Using Generic Viagra For Erectile Dysfunction

Whether generic or branded is a better choice

Pack of generic Viagra sildenafil 50mg tablets

Key takeaways

  • Generic Viagra is unbranded medication that has the same active ingredient as Viagra

  • Generic Viagra works the same as normal Viagra and has the same dosages and side effects

  • Generic Viagra is just as safe as normal Viagra, as long as a doctor has assessed you for it

  • Generic Viagra is not 'better' from a medical point of view, but it does have some advantages over branded Viagra

  • The fact that generic Viagra is cheaper is linked to brand power and not medical quality

Contents of this article

Generic Viagra is a different form of branded Viagra, but what does that mean if you're looking for erectile dysfunction treatment? If you want to make sure you're getting the best value and quality treatment then it helps to understand the difference between branded and generic medications.

If the name is different, how does it affect the effectiveness, price, safety, and so on? Once you've got these answers you can make a better decision about which to go for.

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What is generic Viagra?

Generic Viagra is more commonly known as Sildenafil – sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in medication used to treat symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED) and is found in both the generic Sildenafil and the branded form, Viagra. Branded Viagra is produced by the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer. 

Viagra was manufactured before the generic – Pfizer were the first manufacturer of sildenafil citrate medication and produced a patent for it in 1996. However, in 2003 the patent held by Viagra expired which allowed other manufacturers to produce their own generic versions of Viagra. The branded version of Viagra can still be bought, but the brand name is only allowed to be used by Pfizer.

Viagra wasn’t originally intended to be an ED medication – instead, it was first being tested as a heart drug to treat high blood pressure and angina, but the clinical trial found that some men were able to get an erection easier. As a result, Viagra became available as an ED treatment in 1998.

How does generic Viagra work?

It works the same as branded Viagra – both the generic and branded forms of Viagra work in the same way and produce the same outcomes. They both work by increasing the blood flow to the penis which make to getting and maintaining an erection easier.

How well do they work? – in men who have ED, both forms of Viagra have been shown to generate successful results in approximately 2/3 of men who take them. They usually take around 30-60 minutes to work, but they last up to four hours so you can take them earlier. However, it is important to remember that they will only work if you are sexually stimulated.

There is a risk of side effects for both – Viagra and Sildenafil are both deemed safe for treating erectile dysfunction, but they can cause side effects. The most common side effects are:

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Flushing
  • Muscle pain
  • Abnormal vision
  • Runny or blocked nose

Available dosages are the same for generic and branded – there are three dosages of generic and branded Viagra available; 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg. Generally, the starting dose is 50mg. However, some men find that this dose doesn’t give them the required results, so they may increase to 100mg on advice from a doctor. 25mg is available for men who have tried 50mg but had side effects and want to minimise them.

Is branded Viagra better than generic?

Not medically, no – there is no medical difference between the generic and branded Viagra . The main differences are the name, the manufacturer, and how they are sold. Both medications still work in the same way and can cause the same side effects.

This how the non-medical differences compare:

Generic Viagra:

  • Cheap
  • Available in most of the same places branded Viagra is available
  • Not available over the counter
  • Not available in our trial pack
  • Easier to get on the NHS

Branded Viagra:

  • Costs more than the generic version
  • Available from your GP, pharmacy, online pharmacy – need a prescription
  • Over the counter version, Viagra Connect, available over the counter
  • Included in our trial pack 
  • Often will need a private prescription

The only physical difference you will notice is the packaging – the generic product will likely have a different look to the branded version from Pfizer, and will also be priced more cheaply than branded Viagra.

Are generic medications safe?

Generic medications are as safe as branded ones – there is no scientific evidence to suggest that generic medications are less effective or safe than their branded counterparts. Some people might mistakenly believe that a generic medicine is just a cheap herbal alternative or knock-off, but this is not the case. Sildenafil, generic Viagra, and Viagra are all the same medication which contain the same active ingredient and have the same treatment guidelines and regulations. 

A doctor can check safety for you – your doctor will assess your suitability for Sildenafil before they prescribe it to you. If they don’t believe you are a suitable candidate for the generic, they will not prescribe you the generic or the branded version. You may not be suitable for generic Viagra if:

  • You have kidney or liver problems
  • You have ever had a heart problem 
  • You have recently had a heart attack or stroke
  • You are allergic to any medication including sildenafil
  • You suffer from high or low blood pressure
  • You have retinitis pigmentosa
  • You have a stomach ulcer
  • You have a penis deformity

You also can’t take sildenafil if you already take medication which contains nitrates. These are usually prescribed to people who have heart conditions such as angina.

Why is the generic cheaper?

It’s nothing to do with how well it works – the generic version is cheaper, but not because it is less effective or poorer quality. In fact, the active ingredient in both the generic and branded versions are identical and so there is no difference in quality. The reason the generic is cheaper is that it is not linked to a specific manufacturer who owns the brand. 

This is true of many other medications – for example, you can buy generic ibuprofen (like a supermarket own brand) or you can buy a branded version which costs more. They both contain ibuprofen, but due to marketing and brand power, the branded version is more expensive. However, some people prefer to buy the branded version because they feel more confident in the brand name rather than the unbranded generic. The truth is they are exactly the same regardless of the price and name.

Why does the branded cost more then? – Pfizer is able to command more money for their branded Viagra medication because they invented the product and developed a brand over a long period of time. They also introduced the treatment to the world of healthcare

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