Is Sildenafil As Good As Viagra?

September 30, 2020

Medically reviewed by
Anthony Puopolo, MD

Sildenafil. Viagra®. Sildenafil Citrate. You've heard all of these names: now what's the difference?

Quick Facts About Sildenafil and Viagra

Viagra is the brand name chosen by Pfizer for sildenafil citrate, first approved in 1998.

Sildenafil is available in the same doses from generic drug companies, though they cannot use the name Viagra.

Sildenafil pills have proven to the FDA that they are "bioequivalent" to the original branded Viagra, meaning they work exactly the same in the body. 

Sildenafil vs. Viagra: What's the difference?

Sildenafil is the molecule that chemists cooked up at Pfizer in the late 1980s in an attempt to tackle high blood pressure and some heart disorders. When they realized it had the compelling capability to generate erections in men, they pivoted and began testing sildenafil in erectile dysfunction.

Viagra is the name Pfizer gave this potent medication when it went to market in 1998. Viagra is the brand name, sildenafil is the generic name. Sildenafil citrate is the more precise nomenclature.

Does sildenafil work like Viagra?

Sildenafil IS Viagra, so it works the same way as Viagra in the body. It's a PDE5 inhibitor, which basically release the brakes on an erection in men who suffer from erectile dysfunction

PDE5 inhibitors are how all of the most effective and popular ED medications work. PDE5 is an enzyme, which if you recall back to high school biology, is a substance that breaks down other substances. This particular enzyme breaks down cGMP, which is one of the substances that's responsible for boosting blood flow and contributing to strong erections. PDE5, which is present naturally in the body, breaks down cGMP as part of the "braking" process after sex to slow blood flow to the penis and reduce an erection. By inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme – like these drugs do – you're basically releasing the brakes on the body's usual system. 

The original branded Viagra is a little blue pill available in 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg doses. Sildenafil is available generically in the same doses and is made by a number of drug companies that specialize in making generic drugs, not just Pfizer.

Depending which drug company manufactures the medication, the precise recipe and look of their pills may differ, but as certified generic drugs, the FDA requires them perform the same way in the body as the original branded medication, Viagra. This is called bioequivalence.

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How long does sildenafil last?

Sildenafil works the same way in the body as Viagra, and it lasts the same amount of time. The Viagra prescribing label suggests it can be taken in the 30 minutes to 4 hours before sexual intimacy. 

Sildenafil 20mg vs Viagra

Things can get a little more confusing when you introduce sildenafil 20mg, a pill/dose that's a little smaller than what most men are used to seeing from Viagra (25mg, 50mg, and 100mg).

What is sildenafil 20mg? Sildenafil 20mg is a generic version of another branded sildenafil from Pfizer called Revatio®. Recall that Pfizer first began testing sildenafil in the '90s for hypertension and ischemic heart disease. While they quickly switched gears to focus on ED, they continued testing sildenafil in other settings. 

A few years after Viagra's first FDA approval in 1998, they received another approval for sildenafil at a lower dose (20mg) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). For this indication, they launched sildenafil 20mg as Revatio

Years later, when sildenafil became available generically, it was also made available in this slightly different dose. Now you can access sildenafil in 20mg, 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg forms. 

Sometimes men or their doctors will replace a single 100mg sildenafil tablet of Viagra with five 20mg tablets due to cost, but these days most generic forms of sildenafil in standard Viagra sizes are cheap enough it's not necessary.

Teva's Viagra?

Another common question around sildenafil and Viagra has to do with Teva's version of Viagra. Teva Pharmaceuticals was the first generic drug company to challenge branded Viagra by making and launching a generic sildenafil pill. Pfizer took them to court and in a settlement arrangement Teva agreed to wait until 2017 to launch their version. 

Teva 5343 is the imprint on a common generic sildenafil tablet that contains 100mg of sildenafil.

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When Viagra was first approved and released on the market, a single pill could cost as much as $100. Today, generic versions are available for less than $10 per pill.

The Takeaway

Viagra and sildenafil are essentially the same thing, and sildenafil is just as good as Viagra.

Understanding these differences can be a little challenging, but the main thing to know nowadays is that sildenafil is available affordably and easily from providers like Rex MD. We're a telehealth company that helps the 52% of guys over 40 get the medications they need with the help and expertise of real clinicians. Our virtual visits are free, and our medications are available at industry leading prices.

Click here start your journey to better sex and more confidence.

Sources

https://rexmd.com/learn/cialis-vs-viagra-whats-best-for-you

https://rexmd.com/learn/how-to-get-stronger-erections

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/20895s039s042lbl.pdf

https://rexmd.com/learn/revatio-vs-viagra-whats-the-difference-from-20mg-sildenafil


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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.