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Generic Viagra, or sildenafil, is a standard treatment for erectile dysfunction. Viagra is the brand name for sildenafil, but there is no difference between the generic and branded versions. Both require a prescription to order.

This article discusses generic Viagra, including how it works, how to use it, and where to get it. It also considers the risks of this medication, including its side effects and the high prevalence of counterfeit versions.

Sildenafil citrate, or simply sildenafil, is the active ingredient in the branded drug Viagra. Sildenafil is called generic Viagra when people take it in a dosage of 25, 50, or 100 milligrams (mg) a day.

Sildenafil is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor — the standard treatment for erectile dysfunction. Other PDE5 inhibitors in the market include avanafil (Stendra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra).

Learn more about alternatives to Viagra here.

Pfizer received its original patent for Viagra in 1998, and this expired in 2020. However, Pfizer allowed Teva Pharmaceuticals to sell generic Viagra in 2013, before the patent expiration. Pfizer also released its own generic Viagra under the subsidiary Greenstone in 2017.

Once the patent had expired, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted other drug companies, including Aurobindo, Mylan, Reyoung, Cambia, and Lupin, to market generic Viagra.

People know generic Viagra as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, at a lower dosage, sildenafil can also treat pulmonary hypertension. When doctors use it for this indication, they will typically refer to it as Revatio, if they use the branded version, or generic Revatio.

Aside from these standard uses, doctors may prescribe sildenafil off-label for conditions such as Raynaud’s disease and altitude sickness.

Studies from 2005 and 2006 support the effectiveness of sildenafil in treating Raynaud’s phenomenon, but there is conflicting evidence on its efficacy in treating altitude sickness.

A 2009 review found that it is also effective in treating female sexual arousal disorder resulting from the use of antidepressants, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.

While experts believe Viagra to be safe for people with heart conditions, the authors of a 2017 study advise against its use in people with valvular heart disease.

During sexual arousal or stimulation, the blood flow to the penis increases, causing it to expand, straighten, and harden.

An erection gradually goes away as an enzyme called PDE5 breaks down cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which is responsible for the smooth muscle relaxation that leads to increased blood flow.

Sildenafil treats erectile dysfunction by relaxing the muscles and increasing the blood flow to the penis while blocking PDE5 from breaking down cGMP. The higher cGMP levels improve a person’s ability to get and maintain an erection.

As with Viagra, doctors prescribe generic Viagra in dosages of 25, 50, or 100 mg a day. The prescribed dosage will vary depending on the person’s response to treatment and their physical condition.

As its effect is fast and short acting, it is best to take generic Viagra an hour before sexual intercourse. However, a person can take it between 30 minutes and 4 hours ahead of having sex.

On average, it takes an hour for the drug to reach peak blood levels. A person may take generic Viagra with or without food. People who want to eat should opt for a light meal, as eating a heavy meal that is high in fat may delay the drug’s action.

People who are living with health conditions or taking certain medications should consult their doctor first. For example, those taking nitrates, which are medications for chest pain, should not take sildenafil as this may cause their blood pressure to fall.

A person can take generic Viagra as needed but not more than once in 24 hours. The drug does not cause an erection without arousal or sexual stimulation.

It is important not to take the pill with grapefruit, as this fruit reduces the absorption and breakdown of the drug in the small intestine. This can lead a person to have toxic levels of medicine in their blood.

Taking generic Viagra may cause side effects, including:

As sildenafil is a prescription drug in the United States, people who wish to buy generic Viagra need a valid doctor’s prescription.

Individuals who want to get their prescriptions discreetly can have an online consultation, also known as telemedicine, with a licensed physician and get a home delivery of the drug.

Numerous health clinics sell FDA-approved genuine and generic Viagra through U.S.-based licensed pharmacies. Some places where people can get a prescription for and order generic Viagra online include:

Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs worldwide, with many people exploiting online platforms to sell counterfeit Viagra.

To date, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has had numerous reports of seized counterfeit Viagra pills. The FDA also reports that one-third of the sexual enhancement supplements available online contain undisclosed ingredients.

People should refill their prescriptions from licensed pharmacies in the U.S. All online U.S. pharmacies should have a listed U.S. address and contact number.

People who consider buying online should ensure that the retailer requires a valid prescription and that the retailer’s website has a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) seal.

They can also check whether the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has accredited them as a digital pharmacy.

A person who suspects that they have erectile dysfunction may wish to try a treatment, such as generic Viagra. As these are prescription drugs, a person will need to consult a doctor.

The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:

  • not always getting an erection when there is a desire to have sex
  • erection not lasting long enough for sex
  • inability to get an erection at all

Although mild side effects, such as headaches, are not uncommon, anyone experiencing the severe side effects below should immediately contact a doctor:

Generic Viagra, or sildenafil, is the same drug as the branded Viagra. People should take care when purchasing and taking these prescription drugs because misusing them can be dangerous to a person’s health.

Many online pharmacies and health services allow people to obtain a prescription and order generic Viagra. People should look for licensed companies with U.S. addresses and be wary of fake Viagra retailers.

A doctor or telemedicine service can provide prescriptions, recommendations, and guidance on taking generic Viagra. They can also recommend some alternative options.