How Long Does Viagra Last?

What to expect when you take Viagra

Man on the tube checking how long Viagra lasts on his smartphone

Key takeaways

  • Viagra starts working about 30-60 minutes after it’s taken and lasts up around 5 hours

  • For most men Viagra starts to wear off 2-3 hours after you first take it

  • On average, erections last about 33 minutes if Viagra was taken an hour ago

  • If after taking Viagra you have an erection lasting long than 4 hours that won't go away (priapism), then try to get medical help as soon as possible

Contents of this article

How long does Viagra last?

The length of time Viagra lasts for will vary from person to person, but it can work for up to 5 hours at a time. This doesn’t mean you will have an erection for 5 hours, it means you will be able to get them easier during this time.

Most men will find, that the effects of the pill will start to wear off 2 to 3 hours after first taking it. 

There are some things that will affect how long Viagra will last for in your case. These are listed in the “What will affect how long Viagra lasts for?” section below. 

To make sure Viagra lasts as long as it’s supposed to, you should always give correct information about your current and past health, and details of any medications you are currently taking when starting a course of treatment with Viagra.

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How long will my erection last on Viagra?

One study showed that an hour after taking Viagra for erectile dysfunction, men were able to get erections that lasted 33 mins on average. This dropped to 23 mins if they’d taken it 8 hours beforehand and 16 mins if they took it 12 hours beforehand.

This is compared to men with erectile dysfunction who took a placebo (a pill without medication in) – their erections only lasted 7 mins on average.

Your erection may not last exactly 33 mins, especially if you ejaculate before this time. Erectile dysfunction and its treatment affect people differently so the best way to find out how long your erections last on Viagra is to try it and see.

How long does Viagra take to work?

The effects of Viagra will vary from person to person. As a general rule, Viagra starts working in most people around 30 minutes after it’s taken.

Remember that taking Viagra alone will not cause an erection. Viagra must be taken with some form of sexual stimulation (things that look, feel, or are in some way sexually appealing to you) in order for an erection to occur. See this page for more details on how quickly Viagra starts working.

What will affect how long Viagra lasts for?

How well Viagra works, or how long it lasts for, depends on a number of things. These can include:

  • Age. If you are over 65 years old, you may find that the medication stays in your body for longer. As you get older, Viagra leaves your body more slowly. This means that Viagra’s effects can last longer the older you are
  • Diet. Having a large, high-in-fat meal just before you take your Viagra can make it take longer to start working. This is because the fat in your digestive system causes the medication to enter your blood more slowly. By taking Viagra on an empty stomach, the effects could start sooner
  • Alcohol. Drinking alcohol decreases the blood flow to your penis, making it harder to get and keep an erection. A glass of wine or a single beer is usually fine, but could still have some effect. More than 2 units of alcohol will increase the risk of negative side effects from taking Viagra and will make it more difficult to maintain an erection
  • Dosage. Viagra comes in dosages of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. Higher dosages may last longer, but also come with a bigger risk of side effects. A doctor’s assessment will help you find the right dosages for you
  • General health. If you have liver or kidney problems, Viagra’s effects could last for longer, although it might not be safe to take Viagra with these conditions. The reason it lasts longer is because the tablet will take longer to be broken down by your body, this means there is a bigger risk of having more serious side effects. You must always mention these conditions during a doctor assessment for Viagra treatment
  • Drug interactions. Some medications can change how long the effects of Viagra last. This includes medications like the antibiotic ‘rifampicin’ (used to treat tuberculosis). When you’re getting assessed for treatment with Viagra, always give as much information as you can about your medications so the doctor can make sure it’s safe for you, this includes any treatments that were not prescribed by a doctor

How long does Viagra stay in your system for?

If Viagra is broken down normally by the body the effects usually do not last more than 4 hours.

Although the effects usually don’t last longer than 5 hours, you still should not take any extra Viagra until 24 hours after your most recent dose. This is because the level of Viagra in your body is still high enough that if you took another dose on top of it, your risk of getting serious side effects becomes too high.

Always follow a doctor’s advice on taking medications to avoid negative side effects and do not take more than you’re supposed to.

Can Viagra have any long-lasting effects?

Viagra can be used long-term without having a negative effect on your health. However, you should still get regular doctor assessments for your Viagra treatment in case your health situation changes and it’s no longer safe for you. This involves answering questions about your erectile dysfunction, other medications, and general health which a doctor can then review.

You can get an assessment from your GP or an online doctor service like Zava. You should also get regular checks for the health conditions that sometimes cause erectile dysfunction, like high blood pressure.

In very rare cases, a condition called ‘priapism’ can occur. Priapism is the name for a painful erection lasting for longer than 4 hours. This is usually when Viagra has been taken in combination with other medications or illegal drugs (like nitrates/poppers), but it’s possible even when Viagra’s taken on its own.

Priapism is a serious medical condition that can be painful and lead to long-lasting damage to your penis. If you have an erection that is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours, you should seek immediate medical help.

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