Revatio vs. Viagra: What's the Difference?

The world of pharmaceuticals is full of similar substances marketed under very different brand names. Two that commonly cause confusion are Viagra and Revatio. 

Viagra and Revatio both contain the same active ingredient: Sildenafil. They’re both sold by the same company: Pfizer. The biggest differences between these two medications are the dosage in which they’re sold and the purpose for which each drug is marketed. 

Below, we’ve listed how Viagra and Revatio differ, both from a marketing perspective and from a functional perspective. We’ve also provided more information on which drug is most suitable for treating erectile dysfunction.

Viagra

Viagra is the original brand name for sildenafil, a PDE5 inhibitor that helps to improve blood flow to the penis and other soft muscle tissue in the body.

Pfizer developed sildenafil in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Originally, sildenafil was intended to treat hypertension and angina. During early tests, the researchers discovered that sildenafil was significantly more effective as a treatment for erectile dysfunction than for hypertension. 

Sildenafil went through clinical trials in the early 1990s and in 1996 received a patent. Pfizer used the brand name Viagra to market sildenafil as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, putting the medicine on the market in 1998 to patients in the United States.

Viagra is marketed specifically as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. While it does have some benefits for hypertension and angina, this isn’t the drug’s primary purpose and Pfizer does not market Viagra as a treatment for either of these conditions.

There are three dosages of Viagra available, all of which contain sildenafil: 25mg, 50mg and a maximum 100mg dose. Most doctors prescribe the 50mg version of Viagra for treating erectile dysfunction, although the 100mg dose is also prescribed for some patients. 

After you take Viagra, it lasts for about three to five hours in the body. The sildenafil in Viagra takes between 30 minutes and one hour to start working, meaning you’ll normally get the best results if you take it one hour before you plan to have sex. 

Our guide to how long Viagra (sildenafil) and other ED medications last goes into more detail on what you can expect after using Viagra, as well as how it stacks up compared to other common medications used to treat erectile dysfunction. 

Viagra is a prescription medication, meaning you’ll need to speak to a doctor before you can use it to treat erectile dysfunction. The active ingredient in Viagra is sold as generic sildenafil, which provides the same benefits as the branded medication produced by Pfizer.

Like all prescription medications, Viagra has the potential to cause a range of side effects. Most of these are minor. Our guide to Viagra’s side effects explains these in more detail, with data on how frequently side effects occur and what you can do to deal with them.

Revatio

Revatio is a second brand name for sildenafil. Unlike Viagra, which is marketed as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, Revatio is marketed as a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a form of high blood pressure that affects the arteries of the lungs.

Both Revatio and Viagra are brand names owned by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that originally designed, tested and marketed sildenafil. While Viagra entered the market in the late 1990s, Revatio was approved by the FDA in June 2005 as a treatment for PAH.

Revatio contains a lower dose of sildenafil than Viagra. Each Revatio tablet contains 20mg of sildenafil — approximately one fifth of the amount in strongest Viagra tablet. 

The sildenafil in Viagra and Revatio is exactly the same. Aside from the brand name and total amount of sildenafil included in each tablet, Viagra and Revatio are essentially the same drug with the exact same effects and side effects on the body. 

This means that Revatio can provide relief from erectile dysfunction. Although the amount of sildenafil per tablet is lower than Viagra, many men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction find that’s effectively treated by the 20mg of sildenafil in Revatio. 

Viagra or Revatio: Which is Best? 

Because Viagra and Revatio both contain sildenafil, the two medications have the same effects on your body. 

From a purely functional standpoint, both medications can be used to treat erectile dysfunction, as they both contain the same active ingredient. In fact, many generic sildenafil tablets contain the same 20mg dosage as one Revatio tablet.

If you have severe erectile dysfunction, the higher dosage offered by 50mg and 100mg tablets of Viagra might be more effective at treating your symptoms than the slightly lower 20mg dose that’s provided by Revatio.

It’s worth noting that the higher dosage of sildenafil used in the 50mg and 100mg Viagra tablets could result in more obvious, severe side effects compared to the mild dose of sildenafil used in Revatio. 

As always, the best option is to consult your doctor. When they’re prescribing you sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, they’ll provide a specific dose and recommend the medication that’s best suited to your symptoms and needs. 

Learn More About Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Worried about erectile dysfunction? You’re not alone. As much as 40 percent of men experience some degree of erectile dysfunction by the age of 40, making is one of the most common male sexual performance issues.

Our guide to what causes erectile dysfunction and what you can do about it explains how and why ED happens, as well as the most effective treatments for avoiding erectile dysfunction and improving your sexual performance. 

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.