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How Long Does Viagra (Sildenafil) and Other ED Medication Last?

Sildenafil citrate, known by the brand name Viagra®, or generic Viagra, is one of the most widely used and effective drugs for treating erectile dysfunction (ED). In many cases, a single tablet is all it takes to improve blood circulation and help produce a normal, easily sustained erection.

Like all drugs, sildenafil has a specific active life and half-life that determine how long it lasts as a treatment for ED. Here, we explain how long sildenafil remains active and compare it to other widely used treatments for erectile dysfunction.

How Long Does Sildenafil Take to Start Working?

The amount of time required for sildenafil to start working can depend on several factors–from the specific response you have to the drug to the amount you’ve eaten before swallowing the tablet.

Most of the time, sildenafil starts to work after approximately 30 minutes. If you’ve taken the right dose for your body, you should find it easier to get an erection when aroused.

Many people note that Viagra starts working faster when taken on an empty stomach, as there’s less chance of an active digestive system slowing its absorption by the body.

One point to note is that Viagra will not cause an erection on its own without a source of sexual stimulation. However, it will make it easier for most men to develop and sustain an erection after being stimulated.

How Long Does Sildenafil Last?

A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that participants receiving 100 mg of sildenafil were able to attain what the researchers called an “adequate” erection four hours post-dose, a finding consistent with the medication’s three-to-five hour half life. 

So, when we ask, “How long does sildenafil last?” it’s worth noting the answer comes with some slight variations. Researchers found that while sildenafil can help produce an erection at four hours post-dose, the effects may not last as long as they might at two hours. 

How Long Does Viagra Last?

One of the most popular questions asked is: “How long does Viagra last?” 

According to Viagra’s FDA label, the drug has a terminal half-life of four hours. Per the FDA recommended dosage, you should take Viagra anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours before sexual activity. 

This info is backed by the FDA’s clinical trials for Viagra, in which participants reported effectiveness for four hours.

Can Viagra Produce Permanent Effects?

No. Like all medications, Viagra has an active life and half-life. The half-life of sildenafil, which is the active ingredient in Viagra, is approximately four hours. 

This means that the active amount of Viagra in your bloodstream will reduce by approximately half every four hours.

Eventually, Viagra will no longer be present in your bloodstream or tissue and it will produce no effects on your body.

Can External Factors Affect Sildenafil?

Yes. External factors such as diet and age can sometimes affect how Viagra works and how long it remains active in your body.

  • Your diet can affect the amount of time sildenafil lasts, as well as the amount of time required for sildenafil to start working. If you eat a large meal before taking the tablet, it can slow the absorption process and delay the desired effects of Viagra.
  • Your age can have an effect on sildenafil’s active life depending on your health. Older men with hepatic or renal impairment may find that Viagra remains active for longer than the typical two to three hours, as the liver and metabolic system become less effective at metabolizing the drug over time.
  • Consuming significant amounts of alcohol can lessen blood flow to the penis, yet sildenafil efficacy has not been linked. Still, it may be a good idea to cut back on drinking wine, beer, spirits and other alcoholic beverages to ensure optimal benefits.

Finally, the dosage of Viagra can affect how it works with your body. Sometimes taking a higher dose of Viagra (for example, an entire 100mg Viagra tablet) will produce a more noticeable and longer-lasting effect than taking a smaller 25mg or 50mg dose.

Check with your doctor to determine your ideal dose for Viagra. If you have been prescribed 25mg of Viagra to treat ED, you should not take a larger dose to intensify or prolong the drug’s effects.

Viagra Isn’t Working. What Should I Do?

While Viagra is highly effective at treating erectile dysfunction in most cases, it doesn’t have a 100% success rate. If you’ve taken Viagra and don’t notice any positive effects on your ability to develop and sustain an erection, you should not take more of the drug for a stronger dose.

Instead, contact your doctor and explain the situation to them. They will be able to determine whether you need to make changes to your lifestyle and overall health, adjust your dosage of Viagra or switch to an alternative ED treatment option.

Viagra vs. Other ED Medication

Although Viagra is the most popular medication used to treat ED, it certainly isn’t the only drug in its category. Other common ED drugs include Cialis® and Levitra®, both of which have similar positive effects to Viagra.

How Long Does Cialis (Tadalafil) Last?

Cialis, which contains tadalafil, can last significantly longer than Viagra. Most of the time, one dose of Cialis will take effect within 30 minutes and can provide noticeable results for as long as 36 hours.

Levitra, on the other hand, has a similar half-life to Viagra. Levitra contains vardenafil and can take about 30 minutes to begin working. Once it’s absorbed by the body, its effects usually last approximately five hours.

How Long Does Stendra (Avanafil) Last?

Even though Stendra is technically one of the new kids on the block, as far as ED meds go, it comes out swinging with a terminal half-life of five hours — slightly longer than Viagra. 

This means you can generally expect Stendra to work for about five hours. What makes this new PDE5 inhibitor so interesting, however, is that it’s typically okay to take it just 15 minutes before sexual activity.

For more information check out this article on Cialis vs Viagra to compare the two ED drugs.

See Which ED Medication Is Right for You

Viagra is one of the most popular ED medications available. If you’re wondering how long it’ll stay effective in your body, the answer is around four hours. However, clinical trials noted that at four hours, the effects of Viagra were less noticeable than they were at two hours. 

Other PDE5 inhibitors like Stendra have a similar half-life, which means they’re effective for about the same amount of time, if not slightly longer.

If you’re looking for extended “coverage,” Cialis (tadalafil) may be your best bet, as it’s effective for up to 36 hours after taking just one pill. 

Speak to a certified healthcare professional about your ED issue. They’ll be able to help you determine which ED medication can help you perform at your best in the bedroom.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.