ED Treatment

How Much Does Viagra® Cost On Average?

May 13, 2022

About 50% of men over the age of 40 will experience erectile dysfunction.

It's a frustrating occurrence, but doesn’t have to be a permanent one.

Highly effective treatments for ED are available that can dramatically reduce and eliminate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

The most popular option is prescription Viagra®, and with the availability of generic options, pricing has declined dramatically since twenty years ago. So what does it cost, on average?

What Is Viagra? 

Viagra is an oral medication only available by prescription that is used to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

The active ingredient in Viagra is called sildenafil, which is one medication in the class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. Other popular PDE5 inhibitors include tadalafil and vardenafil, the active ingredients in Cialis® and Levitra®, respectively. 

Originally, sildenafil was studied as a potential treatment for hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (severe chest pain). While it wasn’t particularly successful for treating these conditions, it did produce an unexpected boost to erectile function during early clinical trials. Men who were taking it experimentally reported strong erections, and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, who had been studying sildenafil, decided to test it as a possible treatment for erectile dysfunction.

After years of research and trials, the FDA approved sildenafil as a treatment under the brand name Viagra. Viagra hit the market in 1998, becoming the very first oral medication for treating erectile dysfunction. 

Since then, the "little blue pill” has crossed into the mainstream of pop culture and is recognizable worldwide. In 2017, the intellectual property (IP) and exclusivity period for sildenafil expired, leading to multiple pharmaceutical companies manufacturing generic versions of Viagra.

What Is the Average Cost of Viagra?

Today, you have options when it comes to finding Viagra (sildenafil).

  • Branded - Viagra is still available from Pfizer in its original branded form – Viagra. It comes in 25, 50, and 100 mg tablets. Think of this as the original "recipe." The active ingredient is sildenafil, but it also has other small ingredient amounts that give the tablet shape, help with digestion, and other purposes.
  • Authorized Generic - Pfizer has also authorized a single generic manufacturer of generic Viagra through a subsidiary called Greenstone, a division of Upjohn (also Pfizer's) generics business. This "authorized generic" is also available in 25, 50, and 100 mg doses. It is the exact same original Viagra recipe, but is sold at a lower price.
  • Generic - Generic drug manufacturers including Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mylan, and Bristol Labs (among others) also now sell sildenafil in 25, 50 and 100 mg tablets. These generic drugs have the same active ingredient but will have a slightly different "recipe" than the original branded drug. But these generic manufacturers have proven to the U.S. FDA that they work the same way in the body.

The U.S. FDA, which regulates prescription drugs, describes this relationship as:

"A generic drug is the same as the brand-name drug in active ingredient, conditions of use, dosage form, strength, route of administration, and (with certain permissible differences) labeling. However, a generic drug may have certain minor differences from the brand-name product, such as different inactive ingredients. To obtain approval of a generic drug, a company must submit an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to FDA and prove that its product is the same as the brand-name drug in the ways described above, and that it is “bioequivalent,” meaning it gets to the part of the body where the drug works at the same time and in the same amount."

Cost for Brand Name Viagra (sildenafil)

The average cost for brand-name Viagra is $60 to $70 per 100 milligram tablet (the largest dose available) based on a variety of pharmacy checks.

This means that a supply of six tablets could cost $360 or more. 

When Viagra was first approved in 1998, it cost as much as $100 or more per tablet.

Cost for Authorized Generic Viagra (sildenafil)

The average cost of authorized generic Viagra (sildenafil) from Greenstone (now owned by the pharmaceutical company Viatris) ranges from $8.50 to $35 per 100 milligram tablet.

Clearly this is big savings compared to the original branded drug.

Cost for Generic Sildenafil Tablets

Generic sildenafil is now available for as low as $2 per tablet, including 20, 25, 50, and 100 mg tablets.

It's made by a bunch of qualified generic pharmaceutical companies including Teva, Torrent, Mylan, Amneal, and many more.

One way that some people use generic sildenafil is by taking multiple 20mg tablets to achieve a total dose of 100mg. This is possible because Pfizer obtained FDA approval for sildenafil in another medical condition called PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension) and branded it as Revatio®. In this setting, it was approved at doses of 20mg. Doctors started prescribing generic 20mg sildenafil for ED ("off label" from PAH) when it became available as a cheaper alternative to Viagra. Five pills provide the same amount of active ingredient as a single 100 mg Viagra tablet. 

How Does Viagra Work? 

Sildenafil is a PDE5 inhibitor. PDE5 inhibitors work by increasing blood flow in the body, and most importantly in the penis. A firm erection relies on substantial blood flowing into the penis and filling spongelike tissues that run the length of the penis, until the penis is firm. As the penis fills with blood, the veins that normally help blood leave the penis are constricted, trapping blood in the penis. 

During an erection the penis can contain seven times its normal blood volume.

