Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra, and treats erectile dysfunction. It works in the same way, but is made by different companies as well as Pfizer (for example Teva, Actavis and Accord).
PLEASE NOTE: As this treatment is a generic medicine, the brand of the product you receive may be different to the one shown in the picture.
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Sildenafil is a generic medicine used in erectile dysfunction. It’s often referred to simply as ‘Generic Viagra’ because it’s the non-branded form of the well-known ED drug. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra so it’s a clinical equivalent of this drug. This means that it has very similar characteristics and rates of effectiveness, so there should be very little (if any) difference between the two when it comes to how well they work. However, because it is a generic treatment, Sildenafil is usually quite a bit cheaper.
Why do men get erectile dysfunction?
Erections happen when the brain sends out chemical signals in response to feelings of arousal, that open up blood vessels near the penis. This allows blood to flow into the penis and fill a spongy tissue called the corpus cavernosum, and makes it erect.
There are a number of reasons why men get erectile dysfunction (ED). Sometimes it can be a physical cause that affects circulation, like hypertension or diabetes. Other times it can be a psychological cause, like feeling nervous or being stressed, that interferes with chemical signals and stops an erection happening.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just older men that get ED. It’s thought to be more common in men over 40, because they’re more likely to have physical conditions that can result in symptoms. But a lot of young men get erectile dysfunction too. It’s quite common for men to experience it in new sexual relationships, because they feel pressure to perform well with a new partner.
Does ED always need treatment?
Erectile dysfunction can be self-limiting some of the time. Most men will encounter occasional or infrequent ED at some point in their lives, because there are so many factors that can contribute towards it (metabolic disease, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, not getting enough exercise, being overweight, sleeping problems or feelings of anxiety).
Lifestyle fixes for erectile dysfunction can sometimes make a difference. So this might be quitting smoking, lowering your alcohol intake, or making changes to your diet or exercise routine. Counselling or just talking to your partner about symptoms can help you overcome ED too.
But these approaches don’t always work, and treatment such as Sildenafil might be recommended. In any case, if you have persistent problems getting an erection, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor or a nurse, just in case there’s an underlying illness causing symptoms that they need to rule out.
How does Sildenafil treat ED?
Sildenafil citrate is a PDE5 inhibitor. PDE5 is the name of an enzyme in the body that helps to manage blood flow, by restricting and tightening blood vessels. By blocking the function of this enzyme in the body, Sildenafil encourages blood flow to the penis, making it easier to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. You can find out more about the different methods of treating ED on our dedicated page.
Why do people call it Generic Viagra?
Viagra was released in 1998 and was for a while the only oral ED treatment available. For this reason, Viagra is a much more well-known drug. Because Sildenafil does the same thing (and because the brand name carries such recognition value), it’s often referred to as Generic Viagra.
The patent Pfizer owned on the branded treatment expired in 2013. This meant that other pharmaceutical companies could make and market Sildenafil for erectile dysfunction as a generic. So Sildenafil Accord, Sildenafil Actavis and other versions are, essentially, very slight variations of the name medicine. The makers of Viagra have also entered the market with their own version, Sildenafil Pfizer.
Do I need a prescription to buy Sildenafil tablets?
In most cases yes, but not all the time. Some manufacturers of Sildenafil have applied to reclassify certain quantities of the 50mg dose (the four and eight tablet packs) as a ‘P’ or ‘pharmacy’ medicine. This follows the reclassification of Viagra Connect as a pharmacy medicine, enabling people to buy it without a prescription.
‘P’ treatments don’t need a prescription, and can be issued by a registered pharmacist. But they’ll still need to ask questions about your health, to make sure a pharmacy medicine is suitable and safe.
Other doses of Sildenafil, namely 25mg and 100mg, will still require a prescription in order to be dispensed, and so too will quantities of more than eight tablets for the 50mg dose.
Either way, you will still be required to do a consultation to be able to buy Sildenafil online. You can start this by taking our medical questionnaire, so that our clinicians can assess your suitability for this treatment before issuing it you.
What dose of Sildenafil works best?
Your prescriber will help you settle on a suitable dose. Usually, if you’re a first-time user, you’ll start on either 25mg or 50mg.
You’re more likely to be given Sildenafil 50mg if you have no other significant health issues.
Sildenafil 25mg is for men starting on the drug with certain medical conditions, or men who tried the 50mg and found it worked, but had mild side effects.
Sildenafil 100mg is only prescribed when someone has tried the 50mg dose and tolerated it well, but found it hasn’t quite worked well enough.
You should never try to increase or reduce the dose yourself. If you take Sildenafil and it doesn’t work well, or if it’s too strong, ask your prescriber or pharmacist for guidance on what to do.
In clinical trials, the 50mg dose helped 74% of men get improved erections. For the 100mg dose, this was higher at 82%. For the 25mg dose it was 62%.
What to look out for when ordering Sildenafil online
When you use an online pharmacy, it’s important to make sure that it’s registered with the GPhC and the MHRA. These are the UK bodies responsible for ensuring pharmacies meet the required safety standards. You can find details of our registrations at the top of this page, by clicking on the green cross logo.
Before you can get Sildenafil from our UK pharmacy, you’ll just need to answer a short questionnaire written by our clinical team, so our prescribers can make sure it’s right for you. It doesn’t take long, and once your prescription has been approved, you’ll receive it from our UK pharmacy within one working day. Treatments are shipped in discreet packaging by next-day delivery.
It’s important to read and follow the instructions when you take your treatment. If you’re unsure of anything, ask your prescriber or your pharmacist for advice.
