Viagra, Spedra, Cialis and Levitra: What’s the Difference?

Over the past 20 years, treatments for erectile dysfunction have become eminently more popular.

Impotence is no longer the taboo subject it once was, and men are arguably readier now to seek help for the problem than they ever have been.

And because the market is now such a large one, the range of products available has grown to match. In fact, there are so many medicinal solutions for the condition now that it can be daunting for those seeking treatment for the first time to know which one is going to work best for them.

While other forms of ED treatment are being introduced onto pharmacy shelves and explored by medicine developers, pills remain the preferred choice for many. However, even if you’ve managed to narrow it down to this form, you’re still faced with several different treatments.

Cialis, Levitra, Spedra and Viagra are all viable options for those looking to tackle their erectile dysfunction.

But what are the fundamental differences between these medicines? Do they do the same job, or does each pill have its own individual advantages?

To help, we thought it might be useful to compare the particular characteristics of each erectile dysfunction pill, and the situations they are more suited to.

ED pills comparison table

ProductViagraCialisCialis DailyLevitraLevitra OrodispersibleSpedraSildenafil (Generic Viagra)
Made byPfizerLillyLillyBayerBayerMenariniPfizer and other companies
Active ingredientSildenafilTadalafilTadalafilVardenafilVardenafilAvanafilSildenafil
How quick is it?**30-60 minutes30-60 minutesWorks immediately25-60 minutes25-60 minutes15-30 minutes30-60 minutes
How long does it remain active for?***Up to 4-5 hoursUp to 36 hoursUp to 24 hoursUp to 5 hoursUp to 5 hoursUp to 4-5 hoursUp to 4-5 hours
Dosages available25, 50 or 100mg10 or 20mg2.5 or 5mg5, 10 or 20mg10mg50, 100 or 200mg25, 50 or 100mg
TakenOn demandOn demandDailyOn demandOn demandOn demandOn demand
Available over the counter?NoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Can I take it and drink alcohol?Not recommended.Not recommended.Not recommended.Not recommended.Not recommended.No. Doing so may cause your heart rate to increase.Not recommended.
Can I take it with food?Yes, but taking it with a large meal may cause it to respond more slowly.Yes. The function of Cialis is not thought to be affected by food.Yes. Cialis is not thought to be affected by food.Yes, but taking it with a large meal may cause it to respond more slowly.Yes, but taking it with or after a large meal may mean that it takes longer to work.Yes, however taking it alongside a large meal may slow down its response.Yes, but note that taking after a large meal may make its reaction time slower.
Will I be able to drive after taking it?Yes in most cases. Some side effects may make driving unsafe however.Yes, provided the user experiences no side effects.Yes, but not if it causes side effects which make driving difficult.Yes, in most cases. However, it may cause side effects which may make driving dangerous.Yes, provided you experience no side effects.Yes, but be aware that it may cause side effects which can inhibit driving. In such cases driving is not recommended.Yes, but only provided you display no side effects which may make doing so dangerous.
Unique characteristicThe oldest and most reputable ED pill, Viagra has been used by millions of men all over the world.Known as the weekend pill, one dose can remain active for 36 hours afterwards. The daily pill which provides round-the-clock treatment for erectile dysfunction.Available in standard pill or orodispersible tablet form.Its orodispersible quality makes it ideal for those looking to use an on-demand pill without interrupting foreplay.The newest on-demand pill for ED, Spedra is noted for its fast acting qualities.Sildenafil is the only legally licensed generic medicine available in the UK for ED. It contains the same ingredient as Viagra and does the same job, but is cheaper to buy, and may not necessarily be made by Pfizer.
Find it on Treated.comGet ViagraGet CialisGet Cialis DailyGet LevitraGet Levitra OrodispersibleGet SpedraGet Sildenafil (Generic)

* - Prices taken from, for 4 pills at the lowest dose, and include delivery. The price for Cialis Daily is for a one-month supply of 28 pills, again at the lowest dose.

