How Long Does Viagra® (Sildenafil) Stay in Your System?

Different ED meds can last anywhere from hours to days. Find out how long sildenafil lasts and see if it's shorter or longer than other ED medications.

The Promescent Team
Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 12/11/2023
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When you speak to a doctor about erectile dysfunction (ED), one of the top-recommended first treatments is sildenafil.

As effective as sildenafil can be at helping people with ED achieve erections, knowing how to time your dose is an important matter.

Quick FAQs

Sildenafil lasts for about four hours, with some studies showing the medication having some effect for as long as 10 hours.

On average, sildenafil takes 27 minutes to work. The time may vary based on age, dosage, and health status.

Vardenafil can last up to eight hours, and tadalafil can last up to 36 hours.

Taking it too early may mean missing the effects when it’s needed. But how long does sildenafil take to kick in?

How long does sildenafil last to maintain an erection? Take a look at the answers to these questions and more below.

How Long Does Sildenafil Last?

The generally stated duration of action after taking sildenafil is at least four hours. Some studies have shown efficacy to some degree for as long as 10 hours or more.

It is important to understand that the medication will not cause you to have an erection the entire time it’s in your system. 

Instead, an erection occurs when sexual stimulation occurs and may subside once ejaculation is reached.

Several factors can influence how long sildenafil lasts, such as:

  • Dosage taken
  • Age
  • General health status
  • Duration of sexual stimulation

Sildenafil has a relatively long half-life in the body of around four hours. 

Half-life in pharmaceuticals is a phrase used to describe what time it takes for the amount of a substance in the body to fall to half after consumption.

It’s usually a good indicator of how long the effects of a drug can primarily last including sildenafil.

However, it may take up to a full 24 hours for all the sildenafil citrate to leave the system. Therefore, some effects on erectile function may be noticeable for 24 hours, even if the effects are mild.

Who Should Take Sildenafil?

Sildenafil is prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men.

The medication works for ED by increasing blood flow to the penis, which normally causes an erection.

Pro Tip: VitaFLUX Nitric Oxide Booster can help relax your blood vessels and allow more blood flow through increased nitric oxide production.

Men who have a difficult time achieving an erection that is strong enough for satisfactory sexual activity may benefit from taking sildenafil.

While sildenafil is designed to support men with ED, it does not change or enhance sexual desire. The medication is most often preserved for individuals who have a desire for sex but an inability to achieve an erection.

Sildenafil is not currently approved for the treatment of premature ejaculation (PE). But some studies have shown the medication may also be beneficial for men with PE. 

Because of that, doctors may prescribe sildenafil for men who struggle with ejaculating too quickly during sex.

Who Should Not Take Sildenafil?

While sildenafil can be effective for ED, it is not a suitable option for all individuals. Sildenafil may not be recommended if the individual:

  • Is allergic to sildenafil or other ingredients in the medication
  • Has recently taken nitrates or other medications for chest pain
  • Is taking St. John's wort
  • Has serious liver or heart problems
    • Has a stomach ulcer
    • Is prone to low blood pressure
    • Has recently had a heart attack or stroke
    • Has a penile deformity, such as Peyronie's disease

    Sildenafil Ingredients

    The active ingredient in sildenafil is sildenafil citrate, which is classified as a phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor.

    Depending on the prescription, the amount of sildenafil citrate in sildenafil tablets can vary. The medication is available in 25, 50, and 100 mg tablets.

    Other inactive ingredients in sildenafil include:

    • Microcrystalline cellulose
    • Croscarmellose sodium
    • Magnesium stearate
    • Anhydrous dibasic calcium phosphate
    • Hypromellose
    • Titanium dioxide
    • Lactose monohydrate
    • Triacetin

    While sildenafil is considered the generic version of the name-brand Viagra, both medications have the same active ingredient and almost identical inactive ingredients.

    How Long Does Sildenafil Take to Work

    How long sildenafil takes to kick in can vary. Extensive research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that the median time for onset of effects after taking sildenafil was 27 minutes. 

    The researchers considered an erection when the penis was at 60 percent rigidity.

    The actual range of onset times in this study was between 12 and 70 minutes. A closer breakdown of onset outcomes offers even more insight:

    • 71 percent experienced an erection within 30 minutes
    • 12 percent had responded with erections by 45 minutes
    • 18 percent did not achieve an erection within 70 minutes

    Onset times may be affected by factors like age, health status, and dosage. Further, taking the medication after eating may have the potential to lengthen the time it takes for the effects to occur.

    Do Other ED Treatments Last Longer?

    Typically, drugs for ED can be broken down into two categories: those that have shorter-term effects or longer-term effects.

    Sildenafil is in the shorter-term category, along with avanafil (Spedra) and vardenafil (Levitra). Avanafil has a similar duration of effects as sildenafil, but vardenafil may last for up to eight hours.

    Tadalafil (Cialis) has longer-term effects, lasting for up to 36 hours.

    Takeaways on Sildenafil's Duration of Effects

    Sildenafil can take effect relatively quickly for most men with ED (around 30 minutes). The duration of effects can be roughly four hours or more.

    Other medications for ED like tadalafil may offer longer-lasting effects if you are not certain about when sex will occur.

    If you are looking for a more natural route for long-term erectile function support, VitaFLUX for men can be a suitable alternative.

    The Promescent Team

    The Promescent Team

    Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.

    Sources:

    Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

    • "Who can and cannot take sildenafil - NHS." Nhs.uk, 2022, www.nhs.uk/medicines/sildenafil-viagra/who-can-and-cannot-take-sildenafil/. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • Zinner N. Do food and dose timing affect the efficacy of sildenafil? A randomized placebo-controlled study. J Sex Med. 2007 Jan;4(1):137-144. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00400.x. PMID: 17233779. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • "Choosing the Right Pill to Treat ED - Boston University School of Medicine." Bumc.bu.edu, 2003, www.bumc.bu.edu/sexualmedicine/informationsessions/choosing-the-right-pill-to-treat-ed/. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • Hallare J, Gerriets V. Half Life. [Updated 2022 Jun 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554498/. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • Sildenafil - MedlinePlus." Medlineplus.gov, 2018, www.medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699015.html. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • Wang WF, Wang Y, Minhas S, Ralph DJ. Can sildenafil treat primary premature ejaculation? A prospective clinical study. Int J Urol. 2007 Apr;14(4):331-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2042.2007.01606.x. PMID: 17470165. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • "Sildenafil Tablet - Dailymed. Dailymed.nlm.nih.gov, 2020, www.dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=56a962e8-de00-4a97-8904-0b1bd217dd83. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • "Viagra - FDA." Accessdata.fda.gov, 2010, www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/020895s036lbl.pdf. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • Eardley I, Ellis P, Boolell M, Wulff M. Onset and duration of action of sildenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002;53 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):61S-65S. doi: 10.1046/j.0306-5251.2001.00034.x. PMID: 11879261; PMCID: PMC1874251. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • Katz EG, Tan RB, Rittenberg D, Hellstrom WJ. Avanafil for erectile dysfunction in elderly and younger adults: differential pharmacology and clinical utility. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2014 Aug 27;10:701-11. doi: 10.2147/TCRM.S57610. PMID: 25210457; PMCID: PMC4155803. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • "Vardenafil Duration of Action - European Urology." Europeanurology.com, 2006, www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(06)00881-5/fulltext. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    • "Tadalafil (Cialis) for Erectile Dysfunction - American Family Physician." Aafp.org, 2004, www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2004/0715/p359.html. Accessed on Mar, 8, 2023.
    The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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