- The usual starting dose is Sildenafil 50mg or in some cases 25mg.
- Your prescriber might increase the dose to Sildenafil 100mg depending on how effective lower doses are.
- Take one tablet one hour before you plan to have sex.
- You’ll need to be sexually aroused for Sildenafil to work.
- The drug will remain active in the body for up to five hours, giving you plenty of time to have sex.
- But you should go to hospital straight away if you get an erection that lasts for four hours or more.
- The maximum dose is one tablet in any 24 hour period.
- If you’re taking Sildenafil more than three times a week, there may be other drugs that are more suitable for you.
- If you feel like the dose is too strong (because you get side effects) or not strong enough (because it doesn’t work as well as you’d like it to), don’t increase or reduce it yourself. Talk to your pharmacist or prescriber.
These instructions are provided only as a guide. You should make sure follow the directions given by your prescriber.
As with any treatment for ED, Sildenafil is not suitable for everyone. Make sure you read the patient information leaflet before you use it.
Seek medical attention immediately if you get any signs of: an allergic reaction (such as hives, swelling around the face or in the throat, or a change in heartbeat); vision problems; or a priapism (an erection that lasts for four hours or longer, and won’t go down).
If you get any other milder side effects, talk to your prescriber. They may suggest trying a lower dose.
Very Common (1 in 10 people):
Uncommon (1 in 100 people):
Facial flushing; dizziness; indigestion; problems with sight, such as increased sensitivity to light, blurriness or colour-tingeing; nasal stuffiness.
Rare (1 in 1000 people):
Nausea; vomiting; bloodshot eyes; increased heart rate; muscle pain; drowsiness; urinary bleeding; penile bleeding; chest pain.
For a more comprehensive list of side effects, please read the patient information leaflet or check with your doctor. If you experience any of the above or notice anything unusual when taking this treatment, seek medical attention right away.
Taking it with other medicines
Tell your prescriber about any prescription, non-prescription or remedial treatments you’re taking or have recently taken before using Sildenafil. If you’re on other medicines, you shouldn’t stop taking them unless advised to by your doctor.
You shouldn’t take Sildenafil alongside nitrates (used in angina and heart conditions) or nitric oxide donors (for example amyl nitrate or ‘poppers’), other similar treatments for ED, or recreational drugs.
You might also be advised against taking Sildenafil or starting on a lower dose if you’re using protease inhibitors (used in HIV), riociguat, or treatments for hypertension or prostate enlargement.
Conditions to look out for
Some men with certain medical conditions may not be able to take Sildenafil, or might be advised to use a lower dose.
Notify our prescriber if you have or have ever had: heart, kidney or liver related illnesses; eye disease; a stroke; a heart attack; a condition which affects the form or tissue of the penis; a deformed penis; sickle cell anaemia; leukaemia; multiple myeloma; bleeding issues; or stomach ulcers.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
This medication should not be used by women.
Driving and using machinery
Sildenafil may cause side effects that affect your vision and coordination. If you experience these, do not drive or try to operate machines and tell your prescriber or pharmacist.
Food, drink and alcohol
If you take Sildenafil with a large meal, it may take longer to work. Alcohol can impair your capacity to get an erection so it is recommended not to drink in excessive amounts when using this treatment.
You should avoid drinking grapefruit juice when taking any ED treatment.
Do not take recreational drugs if you plan to take Sildenafil. Doing so can be very dangerous.
This treatment contains lactose. Inform your prescriber if you have an intolerance to certain sugars.
Can I still drink alcohol?
It’s not thought that alcohol interacts directly with Sildenafil. But because alcohol can be a contributory factor in erectile dysfunction, you should limit how much you drink when taking it.
Will I still be able to drive?
The treatment should not directly affect your capacity to drive. But if you experience any adverse effects which could affect your vision, you should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.
How should I store it?
Keep this product at room temperature in a dry environment. Do not remove from the respective blister packs until you intend to take them.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
As well as the active ingredient sildenafil citrate, sildenafil tablets contain microcrystalline cellulose, calcium hydrogen phosphate (anhydrous), croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, lactose, triacetin and titanium dioxide (E171).
If you are allergic to any of these elements, do not use this treatment.
Is Sildenafil available over-the-counter?
No. The majority of erectile dysfunction treatments do require a prescription to be dispensed. Recently, however, some manufacturers of Sildenafil have applied to have small quantities of the 50mg dose reclassified as a ‘pharmacy’ medicine. These types of medicines can be issued without a prescription by a qualified pharmacist. It doesn’t apply to all versions of Sildenafil though, as some manufacturers haven’t made this application. And you will still need a prescription for the 25mg and 100mg doses, or more than eight tablets for the 50mg.
A pharmacy medicine isn’t quite the same as one that’s available over the counter. For your Sildenafil order to be approved, you’ll still need to answer a few questions about your overall health, so a pharmacist can make sure it’s suitable for you.
Can I get Sildenafil online?
Yes. You can purchase Sildenafil from registered online pharmacies. Because it’s a prescription-only medicine for the most part, and in other cases a pharmacy medicine, you should expect to undergo medical screening to make sure it’s safe for you to use. When you use our service, you can do this by answering our questionnaire.
Once you’ve provided your answers, one of our clinical team or doctors and pharmacy prescribers will check to make sure it’s safe for you, and then issue a prescription. This is then sent electronically to our UK dispensing pharmacy, and your medicine is then shipped to you by secure, 24 hours tracked parcel.
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