** - Duration before sex when the medication should be taken, according to the patient information leaflet.

*** - On average, taken from manufacturer website.

+ - This is not comprehensive information. More details on side effects, prohibitive conditions and the effects of other medicines can be found on the respective product page or the patient information leaflet.

Pick the treatment which suits you best

  1. Let’s start with Cialis.

This drug has been developed by Lilly in two forms: as a daily pill, and as a ‘weekend’ pill.

With Cialis Daily, you take it in the same way you would a maintenance treatment: once a day, at the same time each day.

The obvious drawback of this drug is that you have to take it so often.

However, the outstanding benefit of it is that it remains fully functional, 24 hours a day.

That doesn’t mean that you’ll have a constant erection all the time, but rather that the drug will kick into action whenever you’re sexually stimulated.

This allows you to be spontaneous, and means you’re ready to have sex at any time convenient for you and your partner. And, perhaps just as importantly, it means you can take it at a time appropriate for you, and don’t have to duck away during foreplay.

The regular or ‘weekend’ pill is so-called because one dose lasts for up to 36 hours after being taken. So, while you’ll need to take it around 30 minutes before you plan to have sex, it will remain active for a day and a half afterwards, enabling spontaneity during this period.

Among the more common side effects are headache, back pain, blocked nose, indigestion, reflux and muscular pain.

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Verdict: The daily version is great for those who don’t mind taking a pill every day, and plan to have sex around two to three times a week.

Cialis Box Front 3

  1. Next up: Levitra.

As an on-demand treatment, this pill is taken as and when required.

This is a preferable option for those who don’t want to take their treatment every day. But it does mean that you’ll need to take it before you want to have sex.

That said, this Bayer-developed treatment doesn’t take too long to work. On average, you’ll notice the effects of Levitra between 25 and 60 minutes after taking it, and it stays active for up to 5 hours afterwards.

The main advantage which Levitra has over its competitors though, is that you can also get it in orodispersible form. This is a special type of tablet, which dissolves discreetly on the tongue, without the need for water; ideal for those looking to pop their treatment in their mouth with minimal fuss, and without disrupting the mood.

Headaches, indigestion, a stuffy or runny nose, dizziness and flushing are the most common side effects.

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Verdict: Those looking for a subtle option might find the orodispersible pill is the best choice for them.

Levitra Box Front

  1. Spedra is one of the newer products to enter the market.

Like other on-demand pills, it is taken at the user’s convenience, as and when required.

It is most noted however, for it’s speed of action.

In comparison to Viagra, Levitra and even Cialis, which may take around half an hour or in some cases even longer to produce results, Spedra can work in as little as 15 minutes.

So, while it is obviously not as quick as Cialis Daily, which effectively works immediately, it is reported to be the fastest among the other one-dose options; and, in terms of speed, the next best thing.

The list of common side effects for this item is also shorter than those of the others, including headache, flushing and nasal congestion. But one drawback is that, at present, it is only available in standard tablet form.

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Verdict: Ideal for users looking for speedy, on-demand results.

Spedra Box Front

  1. And finally: Viagra.

The blue pill made by Pfizer needs little introduction.

Among the treatments you can buy for impotence, Viagra is probably the only one which can really be referred to as a household name.

As the oldest prescription pill for the condition, developed way back in 1998, on paper, it doesn't stand above those others which have become available since in terms of performance.

You can only buy it in standard tablet form. It takes between 30 and 60 minutes to work, whereas others may be faster. It stays active for around four hours, while other on-demand options still produce results for five hours afterwards, or in the case of Cialis, 36 hours hence.

However, as the most widely-used and well-known erectile dysfunction medicine, it has helped more men than any other treatment on this list.

The list of recorded side effects is longer than the others; but it’s also worth noting that this medication has been in circulation for the longest, so this is to be expected.

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Verdict: Tried and tested by millions worldwide, Viagra is the most established erectile dysfunction treatment out there.

Viagra Box Front

Pills are of course not the only option. Other forms of treatment are available for erectile dysfunction.

Page last reviewed:  05/06/2017