Cheaper alternatives that work as well as Viagra
Viagra is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men over 18 and is manufactured by Fareva Amboise. It contains the active ingredient sildenafil and is available in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg tablets.
Viagra works by relaxing the blood vessels in the penis when you are sexually aroused. This allows blood to flow more easily and strengthens an erection. It can take effect within 30 to 60 minutes and lasts 4 to 5 hours.
4 tablet(s) - £18.00
8 tablet(s) - £23.00
12 tablet(s) - £52.00
16 tablet(s) - £44.00
28 tablet(s) - £100.00
4 tablet(s) - £25.00
8 tablet(s) - £49.00
12 tablet(s) - £69.00
16 tablet(s) - £78.00
28 tablet(s) - £149.00
4 tablet(s) - £37.99
8 tablet(s) - £64.99
12 tablet(s) - £94.99
16 tablet(s) - £124.99
Viagra is a prescription medication used to treat ED in adult men. It contains the active ingredient sildenafil and belongs to a medication group known as PDE5 inhibitors.
When you are sexually aroused, your body makes a substance called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). This is what helps you to keep and maintain an erection. Another enzyme in your body called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) breaks down cGMP, which can stop your erection.
Viagra contains sildenafil, which is a PDE5 inhibitor. When you take Viagra, your body stops PDE5 from breaking down cGMP. This relaxes your blood vessels and allows more blood to get to your penis, which helps you get and keep an erection for longer.
Viagra can take 30 to 60 minutes to work. It can be taken both before and after meals but the effect can be delayed if taken with a rich meal. For a quick onset of action, you should allow about 2 hours between eating a meal and taking Viagra.
The effects of Viagra last between 4 and 5 hours.
For men who want more flexibility, Cialis, which contains the active ingredient tadalafil, is a longer lasting alternative. The effects of tadalafil can last up to 36 hours, so you can have sex without having to plan as far in advance. Cialis is popularly referred to as the "weekend pill".
Please note: Taking Viagra® or other PDE5 inhibitors does not automatically lead to an erection. This requires additional sexual stimulation, such as. through foreplay or visual stimuli.
The duration of each ED treatment depends on how quickly the active ingredient can be broken down by your body. Different active ingredients are broken down at different rates, which means some treatments last longer than Viagra.
Below are some of the PDE5 inhibitors we sell, as well as how long they last:
- sildenafil (including Viagra) works from 60 minutes after ingestion and lasts up to about 5 hours
- tadalafil and Cialis work from 30 minutes after ingestion and last up to 36 hours
- vardenafil and Levitra work from 30 minutes after ingestion and lasts up to about 4 hours
- Spedra and avanafil work from about 30 minutes after ingestion and lasts up to about 6 hours
Yes, the effect of Viagra can be influenced by certain factors. However, age does not change how Viagra works in a healthy male. If Viagra does not work, this could have several causes, such as:
- a hormonal disorder, such as testosterone deficiency
- an underlying disease such as diabetes or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- nerve damage in the pelvic area
Viagra may not be effective if it is not taken correctly. You can read our article about what to do when Viagra doesn’t work if you need further advice. For example, if Viagra is taken with a very rich and greasy meal, the effect is usually delayed. Taking Viagra and drinking alcohol can also reduce its effectiveness, as it is harder to get an erection.
For successful treatment, the cause of your ED must be diagnosed before using Viagra.
Viagra can have a positive psychological effect as it can help you to have sex without worrying about getting or keeping an erection. This means you can look forward to sex again and improve your confidence.
ED treatment can help reduce psychological fears associated with sex. Some men will discontinue treatment after several positive experiences and have sex again without needing to take any medication.
It is reassuring to know that erectile dysfunction is no exception. Experts estimate that around 1 in every 4 men under the age of 40 experience ED which is not usually permanent.
If the patent protection of a drug expires, other companies can also manufacture and sell drugs with the same active ingredient. Viagra can now be sold under the generic name sildenafil, which works in the same way. The only difference is that Viagra is a branded medication whereas sildenafil is the generic drug name.
Generic medications are the same as branded tablets, but the tablet could be a different shape or colour. A small number of patients may be able to take sildenafil but not Viagra, and vice versa. Other ingredients such as lactose can trigger stomach disorders in sensitive people.
The biggest difference is the price. Since generics do not have to be developed from scratch, they are significantly cheaper than the original. You can find out more about Viagra alternatives on our website.
Viagra is suitable for men over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with ED by a doctor.
Viagra is taken around an hour before sex. It should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Avoid alcohol and large meals if you find Viagra is not effective.
