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Dr Clare Morrison

Article by Dr Clare Morrison

How Long Does Viagra Last?


Viagra is the most popular treatment for adult men with erectile dysfunction. This is when a man cannot get, or keep a hard, erect penis suitable for sexual activity. Viagra is one of a class of drugs known as PDE-5 (Phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors. Viagra and the other PDE-5 inhibitors can help men with erectile dysfunction (male impotence) by enhancing the erectile response when a man is sexually stimulated.

How long does Viagra last?

Viagra normally lasts between two and three hours – but the drug can last up to five hours or longer depending on the dosage, your metabolism, along with other external factors such as age, diet, and overall health. It’s best to take Viagra on an empty stomach, as if you have it with food, it could take longer to work.

How fast does Viagra work?

Viagra should be taken an hour before sexual activity. Viagra doesn’t work on its own – you need to feel sexually aroused to get an erection.

Factors that affect how long Viagra lasts

  • Dosage – The amount of Viagra you take affects how long it lasts. The smallest dose (25 mg) won’t last as long as the largest dose (100 mg). It’s important to consult your doctor before taking a higher dose as it may not be safe for you.
  • Age – The older you get, the more your metabolism slows down. This means that Viagra could last longer as you get older.
  • Medications – Some medications can interact with Viagra and affect how long it lasts. It’s best to check with your doctor if you’re thinking about taking Viagra.
  • Food – It’s best not to eat too much before taking Viagra. This is because eating a heavy meal before taking the drug can keep it from being broken down.
  • General Health – Conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions like atherosclerosis can make Viagra less effective.
  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol decreases the blood flow to the penis. Excessive alcohol can affect erections whether you have erectile dysfunction or not.
  • Psychological health – If you are feeling stressed or anxious, Viagra may not work for you.

How often should Viagra be taken?

It’s important to remember that Viagra should be taken just once every 24 hours. This means simply one pill, no matter the dosage. It’s also key to never take Viagra along with other erectile dysfunction drugs.

What Viagra dosage should I take?

Viagra comes in three doses: 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg. The recommended starting dose is one 50 mg tablet. 100 mg is the maximum dosage, but it’s important to be healthy with no health conditions if you are looking to start on such a high dose.

How long does Viagra stay in your system?

Usually, the effects of Viagra don’t last longer than four hours. It’s key you follow the instructions given to you by your doctor in order to avoid negative side effects.

What are the best alternatives to Viagra?

There is a range of alternative treatments for erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Cialis: Known as the ’36 Hour Pill’, Cialis contains the active ingredient Tadalafil and offers a long-lasting solution to erectile dysfunction.
  • Sildenafil: Sildenafil is essentially the same medicine as Viagra without the Viagra brand name and is a lot cheaper.
  • Spedra: Spedra is the fastest acting ED medication and should be taken about 15 minutes before having sex.

For more alternatives, visit our treatment page or contact one of our customer service team to find out more about how long Viagra lasts.

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Dr Clare Morrison
Dr Clare Morrison
Experienced General Practitioner in Hampshire since 1995, with particular interest in Nutrition, Obesity and Smoking Cessation.
Originally published June 07 2018, updated July 05 2019