as well. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of toxins, such as acetone, arsenic, and carbon monoxide, all of which can cause damage to the linings of blood vessels throughout the body, including the penis. In addition, nicotine is a known vasoconstrictor, a chemical that reduces blood flow throughout your body. 

Drinking less alcohol and quitting smoking can both be huge benefits to boosting the effectiveness of Viagra.

What Are The Side Effects Of Viagra? 

Several side effects may occur if you take Viagra, but most of them aren’t serious and will only last for a short amount of time. The most common side effects with Viagra include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Muscle and back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Rash 
  • Flushing of the body or face
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Blurred vision or a blue tint

Other more dangerous side effects are possible, although they're pretty rare. If you experience any of these issues it may be best to go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 for assistance:

  • Priapism, when an erection lasts longer than four hours
  • Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes
  • A sudden loss in hearing, decrease in hearing, or tinnitus
  • Chest pains or other signs of a heart attack or stroke, such as prolonged shortness of breath, confusion, difficulty speaking coherently, nausea, or vomiting
  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as fever, trouble swallowing, blisters, or swelling
  • Seizures

Is Viagra Better Than The Alternatives? 

The answer to this question will come down to personal preference. Each of the main three oral treatments for erectile dysfunction have their own distinct pros and cons, but Viagra and Levitra are fairly similar. They are both prescribed to be taken “as needed” or about 30 minutes to an hour before sexual activity. 

Cialis, on the other hand, is a little different. It may be prescribed to take whenever needed as well, but it can also be taken as a daily medication in smaller doses, whether sexual activity is expected or not. This is mostly because tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis, can stay active in your system for between 24 and 36 hours. As a result, there are many people that prefer Cialis over Viagra, but that's just a personal preference. All three options have an almost identical rate of effectiveness. 

The Takeaway

Viagra should last for anywhere from three to four hours depending on the speed of your body’s metabolism. However, additional factors will play a part in how long it lasts and the amount of time that it will take before the effects are felt. 

Viagra has been on the market for nearly 25 years and has been the leading oral medication for treating erectile dysfunction for nearly the entire time.

Although there are more competitors on the market today, including generic sildenafil, Viagra is still the most popular treatment for erectile dysfunction among Americans.

Curious if ED meds are right for you? With Rex MD, it's all done online, the consultation is free, and meds are shipped right to your door, if approved. Check it out by clicking here.

SOURCES

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699643/#:~:text=Sildenafil%2C%20by%20inhibiting%20phosphodiesterase%2C%20increases,is%20about%204%E2%80%935%20h.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437061/#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20side%20effects,who%20has%20recently%20ingested%20sildenafil.

https://onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com/uk/mens-health-advice/smoking-and-erectile-dysfunction#:~:text=Nicotine%20has%20a%20direct%20effect,of%20erectile%20dysfunction%2C%20including%20vaping.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1874251/#:~:text=Sildenafil%20is%20an%20effective%20oral,lasting%20at%20least%204%20h.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925037/ 


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Disclaimer : This article is for information only and should not be considered medical advice. Always speak with your doctor about your health and the benefits or risks of any treatment or intervention. This information should not be relied on as a substitute for professional medical advice.