Women and people under the age of 18 should not take Viagra. You must also not take Viagra if you:
- are allergic to sildenafil or any other ingredient in the medication
- have not been diagnosed with ED by a doctor
- take nitrates, used to treat "heart pain" (angina pectoris) as this can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure if taken at the same time
- use nitric oxide donors, such as amyl nitrite or the party drug "poppers"
- have recently (within the last 6 months) had a heart attack or stroke
- have low blood pressure
- have a rare eye disease such as retinitis pigmentosa
- have severe liver or kidney disease
- have had or currently have vision loss due to arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION)
- are taking or using other medications to treat ED
- are taking other medications containing sildenafil
- take riociguat to treat high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
If you have certain pre existing conditions, you should be careful when taking Viagra. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking Viagra if you have:
- sickle cell anaemia (changes in the red blood cells), leukaemia (blood cancer), or multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer)
- an anatomical deformity of the penis or Peyronie’s disease
- heart problems
- a gastrointestinal ulcer
- a blood clotting disorder
No, Viagra can still cause side effects in people who do not have ED, such as painful permanent erections. Men who do not have ED and use Viagra are exposing themselves to unnecessary risks. Viagra should only be used when there is a medical need.
Yes, but it must be:
- bought from an officially licensed online pharmacy
- purchased with a valid medical prescription, such as from ZAVA
If you would rather buy Viagra online, you can do so through our website, legally and safely. Simply complete a medical questionnaire which a doctor will check for suitability. They will then prescribe your ED treatment, which will be sent to your home with free delivery and discreet packaging.
Some websites offer Viagra without a prescription. This is illegal and potentially unsafe, as you cannot know for sure if you are buying sildenafil or a fake product.
Viagra comes in 3 doses which are 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg of the active ingredient sildenafil per tablet. The starting dose is usually 50 mg.
You may be prescribed 25 mg if you are younger and a doctor believes your ED may be caused by a psychological condition. In severe ED, 100 mg can be prescribed but only following medical advice. Never take more Viagra than you have been prescribed. A higher dose means more risk of side effects.
It is important to know that Viagra sometimes needs to be taken several times before it works. Your doctor will recommend trying Viagra on 8 different occasions before changing your dose or suggesting another treatment. Speak to your doctor if Viagra is still not working after 8 attempts.
Viagra contains the active ingredient sildenafil citrate in a dosage of 25 mg, 50 mg or 100 mg per tablet.
The other components in the tablets are:
- microcrystalline cellulose, calcium hydrogen phosphate, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate on the tablet core
- hypromellose, titanium dioxide (E171), lactose monohydrate, triacetin, and indigo carmine aluminium lake (E132) on the film coating
Viagra is known as the blue pill. The tablets are blue, with a diamond shape. They are marked with “PFIZER” on one side and the dosage on the other: “VGR 25”, “VGR 50” or “VGR 100”. The tablets are provided in blister packs containing 2, 4, 8, 12 or 24 tablets. Not all pack sizes may be available in the UK.
Viagra or sildenafil can have some side effects, but not every man using Viagra will get them.
If you notice any of the following side effects, please stop treatment and call 999 or go to A&E immediately:
- allergic reactions, with symptoms such as sudden wheezing, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and swelling of the eyelids, face, lips or throat
- chest pain, if this occurs during or after intercourse, assume a semi-sitting position, try to relax, and do not use nitrates
- priapism, a long and sometimes painful erection that lasts more than 4 hours
- sudden deterioration or loss of vision
- serious skin reactions, such as severe peeling and swelling of the skin, blistering of the mouth, genitals and around the eyes, and fever
- seizures (fits)
A very common side effect of Viagra is headaches.
Common side effects that may affect up to 1 in 10 people are:
- visual disturbances, such as blurred vision
- facial flushing
- hot flush
- stuffy nose
Uncommon and rare side effects can be found in the patient information leaflet.
Yes, Viagra can interact with certain medications and foods, which can lead to increased side effects or reduce the effectiveness of the tablet.
Viagra must never be taken with medicines containing nitrate, or a life threatening drop in blood pressure can occur.
Other drugs and foods that may interact with Viagra are:
- some antibiotics, such as erythromycin and rifampin
- medicines used to treat HIV, such as ritonavir and saquinavir
- cimetidine, used to treat heartburn
- ketoconazole, used to treat fungal diseases
- bosentan, a drug used to treat pulmonary hypertension
- alpha blockers such as doxazosin, used to treat benign enlargement of the prostate or high blood pressure
- grapefruit or grapefruit juice can (slightly) increase the concentration of Viagra in the blood, which may lead to an increased risk of side effects
If you are using other medicines at the same time, you should talk to your doctor about possible interactions.
