Farrinstitute is reader-supported. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.

Understanding the Duration: How Long Does Viagra Stay in Your System


How long does Viagra stay in your system?

Viagra, also known as sildenafil citrate, has been a revolutionary treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) and has changed the lives of millions of men worldwide. As the first FDA-approved oral therapy for ED, Viagra has been widely used and studied, providing information about its onset of action, duration of effect, and how long it stays in the system. 

In this article, we will explore the pharmacokinetics of Viagra, its effectiveness, safety, and the factors that may influence its duration in the body.
Related: How does Viagra work?

Mechanism of Action

Viagra is a selective inhibitor of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). Its primary function is to prevent the breakdown of cGMP, thereby enhancing the natural nitric oxide (NO)-cGMP mechanism of penile erection following sexual stimulation. 

Increased cGMP levels lead to smooth muscle relaxation in the corpus cavernosum, increasing blood flow and penile erection.

The Onset of Action and Duration of Effect

The onset of action for Viagra can be as short as 20 minutes, and its duration of effect may last up to 18 hours, as reported in some studies. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many men experience an erectogenic effect for almost 24 hours. This rapid onset of action and relatively long duration of effect make Viagra a convenient and effective treatment option for men with ED.
Related: How long does Viagra last?

Factors Affecting Viagra’s Duration in the System

Dose

Viagra is available in oral tablets of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg strength. The recommended starting dose for most patients is 50 mg, taken as needed approximately 1 hour before sexual activity. The dose can be adjusted based on individual effectiveness and tolerance. Higher doses of Viagra tend to have a longer duration of action in the body.

Age

Your metabolism slows down as you age, affecting how long Viagra lasts in your system. Older individuals may find that the drug remains active for a longer duration compared to younger users.

Older men (aged ≥65 years) have higher plasma concentrations of Viagra compared to younger men (18-45 years), with a mean maximum concentration (Cmax) 70% greater in older men and a mean area under the curve (AUC) 84% higher compared to the younger age group. 

Due to age-related differences in plasma protein binding, the corresponding increase in free Viagra plasma concentration is approximately 40%. However, no differences in the safety of any dose of Viagra were observed between older and younger men.

Metabolism and Elimination

Viagra is primarily metabolized by the liver enzyme CYP3A4 and, to a lesser extent, by CYP2C9. Strong inhibitors of these enzymes may lead to increased Viagra levels and a prolonged duration of action. The terminal half-life of Viagra is approximately 3-5 hours, which means that it takes about 3-5 half-lives for the drug to be eliminated from the body. 

Certain medications can interact with Viagra and alter its effectiveness. For example, drugs that affect the liver enzyme CYP3A4 may increase Viagra levels in the bloodstream and prolong its effects. It is crucial to consult your doctor if you are taking other medications, especially those for diabetes and high blood pressure, to ensure the safe and effective use of Viagra.

Concomitant Medications

The coadministration of certain medications with Viagra can affect its duration in the body. For example, combining Viagra with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as ritonavir, can result in increased plasma levels of Viagra and a prolonged duration of action. 

Similarly, combining Viagra with other CYP3A4 inducers can reduce Viagra levels, potentially affecting its duration in the body.

Diet and lifestyle

Your diet and lifestyle choices can also impact how long Viagra stays in your system. Consuming a high-fat meal before taking Viagra can slow down its absorption, delaying its onset of action. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the effectiveness of Viagra and should be avoided when using the medication.

Health conditions

Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can influence how Viagra works in your body and how long it lasts. Men with poor liver or kidney function may find that Viagra stays in their system longer, as these organs play a role in metabolizing the drug.

Psychological state

Viagra relies on sexual arousal to be effective, meaning that psychological factors can impact its efficacy. Performance anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can all contribute to difficulties with sexual arousal, potentially reducing the effectiveness of Viagra.

Long-term Use and Tolerance

Viagra is a treatment, not a cure, for ED. Therefore, many men may choose to use it for an extended period. Studies have shown that Viagra is well-tolerated and effective for long-term use, with no evidence of loss of efficacy or developing tachyphylaxis. In a 4-year, open-label, flexible-dose study, 96% of patients were satisfied with the effect of Viagra on their erections, and 99% reported an improvement in their ability to engage in sexual activity.

Safety and Adverse Effects

Viagra has a well-established safety profile, with the most common side effects being headache, flushing, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, back pain, myalgia, nausea, dizziness, and rash. These side effects are generally short-lived and easily treated. 

Serious adverse events related to Viagra use are rare and often associated with the patient’s underlying medical conditions rather than the medication itself.
Related: Is Viagra safe?

Drug Interactions

Viagra should be used with caution in patients taking certain medications, such as nitrates, alpha-adrenergic blockers, and other antihypertensive agents, due to the potential for drug interactions leading to severe hypotension or other adverse effects.
Related: Drugs not to take with Viagra

Special Populations

In patients with diabetes, hypertension, or a history of ischemic heart disease, Viagra is effective and safe for treating ED. Additionally, Viagra has been used off-label for treating other conditions, such as secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon, female sexual arousal disorder, and altitude-induced hypoxemia.

Conclusion

Viagra is a safe and effective treatment for ED, with a rapid onset of action and a duration of effect that allows for flexibility in sexual activity. The duration of Viagra in the body can be influenced by factors such as dose, age, metabolism, and concomitant medications. With proper use and monitoring, Viagra can significantly improve the quality of life for men with ED and their partners.

Related articles:

 

Share this article

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published

9 − nine =

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get our weekly newsletter about the most recent publications and reviews in the world of medical research

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get our weekly newsletter about the most recent publications and reviews in the world of medical research