For men with erectile dysfunction, blood flow is insufficient to the penis during an erection, and an erection is either not achieved or not sustainable for long. 

PDE5 inhibitors work by stopping a natural enzyme in the body –– called the phosphodiesterase enzyme 5––from slowing blood flow. This enzyme is one mechanism through which the body regulates blood flow. By stopping this enzyme's activity, blood flow to the penis can accelerate. This is much like removing the brakes on a car.

It’s important to note that Viagra (sildenafil) by itself will not cause an erection. You will have to be aroused for it to begin doing its job. Viagra generally does not create spontaneous erections.

Do You Need A Prescription For Viagra? 

With the exception of the United Kingdom, yes you will need a prescription to legally purchase Viagra or sildenafil. While this may sound like a hassle, it’s not a difficult task with online telemedicine providers like Rex MD.

Erectile dysfunction is a common occurrence for men (as many as 50% of guys over the age of 40!) so chances are good that your doctor has written plenty of ED prescriptions before.

Online providers can also write a prescription for many men, and if approved your medication can be delivered to your door.

While getting a prescription adds an extra step to treating erectile dysfunction, it’s for good reason. Viagra is generally considered safe for most men, but it does come with a list of potential side effects and could be dangerous for men with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications.

The Side Effects of Viagra 

For the most part, minor symptoms dissipate when the drug is no longer in your system. Depending on dose and your metabolism, Viagra should be out of your system in four to eight hours. The most common side effects that may result from taking Viagra include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Blue tinted vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Flushing in the face or body
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Muscle pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea 
  • Prolonged erection
  • Rash
  • Runny nose
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Vomiting

Interactions With Other Medications 

Another reason that a prescription is required is the potentially dangerous interactions that Viagra can have with other medications. 

When seeking a prescription for an erectile dysfunction medication from a doctor, it’s important that you list all of the medications that you take, no matter how minor or unrelated you think they might be. 

Some medications that can mix dangerously with Viagra include:

  • Nitrates. This medication is typically used to treat angina or severe chest pain. When combined with Viagra it can result in a significant loss of blood pressure and increase the odds of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Blood pressure medications. These drugs include alpha blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Medications that work to lower or regulate blood pressure work very similar to how Viagra works. This combination can be dangerous and lead to a severe drop in blood pressure. 
  • Illicit drugs. Stimulants like cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, or speed can interact dangerously with Viagra and lower blood pressure. Other drugs sometimes used recreationally can have a similar effect. Anabolic steroids, mixed amphetamine salts like Adderall, and alprazolam should also be avoided when using Viagra. 

How Can You Get the Most Out of Viagra?

Whether you’ve decided to go with Viagra or a generic sildenafil, it's worth considering a few lifestyle changes that can increase the effectiveness of Viagra and can even help to reduce the severity and frequency of erectile dysfunction. 

  • Get more exercise. Anything that's good for your cardiovascular system is good for your blood flow and anything good for your blood flow is good for your erection. Going for a 30 minute walk daily may be all it takes to strengthen your heart and your circulatory system. Stronger and more consistent blood flow will greatly boost the effectiveness of Viagra. For best results try to get around 160 minutes of exercise each week.
  • Eat a healthier diet. Foods that are high in salt can increase blood pressure, foods high in saturated fat can lead to narrowed arteries and circulatory issues, foods high in sugar can lead to diabetes, and fried or processed foods can also lead to complications with your heart. Cutting back on your intake of processed and fatty foods and increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish you eat can help your circulatory system function more efficiently. 
  • Lose some weight. If you follow the first two items on this list, this change should come fairly easily. Lowering your body mass index (BMI) to 25 or below can reduce your odds of experiencing erectile dysfunction. A BMI of 30 or higher, indicating obesity, increases your chances of ED by as much as three times the norm. Shedding extra pounds will not only help boost the effects of Viagra but reduce your chances of experiencing issues with erections in the first place.

The Takeaway

The average cost of Viagra is about $70 per 100 milligram pill, but generic versions are available for a few dollars per tablet. Whether you're committed to the original Viagra recipe, an authorized generic, or generic sildenafil, you've got options.

Most men will find generic sildenafil works just as well as Viagra, and there are plenty of places that not only offer low prices, but that can help you get affordable Viagra or generics delivered to your door.

Learn how Rex MD gets generic ED meds to guys nationwide and industry-leading prices. Get started now.




Sources

[Obesity--significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men]

Physical Activity to Improve Erectile Function: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies.

Side-effect profile of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) in clinical practice

Generic Viagra: A Guide to Cheap Viagra Online

PDE5 Inhibitor - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf

The Serendipitous Story of Sildenafil: An Unexpected Oral Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction.

Viagra can be sold over the counter

Sildenafil - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf

Sildenafil (Viagra) drug interactions

VIAGRA : IS IT A WONDER DRUG ?