Viagra used to be manufactured by Pfizer, but Upjohn has recently become the manufacturer. This is a joint venture between Pfizer and the Dutch company Mylan. The tablet and ingredients will remain the same.
In the UK, the marketing authorisation holder of Viagra is Upjohn UK Limited, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9NJ, United Kingdom.
The manufacturer of Viagra is Fareva Amboise, Zone Industrielle, 29 route des Industries, 37530 Pocé-sur-Cisse, France.
Is Viagra safe?
Yes, Viagra is a safe and effective medication but should only be taken if you have been prescribed it by a doctor. Always take the dose your doctor has prescribed and only take one dose in 24 hours, as taking more could increase the risk of side effects.
Like any medication, Viagra can have some side effects, but most are mild and go away once your body gets used to the medication. If you do get serious side effects or they become unmanageable, you should always speak to your doctor.
How quickly does Viagra work?
Viagra usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour to start working, but it can get to work in as little as 20 minutes for some men. This is because how quickly Viagra works can differ for each person, and how quickly it works can also be affected by things like your diet, metabolism, and how aroused you are. The best way to get Viagra to work quickly is to avoid high fat content meals at least an hour before taking it and by avoiding taking it with alcohol.
How do I know Viagra is working?
You will know Viagra is working if it is easier for you to get and maintain an erection while you’re aroused. This usually happens within 30 minutes to an hour of taking it, but it can sometimes take longer if you have eaten a heavy meal or drank alcohol.
Remember, you need to be sexually aroused for Viagra to work. It can not give you an erection if you are not.
Does Viagra always work?
There is no guarantee that Viagra will always work, but it is an extremely effective ED treatment for most men. And, just because Viagra has worked a few times doesn’t mean it will work every single time without fail. Other factors can change how well viagra works for you, like whether you’ve drunk alcohol or how aroused you are.
If Viagra doesn’t work for you, you can speak to your doctor for advice and read our page on what to do when Viagra doesn’t work.
If you are new to Viagra and it doesn’t work straight away, you should try taking it on 8 separate occasions before trying a new ED treatment. This is because it can take a few tries to get it to work, and it can take time to work. If Viagra does not work for you after trying it on 8 different occasions, you should speak to your doctor, as there are other ED treatments available that may work better for you.
In some cases, another condition, such as diabetes or a hormone deficiency, could be causing your ED. You should always see your doctor if you are having difficulties getting or maintaining an erection, as they can rule out any underlying health conditions.
How much Viagra should I take the first time?
The usual starting dose for Viagra is one 50mg tablet, but this may be lower if you take certain medications or have certain health conditions. You should only ever take the dose of Viagra that has been prescribed to you. If it doesn’t work, you can try again the next day.
Can you take Viagra every day?
You can take Viagra once every 24 hours, but it is not recommended as a daily treatment for ED. Taking Viagra every day can increase your risk of getting side effects.
Other ED treatments are more suitable for everyday use, such as Cialis (tadalafil) Daily. Speak to your doctor for more information on the best ED treatment for you.
What happens if you take too much Viagra?
If you take too much Viagra, you are at a higher risk of getting serious side effects and should speak to your doctor straight away. If you get any serious side effects, call 999 or get someone to take you to A&E.
You should never take more than your prescribed dose and never more than 100mg in 24 hours. Taking more than this will not make Viagra work better, but will increase your likelihood of negative side effects. If 100mg of Viagra isn’t working for you, it’s better to speak to your doctor about alternative treatment options.
What does Viagra look like?
Viagra is often called the ‘little blue pill’ as it is a small, pale blue tablet. Each tablet is shaped like a diamond with smooth edges. The manufacturer's name is printed on the front as ‘Pfizer’, and the dosage is written on the back. Viagra comes in 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg tablets.
You may also be prescribed sildenafil, which is the generic form of Viagra. This is the same medication, but it comes as a white, round, biconvex tablet with ‘SL’ written on the front and the dosage written on the back.
Can you split Viagra tablets in half?
No, you should not split Viagra tablets in half as it may not work properly. If you think you need a lower dose of Viagra, you should speak to your doctor, as they can prescribe this. The lowest dose of Viagra is 25mg.
Does Viagra affect ejaculation?
Viagra does not affect ejaculation. It cannot make you last longer in bed, change your sensitivity, or improve symptoms of premature ejaculation. If you are having problems with premature ejaculation, you should speak to your doctor, as there are treatments available that can help.
Can I take Viagra for fun?
You should never take Viagra for fun. Taking Viagra unnecessarily could cause side effects and may affect your ability to get and maintain an erection. It could also be dangerous if you take certain medications, have consumed alcohol, or have taken recreational drugs.
