What's the difference between Viagra and Sildenafil?

Viagra is probably the most well-known medication for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). The blue diamond-shaped tablet quickly reached fame around the globe and was even brand marked ‘The Potency Pill’ on Time Magazine less than two months after it was introduced to the market in 1998.

You have probably heard of Viagra before, but you may have never heard of Sildenafil. What most people don’t know about Sildenafil and Viagra is that even though they have different names, they are actually identical. They share exactly the same active ingredient which is responsible for treating ED.

Viagra is the brand name behind the medication which was developed and marketed by Pfizer. Sildenafil (or sildenafil citrate) is the active ingredient in Viagra. The UK medical regulator (MHRA) actually requires both Viagra and generic Sildenafil to be bioequivalent and hence the results you would expect from both are identical.

History of Viagra (and Sildenafil)

In the UK, Viagra (with active ingredient Sildenafil) has been available since 1998, when it was approved by the MHRA as a prescription medication for the treatment of ED.

The discovery of Sildenafil was actually an accident as it was initially intended as a treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (chest pain due to heart disease). During the clinical trials, researchers discovered that the drug was more effective at inducing erections than treating angina.

In 1996 Pfizer patented Sildenafil and in 1998 it gained regulatory approval to sell the medication. In the UK the patent for Viagra expired in 2013, allowing the sale of generic Sildenafil medication.

Sildenafil is most commonly sold in tablets, but is also available as capsules or liquid. Typical dosage is 25, 50 or 100mg.

What is the Difference Between Viagra and Sildenafil?
There is almost no difference between Viagra and Generic Sildenafil. The only difference is in the price. Viagra can cost as much as £9 per tablet in the UK, while generic Sildenafil tablets are available for as little as £3 per tablet when purchased online. Other than that, Viagra and Generic Sildenafil are medically identical.

Does Viagra Work Better Than Generic Sildenafil?
The short answer is no. Viagra and Generic Sildenafil contain exactly the same active ingredient, in exactly the same quantities (i.e. 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg Sildenafil citrate). As such, they work the same. This means that Viagra (despite being more expensive), does not work better, faster, or longer than Generic Sildenafil.

Is Generic Sildenafil the Same Quality as Viagra?
Sildenafil, like all medicines sold in the UK (including Viagra), has been reviewed and authorised by the MHRA, which ensures that medicines meet applicable standards of safety, quality and efficacy. Additionally, Sildenafil manufacturers must adhere to the EU Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and guidelines. The European Medicines Agency regularly inspects manufacturing facilities to ensure compliance with these standards. In other words, Sildenafil sold in the UK (and the rest of Europe) meets exactly the same standards as Viagra.