9 Things To Know About Generic Viagra

Tori Marsh
Tori Marsh, MPH, is on the Research Team at GoodRx, and is the resident expert on drug pricing and savings.
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Back in 2017, popular erectile dysfunction medication Viagra went generic — reducing the cost for one pill to as little as $17 at some pharmacies.

Viagra and the generic sildenafil, are two of the most popular drugs on the market today. Their popularity has led to thousands of bad jokes and hundreds of cheesy commercials, but how much do you actually know about the infamous erectile dysfunction pill?

Here are nine things you should know to get better acquainted with Viagra, and its generic sildenafil.

1) There are multiple manufacturers.

Initially, generic sildenafil was only being manufactured by two companies – Pfizer and Teva. However, since the generic launch back in December 2017, more manufacturers (like Aurobindo, and Cambia) have come to the table, continuing to drive prices down.

2) It comes in multiple dosages.

Just like brand name Viagra, generic sildenafil is sold in tablets of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg.

3) Prices keep going down.

Yes, you read that right. In December 2017, Pfizer and Teva priced generic sildenafil at 50% off the current brand price – around $30 per tablet. Now, prices per tablet average around $17, and they continue to drop. Stay tuned!

4) Sildenafil is n0 different from brand-name Viagra.

We consistently see patients voice concern about the efficacy of generic drugs. But keep in mind the rigorous process that drugs must go through before they hit the market. These processes ensure that generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts, so there are very few differences between them. You can read more from the FDA about this here.

The biggest difference is the color. The ‘little blue pill’ will now be the ‘little white pill.’

5) A different version of sildenafil already exists.

Don’t let this confuse you. Sildenafil is the generic for two common drugs on the market right now, Revatio and Viagra, but these drugs are approved by the FDA for two different uses. Revatio is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, while Viagra treats erectile dysfunction in men.

How can you distinguish between the two? Revatio-equivalent sildenafil is only sold as a 20 mg tablet, while Viagra’s generic sildenafil is sold in 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg tablets. For more on this, see our previous blog here.

6) It is the most counterfeited drug in the world.

The problem of counterfeit Viagra is so widespread that Pfizer has even created their own security force to help cut down on the number of unregulated drugs on the market. This team, called Pfizer Global Security, works with law enforcement, pharmacies and wholesalers to monitor distribution and improve surveillance on counterfeit Viagra.

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Why is this so important? One study done by the Pfizer Global Security team found that nearly 80% of online sites that claimed to sell Viagra were actually selling a counterfeit. The team has even found dangerous additives like blue printer ink, amphetamines (or speed), rat poison, road paint, and floor wax hidden in counterfeit Viagra—things you definitely don’t want to put in your body.

For more information on spotting fake Viagra, see Pfizer’s video on how to buy safely here.

7) It does have side effects.

While you might have only heard of the good effects of Viagra, be aware that it does have some negative side effects. According to our friends at Iodine, people typically report side effects like headache, flushing, low blood pressure, abnormal vision, indigestion, and an erection lasting longer than five hours. Be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of these side-effects for a prolonged period of time.

8) It is available without a prescription in the UK.

The UK just became the first country where patients can buy Viagra over the counter, without a prescription. It is sold under the name Viagra Connect, and is available as a 50 mg tablet for around $25 US dollars for four tablets.

This decision by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (the UK’s version of the FDA) is aimed at reducing the amount of black market, unregulated Viagra tablets sold.

9) It treats more than erectile dysfunction.

In fact, it was first intended to treat chest pain and angina. However, patients prescribed sildenafil for chest pain reported an interesting side effect, an increased amount of erections, and it was soon after approved to treat erectile dysfunction.

Since then, sildenafil’s indications have expanded to include high blood pressure and pulmonary arterial hypertension in addition to erectile dysfunction.

 

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