Sildenafil vs Viagra: What’s the Difference?

Any man suffering from erectile dysfunction has heard of Viagra. It’s the most popular drug for ED. But it’s when talk of Sildenafil comes into play that things get confusing. What is the difference between Sildenafil vs Viagra? Are they both the same thing? And which one is going to offer the most value to you in terms of price and effectiveness? 

In this article, we take a look at the core differences between the two, the similarities – as well as which erectile dysfunction medication is the best.

The Main Difference Between Sildenafil vs Viagra

There’s Viagra and then there’s Sildenafil. Two different things – according to some sources. So why do they often get mentioned in the same breath?

Put simply, Viagra is a brand name while Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra, and thus is the generic name for ED treatment. Both are drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction, but the main difference between the two is that Sildenafil is the generic name for the drug, while Viagra is one brand name of many for ED medication. BlueChew, for example, is another brand name of sildenafil. 

Still a bit confused? Let’s take a look at this a bit more in-depth:

Viagra Explained

Viagra is a highly popular medication for erectile dysfunction. It’s a little blue pill that arrived on the pharmaceutical scene in the late nineties that has found its way into the mainstream lexicon. Its aim is to give the man a harder, longer lasting erection by improving the flow of blood to the penis. 

But Viagra itself is just a brand name for an ED medication, just like BlueChew is another branded  name for the same medication. It’s the citrate salt of Sildenafil but it’s sold by companies as Viagra. Once formulated and packaged, Viagra is a blue tablet that contains as little as 25mg of Sildenafil, or as much as 100mg of Sildenafil. 

As well as Sildenafil, Viagra also contains inactive ingredients, such as Magnesium stearate, Anhydrous dibasic calcium phosphate and microcrystalline cellulose among others. 

Sildenafil Explained

Unlike Viagra, Sildenafil isn’t a brand. Instead, it’s the active ingredient found in the little blue pill known as Viagra, as well as other drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction, such as the generic drug, Sildenafil itself. So while you’ll find Sildenafil in Viagra, you’ll also find other inactive ingredients in Viagra, too. 

Sildenafil was ‘invented’ a few years before Viagra existed. It was originally intended to be used to treat high blood pressure, but researchers instead found that it simply gave men quicker, stronger and longer lasting erections. 

Without Sildenafil, Viagra wouldn’t work because it’s this ingredient that makes its way into the man’s blood stream (usually after an hour of the pill being popped) and causes the blood vessels in his penis to relax. 

Sildenafil works by binding to an enzyme called PDE5, which prevents said enzyme from working. This is important because it’s when PDE5 breaks down cGMP that a man struggles to achieve and maintain an erection. With Sildenafil in his system, the man who is taking an ED medication experiences more blood flow to his penis, and thus an erection comes more easily. 

As well as existing in branded drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, Sildenafil can also be found in other drugs that treat other conditions. For example, it’s found in Revatio, a branded medication that treats pulmonary arterial hypertension. This is because it relaxes blood vessels in other areas of the body – not just the penis. 

Does Viagra Work Better Than Generic Sildenafil?

Simply put, the fact that Sildenafil is a generic medication means that no single manufacturer can control its price. It’s produced and used by various companies, and thus its pricing is competitive. It’s all down to whoever is selling it.

This is different to Viagra, which is a branded medication. Thus, it’s priced higher.  

Generic Viagra works, too. In fact, Pfizer – who sell both branded and generic Viagra – claim that 90% of their prescriptions filled are for the generic version of their ED drug. 

So Why Do People Refer To Viagra as Sildenafil?  Sildenafil vs Viagra: The Similarities

A number of people refer to Sildenafil and Viagra as the same thing, even though Sildenafil is the generic name for an ED medication (and an active ingredient in Viagra), while Viagra is a branded name for an ED medication. But whilst this can be confusing, the two have many things in common. 

For one thing, they both contain Sildenafil as their main ingredient. For another, their dosage strength is the same. For example, if a man was to take 25mg of Viagra, he would technically be taking 25mg of Sildenafil. Is Sildenafil 20mg the same as Viagra, then? Absolutely. 

Viagra and Sildenafil both work for the same amount of time, too. While the exact length of time either Viagra or Sildenafil works depends on the individual, both typically last for 2-3 hours but can sometimes last longer. 

Both Viagra and Sildenafil have the same side effects. Possible side effects include headache, nausea, muscle pain, back pain, an upset stomach and flushing. 

What’s More Expensive? Sildenafil or Viagra? 

Price is, of course, a big concern for anyone who is shopping around for erectile dysfunction. What men are looking for is value for money. 

Viagra can cost $30 for a pack of four 25mg tablets. Bear in mind that 25mg is the lowest dosage possible. 

Sildenafil, on the other hand, is always cheaper, and this is because it’s a generic medication. Viagra, on the other hand, is a branded medication. Because it’s a brand name, it’s able to command a premium price.

Bluechew costs about $20 a month for example and has a free trial available.

How Can I Buy Sildenafil and Viagra? 

Sildenafil is cheaper than Viagra but both can be bought online from a number of suppliers. You will have to fill out a quick online questionnaire first to determine whether you are suitable for the treatment, and you will typically be referred to a licensed physician. Once the physician is satisfied, they will prescribe you treatment. 


Sildenafil and Viagra are both effective treatments for erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil is the main ingredient in Viagra but both do the same thing. However, one is generic and the other is expensive – so which do you choose? 

There’s also a third option, BlueChew, which is an effective, inexpensive erectile dysfunction tablet that you chew. It also comes with a free 30-day trial, after which you can either choose to cancel or upgrade. 

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