Sildenafil (Generic Viagra) in 2024: Side Effects and Where to Buy It Online (2024)

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Generic Viagra, known as sildenafil, is an alternative to the branded drug Viagra that people can use to help treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and is available online at a fraction of the price.

Sildenafil (Generic Viagra) in 2024: Side Effects and Where to Buy It Online (1)Share on Pinterest

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED), you may have considered using Viagra or a similar ED medication as a possible treatment.

If you’ve searched for places to buy Viagra online, you’ve surely also noticed its price tag. Since Viagra is a brand-name medication, the price of Viagra is very high and may not currently fit within your budget.

But a generic version of this popular medication, sildenafil, is now widely available from several drug manufacturers at a fraction of the cost.

Healthline scorePrice for sildenafil*Dosage available for sildenafil*ED medications available
Roman4.0 / 5$4 to $10 per dose25 mg to 100 mg• branded Viagra
• sildenafil
• branded Cialis
• generic Cialis
• generic daily Cialis
Hims4.3 / 5starting at $4 per dose25 mg to 100 mg• branded Viagra
• sildenafil
• branded Cialis
• generic Cialis
Lemonaid3.9 / 5$2 per dose20 mg• sildenafil
• tadalafil
Rex MD3.9 / 5$2 to $6 per dose20 mg to 100 mg• branded Viagra
• sildenafil
• branded Cialis
• generic Cialis
• generic daily Cialis
Optum Perks4.2 / 5varies based on dosage and pharmacyvaries by pharmacyvaries by pharmacy
*Prices are accurate as of June 2024

You can’t get Viagra or sildenafil without a prescription, so we made sure to include only companies that require a prescription or provide a consultation with a healthcare professional who can write a prescription.

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If you’d like to read more about our selection process and scoring system for telehealth platforms, check out Healthline Scores: How We Evaluate Men’s Telehealth Platforms.

Sildenafil citrate (sildenafil), often referred to as “generic Viagra,” is the same active ingredient used in Viagra. Viagra also contains small amounts of inactive ingredients, which give the pill its form and make it easier for your body to metabolize it.

One of the primary causes of ED is a buildup of the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) enzyme that restricts blood flow to your penis and prevents or lessens the firmness of an erection. Sildenafil works as a PDE5 inhibitor, which blocks the effect of PDE5 and allows more unrestricted blood flow, making an erection more likely.

Sildenafil doesn’t cure ED — it treats ED symptoms. Likewise, sildenafil doesn’t cure pulmonary hypertension (PH), which is elevated blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs and in the right side of your heart. It just helps regulate blood pressure in the arteries in your lungs.

Sildenafil is in a class of medications called PDE5 inhibitors. These drugs restrict the action of phosphodiesterase enzymes, which break down cyclic guanosine monophosphate. This is a type of molecule that relaxes smooth muscle tissue in your body, such as the muscles in the blood vessels that allow your penis to become erect.

Taking sildenafil improves circulation by helping the arteries relax enough to fill more easily with blood.

Sildenafil is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, reaching a maximum concentration in about 1 hour for most users. Generic Viagra, like other PDE5 inhibitors, can cause a drop in blood pressure. If you take medications for blood pressure regulation or tend to have low blood pressure, ask your doctor whether it’s safe for you to use sildenafil.

Sildenafil doesn’t trigger an erection on its own, nor does it increase sexual desire. Sexual stimulation is still required. However, for most people who are generally healthy, sildenafil can make an erection easier to get.

A 4-year study published in 2007 found that sildenafil is generally safe to use over the long term. Other data pulled from clinical trials in 2016 noted that sildenafil is effective without severe side effects, regardless of age.

Instead of the “little blue pill,” as Viagra is known, sildenafil is often sold as a little white pill by Viagra’s competitors. The pill’s appearance does not change its effectiveness or how it works in your body.

While generic sildenafil and Viagra are equally safe and effective, the medications have one key difference: price. Viagra costs $90 to $139 per tablet. Generic sildenafil can range from $2 to $10 per pill, depending on the manufacturer and dose.

Avoiding fake Viagra

Viagra and other ED medications are some of the most counterfeited drugs. It’s important to talk with a doctor to seek treatment and get medications through a pharmacy.

Sildenafil is available at most retail pharmacy locations and several reputable online retailers, so there’s no need to buy sildenafil from companies that the FDA does not regulate.

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Sildenafil is best known as a treatment for ED — the inability to get or keep an erection. Sildenafil is meant to be taken before having sex, with the understanding that its effects last only a few hours.

Sildenafil also has approval for treating pulmonary hypertension (PH). Revatio is the brand name of sildenafil prescribed for PH. It’s worth noting that while Revatio and Viagra have the same active ingredient, Revatio is FDA-indicated for treating PH specifically, and you shouldn’t take Revatio instead of Viagra or alongside Viagra to treat ED.

In the United States, sildenafil for ED or PH requires a prescription. The United Kingdom allows for over-the-counter (OTC) sales of the drug, in part to discourage the market for fake sildenafil. Sildenafil is one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world.

