Viagra, the groundbreaking treatment for erectile dysfunction, is available in three strengths only – 25mg, 50mg and 100mg tablets. These figures denote how much of Viagra's active ingredient, Sildenafil Citrate, is included in the tablet. Different dosages will suit different people, and during your initial medical consultation, you will be advised on what is right for you.

And, regardless of which strength you are prescribed, the instructions for taking it are the same. You should ideally take Viagra (Sildenafil) 1 hour before sexual activity, but it can be taken up to as long as four hours before or as close as 30 minutes before sexual activity. No matter what dosage you're prescribed, it's recommended that you take a maximum of 1 tablet a day. Typically, the effects of Viagra can be expected to last for up to four hours. And it's recommended to take your pill on an empty stomach as alcohol and fatty foods can impact on its effectiveness.

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Will a higher dose of Viagra work better?

So how do you decide what dosage is right for you? Does a higher dose work better? There is research that shows a greater effectiveness with higher dosages. It showed that:

  • Viagra 25mg, approx. 72% effective

    For patients taking 25mg Tablets, 72% were able to get and maintain erections

  • Viagra 50mg, approx. 80% effective

    For patients taking 50mg Tablets, 80% were able to get and maintain erections

  • Viagra 100mg, approx. 85% effective

    For patients taking 100mg Tablets, 85% were able to get and maintain erections

Over 100mg was found to have no additional increase in health benefits. 100mg is the maximum dosage available. The research clearly indicates, that at any dosage, Viagra (Sildenafil) is an extremely effective treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. And, it does appear that as the dosages increase, so do the effectiveness rates. However, this is not the whole story, and there are other things to consider – what about adverse effects on your health by dosage?

Does a lower dosage of Viagra mean less adverse effects?

Viagra (Sildenafil), like any medication, can have adverse health effects. These are usually mild negative health effects such as headaches or rashes. But, when you increase your dosage, you run the risk of increasing the adverse effects you may experience. In a study by Pfizer, less than 2% of study participants reported suffering adverse effects.

Of those who did suffer adverse health effects, they did find that the effects were more likely depending on the dosage level:

Adverse Reaction 25 mg (n=312) 50 mg (n=511) 100 mg (n=506) Placebo (n=607)
Headache 16% 21% 28% 7%
Flushing 10% 19% 18% 2%
Dyspepsia 3% 9% 17% 2%
Abnormal vision 1% 2% 11% 1%
Nasal congestion 4% 4% 9% 2%
Back pain 3% 4% 4% 2%
Myalgia 2% 2% 4% 1%
Nausea 2% 3% 3% 1%
Dizziness 3% 4% 3% 2%
Rash 1% 2% 3% 1%

Sourced from Labelling Pfizer1

Despite there being a low rate of people experiencing these adverse effects, it's important to consider the risk and ensure you are taking a dosage that is right for you – balancing the slightly greater chance of effectiveness with the slightly greater risk of adverse side effects.

So what is the right does for me?

Most doctors will recommend you start on 50mg dosage of Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate), taken 1 hour before sexual activity. After this its effectiveness and your own tolerance levels can be reassessed and the dosage may be increased to 100mg or decreased to 25mg to suit.

There are particular groups of people, for whom a starting dosage of 25mg is recommended. This includes older age groups, people with severe renal impairment and people with hepatic impairment. These groups may be more sensitive to the adverse effects of Viagra, and usually, caution is recommended.

In addition, you need to be cautious about mixing Viagra (Sildenafil) with other medications. You should always disclose any other medication you are taking during your initial consultation. If you are taking certain drugs such as nitrates, alpha blockers, or CYP3A4 inhibitors, it's recommended to start with the lower dosage of 25mg.

This is because Viagra acts as a vasodilator - allowing the blood vessels dilate, which can have the secondary effect of lowering your blood pressure. A study that monitored the blood pressure of patients after taking Viagra (Sildenafil) showed systolic blood pressure drops of 8 to 10 mg Hg and diastolic drops of 5 to 6 mm Hg. The effects peaked after an hour and dropped back after four hours. If you combine Viagra with other blood pressure medication, your blood pressure may drop dangerously low.

Other relevant information

To make sure you get the dosage that is right for you, it's important to disclose all relevant information to your doctor during the consultation, including other medications. You must follow the directions you are given for the medication. Don't change your dosage, by taking more or less without first speaking to your doctor.

Remember while Viagra (Sildenafil) will significantly improve your chances of keeping and maintaining an erection, you must be sexually aroused. An erection will not occur from just taking the pill alone.

Can I use 100mg Viagra tables if I experience headaches? Flushing? Rashes? It is important to speak to your doctor if you're experiencing these mild adverse effects, as your dosage of Viagra (Sildenafil) may need to be lowered.

If you experience any of the following symptoms after taking the medication or during intercourse, you should contact a doctor immediately – dizziness, chest pain, numbness or tingling anywhere in your upper torso.

Can I buy Viagra over the counter?

Although most medication are available over the counter, due to the nature of Viagra, it is labelled as prescription treatment, meaning it is only available after it is prescribed by a registered doctor. Fortunately, you can buy Viagra tablets in 25mg, 50mg or 100mg dosages here online, by completing our free online medical consultation. This is first assessed by one of our registered doctors and if approved, a prescription is sent to our UK pharmacy. You can can the complete your order and expect to receive your tablets the very next day.

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