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Sildenafil vs. Viagra

What is Sildenafil and How does it Work?

Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra and another drug called Revatio. Viagra, Revatio, Cialis, and Levitra are all part of a family of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors. These erectile dysfunction medications each work by preventing the chemical process that lets blood leave an erect penis. PDE-5 inhibitors essentially tip the chemical balance in favor of erections.

Viagra vs. Generic Sildenafil

Viagra (sildenafil) is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), and it comes in 3 different tablet strengths:
  • 25 mg
  • 50 mg
  • 100 mg
Generic sildenafil (Revatio) only comes in a 20 mg tablet. Your doctor can prescribe multiple 20mg tablets to create a larger dose (3 tablets = 60mg dose). The amount of sildenafil in each pill is the biggest difference between Viagra and generic sildenafil. Generic sildenafil has also been FDA approved to treat Pulmonary Hypertension (high blood pressure between the heart and lungs).  
Sildenafil is the generic name of the active ingredient in Revatio and Viagra. But only Revatio has been approved for use as a generic ED medication. That means there’s an inexpensive sildenafil in a 20 mg tablet, but not an inexpensive generic of the 25, 50,100 mg tablets.
Physicians can prescribe sildenafil for any reason—not just to treat pulmonary hypertension. Since the sildenafil is exactly the same active ingredient as Viagra, many doctors prescribe sildenafil to treat ED. Technically this is considered “off-label” use, but the only difference is the dose in each tablet. However generic sildenafil only costs a fraction of the price of name-brand Viagra. So off-label use of sildenafil can help men who can’t afford the higher price of Viagra.

What Does this Mean for Patients with ED?

Here’s a quick recap of the difference between generic sildenafil and Viagra:

Generic Sildenafil

Viagra, the “Little Blue Pill

  • FDA approved to treat erectile dysfunction
  • Name-brand medication, so it costs more than generic alternatives
  • Available in 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg tablets

Adjusting Your Dose: Viagra vs. Sildenafil

50mg is the typical starting dose of Viagra (sildenafil). This starting dose lets doctors raise or lower a patient’s dose to achieve the desired effects while avoiding any potential side effects. One of the benefits of generic sildenafil vs Viagra is that the smaller 20 mg dose tablets let you “dial in” your ideal dose more carefully than the three options available with Viagra (25, 50, 100). For example:
  1. A doctor writes a prescription for a patient to take (2) 20 mg tablets of sildenafil, one hour before sexual activity. (That’s a 40 mg dose)
  2. Based on how effective it is (do they get and maintain an erection?) and how well the patient tolerates the medication (do they experience any side effects?), the physician and patient can increase the dose to 60 mg (3 tablets), 80 mg (4 tablets), or the maximum daily dose of sildenfail—100 mg (5 tablets)
  3. On the other hand, a patient may find that a 20 mg dose (1 tablet) gives him the effect he wants. Even better, that low dose doesn’t come with any annoying side effects. It’s a win-win!
These fine-tuned shifts aren’t possible with name-brand Viagra. A physician can only jump from 50 mg to 100 mg if the medication isn’t effective. And they can only drop from 50 mg to 25 mg if side effects are a problem. These are big jumps in dosages compared to generic sildenafil.

Viagra vs. Sildenafil

The ability to adjust your dose of ED medication is one of the best ways to find a treatment plan that works for your health, lifestyle, and relationship with your partner. The flexibility of 20mg doses also allows for occasional jumps in dosage (from 20-40mg) to give a man a bit more of what he (and his partner wants). This increase is particularly helpful for dealing with:
  • Performance anxiety with a new partner
  • Combating the distractions and loss of “erotic focus” from stress
Moreover, the ability to achieve a robust erection can create a positive feedback loop that allows a man to focus on his—and his partner’s—experience and not worry about getting or maintaining an erection. However, you should never increase your dose without consulting your physician.

Levitra Over-the-Counter ED Medication

Levitra’s patent is set to expire in October 2018. But as of June 2018, Bayer doesn’t have any plans to make or market Levitra as an over-the-counter (OTC) erectile dysfunction drug. However, French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, has acquired the right to make all applications for OTC approval of Levitra in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe when Levitra’s patent expires. But there are a number of regulations and concerns for over-counter ED medication.

Over-the-Counter ED Medication: Levitra

Levitra Just because the patent on Levitra expires in October 2018, doesn’t mean that over-the-counter Levitra is a guarantee. OTC Levitra faces enormous obstacles in the United States and Europe. Pfizer faced similar difficulties back in 2008 when they tried to gain approval for OTC Viagra sales. Levitra is a prescription medication for a number of reasons including potentially dangerous drug interactions with other medications and even daily vitamins and natural supplements. It’s also important to take the proper dose of ED medication to avoid harmful side effects. More isn’t always better, and concerns about the potential for misuse, the complicated educational material needed to accompany the medication, and the fact that the underlying medical conditions leading to ED would go untreated, are all problems for over-the-counter Levitra.

Erectile Dysfunction Prescription Medication & Treatment

Erectile dysfunction doesn’t happen for no reason. In fact, ED is usually a sign of a much more serious underlying health condition like: It’s important to understand what’s actually causing your erectile dysfunction before medicating the condition. Getting a prescription for ED meds is an opportunity for doctors to diagnose and educate men about the root causes and habits that can not only lead to ED but other life-threatening conditions. While telemedicine and online diagnosis have lowered the barrier to entry for a lot of men suffering with ED, it’s hard to imagine any of the erectile dysfunction drugs becoming available over-the-counter any time soon. Especially in the United States.
Sildenafil generic viagra

Generic Viagra: Affordable ED Medication

Viagra generated over $2B for Pfizer in 2017, largely due to revenue from their exclusive patent on Viagra. But the patent on Viagra is set to expire in 2020. A more affordable generic Viagra alternative is coming soon. In fact, thanks to an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals, generic Viagra is already available.

Generic Viagra

Sildenafil generic viagra Generic prescription drugs usually lower the price of expensive name-brand medication. However, because there’s only one pharmaceutical company with the rights to make generic Viagra (called Sildenafil) the pressure from competition isn’t a factor driving down prices. But other generic ED medications are coming onto the market soon. The patent for Cialis is set to expire in September 2017, and Levitra’s patent expires October 31, 2018. Once more generic ED drugs become available, generic Viagra (sildenafil) is likely to come down in price. That’s great news for guys struggling with ED who can’t afford the current price of Viagra.