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How long does Viagra take to work?

How long does Viagra take to work?

Viagra is the most famous treatment for erectile dysfunction and used by millions of men worldwide. But how long does Viagra take to work? And, equally importantly, what factors can impact on this?

How long until Viagra takes effect?

You'll get the best results from the treatment if you use it correctly. Generally Viagra requires 30-60 minutes to take effect, therefore take Viagra at least one hour before you intend to have sex. However the length of time Viagra takes to work can be affected by food, alcohol and sexual stimulation.

Food

Eating any meal before you take Viagra will cause the medicine to take effect more slowly. Fatty meals can make it harder for Viagra to enter the bloodstream. Ideally you should take Viagra on an empty stomach. This doesn’t mean starving yourself. Just leave two hours after eating before taking Viagra. 

Alcohol

Drinking more than one or two units of alcohol will make Viagra less effective. Excessive alcohol can compromise erections regardless of erectile dysfunction.

Sexual stimulation

Viagra requires arousal and sexual stimulation to take effect. It won’t give you an erection on its own.

How long does Viagra last?

Generally, Viagra lasts around four hours. Therefore, don’t take Viagra in the morning if you expect to have sex that coming evening - as by then the effects will have worn off.

How does Viagra work?

Viagra relaxes the muscle cells in the blood vessels supplying the penis, allowing an increased blood flow. Erections occur when blood flows into the penis. Therefore, this increased blood flow increases the chance of achieving an erection.

How effective is Viagra?

Viagra has been shown to be effective in between 62% and 82% effective, depending on the dosage. Viagra’s effectiveness is decreased if you take it after a heavy meal or consuming large amounts of alcohol. Without sexual stimulation Viagra won’t produce any results. The underlying cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction also impacts on how successfully you respond to Viagra. Don’t worry if you do not experience effective results the first time you take Viagra. This is not uncommon. Doctors recommend trying Viagra up to eight times before moving to a higher dosage or exploring an alternative treatment.

What alternatives are there to Viagra?

Some men don’t respond successfully to Viagra but there are many alternative treatments for erectile dysfunction. Other ED medications include:

  • Levitra: Similar to Viagra in length of effect but can be taken with meals.
  • Cialis: The most expensive treatment but also the longest lasting. Cialis remains active in the body for up to 36 hours.
  • Sildenafil: Sildenafil is the active ingredient of Viagra. It is essentially the same medicine without the Viagra brand name and therefore significantly cheaper.

For more information on all of these products visit our erectile dysfunction page

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References 

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/product-information/viagra-epar-product-information_en.pdf

Authors and editors

Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 22-09-2022