Viagra vs. Sildenafil: What's The Difference?

Viagra is easily the most well-known medication for erectile dysfunction (ED), with the longest history of any FDA-approved ED treatment on the market today.

If you’ve searched for information about ED medications before, you’ve no doubt seen Viagra mentioned alongside sildenafil. While these two medications might have different names, they are actually the same active ingredient.

The difference is that Viagra is a brand name medication invented and marketed by Pfizer, while sildenafil (or sildenafil citrate) is the active ingredient in Viagra that’s responsible for its positive effects on treating erectile dysfunction.

As a result, assuming both drugs are produced to the same standards, you can expect identical results from a 25-100mg dose of Viagra (the standard dose used for erectile dysfunction) to an identical dose of generic sildenafil.

Sildenafil is also sold as Revatio -- an identical drug to Viagra and generic sildenafil that’s dosed slightly lower and intended to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Viagra vs. Generic Sildenafil

Sildenafil has been available since 1998, when it was approved by the FDA under the product name Viagra as a medication for erectile dysfunction.

Interestingly, sildenafil was originally intended as a treatment for cardiovascular diseases such as pulmonary arterial hypertension, or increased blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. In some cases, sildenafil is still used today for this purposes.

Pfizer patented sildenafil in 1996 and gained FDA approval to sell the medication in 1998. The patent for Viagra expired in 2012 for countries outside the United States, allowing for the sale of generic sildenafil.

Although Pfizer challenged the expired patent in the United States, sildenafil has since become available as a generic medication and can be manufactured and sold by a variety of companies.

Most generic sildenafil products are labeled as “sildenafil,” although some manufacturers use a different brand name.

Today, sildenafil is available in a variety of forms. It’s most commonly sold in tablet form, with a typical dosage of 20, 25, 50 or 100mg. It’s also available as a cream, capsule and liquid.

Is There Any Difference Between Viagra and Sildenafil?

No. Viagra is the brand name used by Pfizer to market its particular version of sildenafil citrate. There is no chemical difference between the sildenafil used in Pfizer’s branded Viagra tablets and the generic sildenafil available from other manufacturers.

As a general rule, assuming the dose is the same, you will get the same ED treatment effects from a generic form of sildenafil as you will from a Viagra tablet.

It’s worth noting that Viagra comes in several different strengths, with 25mg, 50mg and 100mg tablets available. If you’re switching from Pfizer Viagra to a generic form of sildenafil, check that you’re purchasing tablets with the same dosage as prescribed by your doctor.

With this said, there’s one significant difference between Viagra and generic sildenafil. While a single tablet of Viagra can cost as much as $70 in the United States, generic sildenafil tablets are available for as little as $3 per pill when purchased online.

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.