Sildenafil may cause side effects, most of which are minor and temporary. Some of the most common are:

  • headaches
  • flushing (a feeling of warmth under your skin)
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • tingling in your limbs
  • muscle aches
  • sensitivity to light

Serious side effects of sildenafil

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor or 911 immediately:

  • priapism (an erection that is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours)
  • blurry vision or a sudden and severe loss of vision
  • diminished hearing
  • ringing in your ears
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • itching or burning during urination
  • rash

Like any other medication, sildenafil can have potentially serious interactions with other drugs, alcohol, and even some foods.

Blood pressure and heart medications

One of the most serious interactions can come from combining PDE5 inhibitors with nitrates or compounds containing nitrates. Several studies, including a 2018 study, show that using PDE5 inhibitors with nitrates is a contraindication that can cause a life threatening drop in blood pressure.

To reduce the risks of a dangerous interaction, tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking before starting any new drug.

If you take other medications for high blood pressure, you may be at risk of experiencing a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Examples of these medications include:

  • diuretics
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • calcium channel blockers

A drop in blood pressure can result in:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • fainting or falling

Severe drops in blood pressure can also result in less oxygen moving through your organs.

Other ED medications

Avoid taking sildenafil with any other ED medications. The combination can lower your blood pressure, causing fainting, dizziness, and, in rare cases, heart attack.

Alcohol

Combining alcohol and sildenafil can lower your blood pressure too much. Avoid alcohol if you’re taking sildenafil.

Grapefruit

The only foods that interact with generic Viagra are grapefruit and grapefruit juice. These products can raise the levels of sildenafil in your body but can also delay the time it takes for the drug to take effect.

Cytochrome P450

Similar to grapefruit, medications known as cytochrome P450 (CP450) inhibitors and substrates can delay the effects of sildenafil and increase your chances of experiencing side effects. CP450 inducers, such as modafinil, reduce the effects of sildenafil if taken at the same time.

CP450 medications include:

  • cimetidine
  • clopidogrel
  • chloramphenicol
  • fluvoxamine
  • omeprazole
  • modafinil

While you may be familiar with Viagra and its effectiveness, you might be understandably cautious about a generic version of Viagra.

If you have questions about how well generic Viagra works or where to buy it from a reputable source, it’s a good idea to meet with a doctor or another healthcare professional.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of ED and considering a generic version of Viagra, your doctor can prescribe a generic alternative to ensure that it’s safe and FDA-approved.

It’s important to avoid any generic alternative not prescribed by a doctor and fulfilled by a reputable pharmacy. Prescriptions not filled through legitimate channels may not be FDA-approved, may have inaccurate labeling on the packaging, and may have ineffective or potentially harmful ingredients.

Sildenafil (generic Viagra) is the nonbranded version of the popular ED drug. It’s virtually identical to the brand-name drug, except that the pills may be a different color (instead of blue, like Viagra), and they cost a lot less.

Generic Viagra usually costs anywhere from $2 to $10 per tablet, depending on the dose, manufacturer, and pharmacy.

This is the general price you can find through subscription services such as Roman, Hims, and Lemonaid.

You may encounter a wider price range when filling a prescription at your local pharmacy. Your price can vary even more depending on whether you use a discount card from the pharmacy or a third party and whether your insurance provider covers generic Viagra.

Before purchasing your medication, it’s always worthwhile to inquire about the price from several pharmacies or companies to find the best price for your budget.

No, in most countries — including the United States — Viagra is not available without a prescription.

However, in 2017, Viagra became available OTC in the United Kingdom to challenge the counterfeit market and improve access.

In the United States and most other countries, generic Viagra is only available with a prescription.

However, many new telehealth services make it easier to get a prescription without making an in-person appointment with a doctor.

There are also a few OTC alternatives to Viagra that may be worth exploring.

If a doctor prescribes 100 mg of sildenafil or Viagra, it’s safe to use — as long as you’ve told your doctor about your medical history and any other medications you’re currently taking.

A 100-mg dose is on the high end of the available doses and may be necessary only for people with more severe ED symptoms.

In most cases, if you’re new to taking ED medications, your doctor will likely start you on a lower dose and may increase it if you don’t get your desired results.

A frequent misunderstanding about ED medications is that a higher dose will produce better results. Thetruth is that a higher dose won’t make your erections any harder or help you maintain an erection any longer after the point of org*sm if a lower dose can effectively address your ED symptoms.

Additionally, a person who takes ED medication when they’re not experiencing ED symptoms will likely not experience any changes, even if they take a high dose.

In fact, if you take the medication without a prescription or do not take it as a doctor prescribes, you could experience very serious side effects if it negatively interacts with other medications you may be taking.

Generic Viagra (sildenafil citrate) works the same way as Viagra but comes at a lower cost.

While Pfizer still manufactures the “little blue pill,” other companies, globally and in the United States, make sildenafil. It may look different, but it’s still an effective treatment for ED.

Sildenafil (Generic Viagra) in 2024: Side Effects and Where to Buy It Online (2024)
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