Will Viagra work if you take blood pressure medicine?
Viagra can work if you take blood pressure medicine, but this depends on what medication you take. Certain medications, such as nitrates, shouldn’t be taken with Viagra, as this could cause your blood pressure to drop dangerously low. If you take any blood pressure medicine, speak to your doctor first before taking any form of Viagra.
If you do have issues with your blood pressure and Viagra may still be suitable for you, your doctor may start you on a lower dose of 25mg while monitoring your blood pressure.
Does Viagra make you bigger?
No, Viagra cannot change the size of your penis. This is because it can only help you to get and maintain an erection more easily.
Does Viagra make your penis harder?
Viagra cannot make your penis harder than your usual erections.
How can I get rid of red face from Viagra?
If you get ‘red face’ (facial flushing) when taking Viagra, it will usually go away on its own, but you can apply a cold cloth to see if this helps. You should also avoid drinking alcohol when taking Viagra if you get this side effect as it can make it more likely to occur. If it doesn’t go away, speak to your doctor about taking a lower dose of Viagra.
How can I get rid of the headache from Viagra?
If you get headaches when taking Viagra, you can treat this as you usually would. Drink plenty of fluids and use over the counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. You can also use a cold or hot compress and rest in a quiet, dark room until you feel better. Avoid drinking anything that could make your headache worse, such as caffeine and alcohol.
If you keep getting headaches when taking Viagra or they become unmanageable, speak to your doctor.
Is there a generic version of Viagra?
Yes, the generic version of Viagra is called sildenafil. It contains the same active ingredient as Viagra, and both treatments work exactly the same way and come in the same dosages. The only difference between these treatments is the name of the tablets.
What is the difference between Viagra and Cialis?
- Cialis lasts longer than Viagra and can last up to 36 hours
- Cialis contains the active ingredient tadalafil, whereas Viagra contains the active ingredient sildenafil
- Cialis usually starts working in 30 minutes, and it can take Viagra between 30 and 60 minutes to get working.
- Cialis is available as a daily medication, which means you can take it every day, so you’re always ready to have sex without needing to worry about taking a pill at the right time beforehand.
Both Cialis and Viagra belong to the same group of medications called phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE5) inhibitors and work in the same way by relaxing your blood vessels to allow more blood to your penis, making it easier to get and keep an erection.
By knowing the differences between these medications, you can make a more informed decision about which might be best for you. Your doctor will take into account your preference when prescribing a treatment based on your needs and health.
How old do you have to be to buy Viagra?
You must be over 18 to get a prescription to buy Viagra.
Can you buy Viagra over the counter?
You cannot buy Viagra over the counter, but you can get Viagra Connect. This contains the same active ingredient as Viagra but can only be found in 50mg tablets. When purchasing Viagra Connect over the counter, the pharmacist will ask a few questions to make sure it is suitable for you.
If you want to try a different ED medication or need a higher dose, you will need to speak to a doctor to get a prescription.
Can you buy Viagra from Tesco?
You can not buy Viagra tablets from Tesco, but you can find Viagra Connect in Tesco Pharmacy.
Can you buy Viagra from Sainsbury's?
You cannot buy Viagra tablets from Sainsbury's, but you can buy Viagra Connect from any Sainsbury’s that has a Pharmacy.
Can you buy Viagra on Amazon?
You may be able to buy products on Amazon that are sold as Viagra, but these are unsafe and unregulated. These are usually herbal supplements that are being sold as Viagra to help with ED, but there is no proof that they work. There is also no way to be certain they contain safe ingredients or will be safe and suitable for you to take.
You should avoid buying medication from anywhere other than a Pharmacy or trusted online doctor, and you should never buy prescription medication without a prescription. This is illegal and unsafe, as there is no way of knowing what ingredients are used or whether the tablets could interact with other medications you are taking.
Can a woman buy Viagra?
No, women can not buy Viagra as there is not enough evidence to support it working or that it’s safe for use.
When was Viagra invented?
Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, was first introduced by Pfizer in 1989 to treat chest pain. In the 1990’s it was discovered that the medication was better suited for ED. Viagra was then approved as a licensed ED treatment in the European Union and the United States in 1998.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 25 Nov 2022
Viagra 50 mg film-coated tablets, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed August 2022]
Erectile dysfunction (impotence), National Health Service [accessed August 2022]
About sildenafil (Viagra), National Health Service [accessed August 2022]
Sildenafil, NICE/British National Formulary [accessed August 2022]
ZAVA offers a convenient and discreet service to help men improve their erectile dysfunction. There are a number of treatments you can consider. Continue to our erectile dysfunction service page to learn about the treatment options available.