Generic ED medication  is one of many different types of ED treatment, and offers a cheaper alternative to branded products for erectile dysfunction. It first emerged in 2013, in the form of Sildenafil, following the expiration of the patent for Viagra. 

The expiration of this patent meant that other manufacturers could start to market their own generic ED products, albeit under a different name and utilising a different appearance. In the case of Viagra, for example, its name is trademarked, and so all other generic ED treatments have to be marketed under a different name. 

The blue diamond shaped pill has also been trademarked, resulting in subsequent generic tablets having to be manufactured using a different shape (Sildenafil is typically a standard form blue or white pill).  

These conditions also apply to other branded ED medicines - Cialis and Levitra - and the generic versions of these drugs - Tadalafil and Vardenafil.

Generic ED medication has exactly the same functionality as branded forms of treatment, but in the absence of the name recognition that branded ED products have generated, cost considerably less. 


Sildenafil Generic ViagraSildenafil is a tablet sometimes known as generic Viagra, and is named after its active ingredient: sildenafil citrate. It’s a treatment which forms part of a group of medicines called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. 

The drug helps to regulate the PDE5 enzyme, which can reduce blood flow to the penis, by allowing the muscle walls to relax and causing the blood vessels to dilate, providing men with substantial erections. 

It typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes for sildenafil to become active in the body, and you can consume it up to four hours prior to having sex. You must be sexually stimulated in order for it to work. 

Due to regulations, Sildenafil consists of the same active ingredients as Viagra, and is manufactured in the same doses and quantities. 


Four years after Sildenafil’s emergence, and following the expiration of the patent on the branded ED product Cialis, Tadalifil became available as a generic tablet treatment in 2017 (hence why it’s sometimes known as generic Cialis). 

Tadalafil is available in two forms: as a daily pill or as a ‘weekend’ pill. The daily version is taken every day, and is effectively active in the body (when sexually aroused) all the time. The ‘weekend’ tablet is consumed ‘on demand’, and is active (when sexually stimulated) for up to 36 hours. 

Like Sildenafil, the treatment is a PED5 inhibitor, and so bolsters blood flow to the penis, facilitating erections for sex.


Vardenafil 20mg tabletWhen the patent on the branded medication Levitra expired in October 2018, Vardenafil became available as a generic version of the ED product. 

The tablet is usually taken 30 minutes before intercourse, and is typically effective within 25 to 60 minutes. It is active in the body for up to five hours. 

A PED5 inhibitor, Vardenafil helps constrained blood vessels at the base of the penis to expand, allowing blood sufficient for getting erections to pass through. 


Spedra is a fast-acting pill for ED treatment, becoming active within the body in as little as fifteen minutes. It utilises a PED5 inhibitor called Avanafil. There isn’t however a generic version of the drug currently available.

Page last reviewed:  29/09/2021