How long does sildenafil (Viagra) last?

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Published: 07 January 2020

Sildenafil, also known by its brand name Viagra, lasts for up to 4 hours after you have taken it. This can vary upon different factors such as your age, diet, existing health conditions and the dosage you have taken.


How does sildenafil work?

Sildenafil works by allowing the smooth muscle in the penis to relax, so that blood can enter and cause an erection. An erection occurs when a chemical messenger called cGMP is released into the penis. It allows blood to enter, causing an erection. An enzyme known as PDE5 is responsible for breaking down cGMP, so that blood cannot enter the penis. Sildenafil blocks the action of PDE5, so that cGMP is not broken down, allowing blood to enter the penis. It is important to note that sildenafil will only work if you are sexually aroused. You will not have an erection for the entire time that the drug is in your bloodstream, but it will allow you to achieve an erection upon sexual stimulation.


How long does it take for sildenafil to work?

Sildenafil takes around 30-60 minutes to work, but it has been known to work in under 30 minutes for some men. Others will find that it takes slightly longer to work. Those with a higher body weight will find that it may take slightly longer, as the drug has a larger area to get through. Those with higher metabolisms will find that the drug works in around 30 minutes or less. An empty stomach and being in a relaxed state of mind can also help sildenafil to work quicker.


Can you make sildenafil last longer?

Sildenafil lasts for around 4 hours after you have taken it. This can vary upon individual, with some men experiencing effects for up to 5 hours after having taken it, and some experiencing effects for around 2-3 hours. There are certain factors that can influence how long sildenafil lasts for.


As you get older, your metabolism slows down. This means that sildenafil is likely to last longer in older men, as their bodies are unable to excrete the drug as quickly as younger men.


A higher dose of sildenafil is likely to be more effective and have a longer duration of action. However, some men may not necessarily need the highest dose. Higher doses are also more likely to cause side-effects such as headache and facial flushing. Your doctor will prescribe you the dose that is most suitable for you. If you find that this is not effective, you should talk to your doctor about trying a higher dose. If you are already on the highest dose, you should speak to your doctor about trying an alternative treatment for erectile dysfunction.  


If you consume a meal that is rich in fats and carbohydrate, it may take sildenafil longer to work, and reduce its effectiveness. An empty stomach can make sildenafil work quickly, but it is not likely to last very long. You should try to have a balanced meal before hand to increase the likelihood of sildenafil lasting longer.


Alcohol reduces the amount of blood that reaches the penis, which can have a negative effect on sildenafil. You should avoid drinking alcohol in order to experience the full effect.


Certain medication reduce the effectiveness of sildenafil, which means that it will not last for as long as it should. You should check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any medication that you are taking can have an affect on the action of sildenafil.  

State of mind

Sildenafil only works when there is sexual arousal. It is important to get yourself into the right frame of mind. Stress, anxiety and nervousness can all have a negative impact on the action of sildenafil. You should try to relax and feel as comfortable as possible, in order to benefit from sildenafil. 


What medication lasts longer than sildenafil?

Tadalafil is an alternative medication, that lasts for longer than sildenafil. Tadalafil is available in 4 different strengths. The 10mg and 20mg option should be taken around 30 minutes before sexual activity, and can last for up to 36 hours. The 2.5mg and 5mg option should be taken every day, and will have a continuous effect, allowing you to achieve and maintain an erection spontaneously. Tadalafil 2.5mg and 5mg should be taken for those who are sexually active on a regular basis. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to explain the difference between sildenafil and tadalafil, and which one is more suitable for you.


So, how long does sildenafil last?

Sildenafil will last for around 4 hours after you take it. This does not mean that you will have a constant erection for 4 hours, but you will be able to achieve an erection when you are sexually stimulated, for up to 4 hours after. However, it is important to remember that this is an average and not the case for everyone. The length of time that sildenafil lasts for can vary depending on a number of factors, such as age, mental state, weight, pre-existing medical conditions, dosage, food and alcohol intake. If you find that sildenafil is not lasting as long as you would like, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist about trying a higher strength, or another medication that lasts longer than sildenafil, such as tadalafil.