Viagra price: how much does viagra cost? 

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

LAST UPDATED: Mar 21, 2023

8 MIN READ

If you’ve experienced erectile dysfunction (ED), you’ve probably heard of (and maybe even used) Viagra (see Important Safety Information). Treating ED can be expensive, so it’s important to understand how much your options cost and how to save money so you have access to the medications you need. Read on as we explain what you can expect to pay for Viagra, and the cost savings available to you.

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What is Viagra?

Popularly known as the “little blue pill,” Viagra (generic name: sildenafil) is an oral prescription medication that treats erectile dysfunction. When it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998, Viagra became the first oral medication to treat ED in the United States. Originally, Viagra was only available as a brand name drug. Today, Viagra is also available as a much cheaper (but equally effective) generic drug, which is named sildenafil after the active ingredient.

Viagra is prescribed in dosages of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. It should be taken 30–60 minutes before sexual activity, although it may start working sooner for some. It should last for about 4–5 hours.

So, how does Viagra treat ED? To understand how Viagra works, it’s helpful to understand the process behind an erection. When you get erect, the tissues around your penis relax. This allows increased blood flow into the penis where it gets trapped, creating that “hard” feeling. Eventually, an enzyme called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) allows the blood to release and the erection to go down. That’s where Viagra comes in.

PDE-5 breaks down the chemicals that sustain an erection and encourage strong blood flow into the penis. But when you take Viagra, PDE-5 is blocked, enabling the chemicals (and your erection) to stick around longer. As a result, the blood flow into the penis stays strong. This is what makes Viagra a PDE-5 inhibitor. Other drugs in this category include Cialis (generic name tadalafil; see Important Safety Information), Levitra (vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil). 

Viagra is only FDA-approved to treat ED. Its generic form, sildenafil, may also be prescribed to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs. Off-label uses for sildenafil include altitude sickness, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD).

It’s important to note that Viagra does not induce sexual arousal. Rather, it helps you get and maintain an erection. You’ll still need to get there on your own, but buying Viagra can keep you erect for longer.

Viagra Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Cialis Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

How much does Viagra cost? 

Viagra prices will vary depending on whether or not you have insurance, the dosage you’re taking, and where you purchase Viagra. Different vendors and pharmacies offer Viagra for varying prices. According to GoodRx, a website that aggregates current prices and discounts for medications, a 30-pill supply of 100 mg of Viagra can range from $2,600 to $3,500 without insurance, which breaks down to about $86 to $116 per dose. 

The cost of Viagra also depends on how often you plan to have sex. If you plan to take Viagra a few times a month, you will pay a few hundred dollars out of pocket, but if you plan to take it more frequently, the cost of Viagra could add up quickly to a few thousand dollars. 

As a prescription drug, you will need a prescription to purchase Viagra. So, you may want to factor in the costs of making a doctor’s visit and traveling to and from your appointment — unless you go with a more affordable telehealth option. For example, Ro offers Viagra via telehealth from $90 per dose and generic Viagra (sildenafil) from $4 per dose, with free shipping.

Does insurance cover Viagra? 

Generally, no, insurance does not cover brand name Viagra. However, your health insurance may provide coverage for sildenafil, the generic form of Viagra, or other generic medications that treat ED. The same is true for Medicare Part D, which typically does not cover brand name drugs but may cover their generic versions. Review your plan’s formulary and talk with your healthcare provider to determine the right option for you.

How well does Viagra work? 

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is both frustrating and frustratingly common. Most men experience ED at some point in life, and it becomes more common as you grow older, especially once you hit age 40. Although, one study found that one in four men seek treatment for ED earlier than that.

Fortunately, since 1998, there has been a safe treatment for ED. Not only is Viagra well tolerated, but studies show it is very effective. In a 2016 study of over 11,000 men, a vast majority of participants reported improved erections after a twelve-week treatment cycle. Around 80% of men younger than age 65 and almost 60% of those 75 and older reported improved erections. The men also reported improved sexual desire, better orgasms, and higher satisfaction — both overall and in regard to their sexual activity. The most common side effects were headaches and facial flushing. 

A 2019 study found a similar effectiveness rate for Viagra, with 62.4% to 76.2% of participants experiencing harder erections. Given these proven benefits, Viagra has remained the gold standard ED treatment for years.

The benefits of using Viagra may extend beyond its immediate applications. Men taking Viagra have reported improved self-esteem, trust, and satisfaction in their relationships. Their partners may report higher satisfaction as well. Scientific reviews have found that Viagra is well-tolerated across races and ages, and even among those with comorbid health conditions, such as mild heart failure, diabetes mellitus, spinal cord injury, and depression.

Generic Viagra, or sildenafil, is just as effective, according to research. Between 60% to 65% of men with ED can sustain an erection when taking PDE-5 inhibitors, like sildenafil. 

The FDA requires generic medications to contain the same active ingredients and dosages, and to meet the same safety and quality standards, as their brand-name counterparts. As a result, generic Viagra, or sildenafil, works just as well. The only difference you’ll find between the two, besides their cost, is the color of the pill. Viagra is famously blue, while Sildenafil can be white or blue.

Viagra vs. Sildenafil cost 

The generic version of Sildenafil is significantly less expensive than Viagra. At Ro, for example, sildenafil starts at $4 per dose while Viagra starts at $90 per dose, both with free shipping. 

Viagra and its generic form sildenafil have the same active ingredient — sildenafil. They are both equally effective and safe. So, why is Viagra so much more expensive? Chalk it up to the power of the brand name.

Typically, when a brand name drug gets released, the manufacturer has exclusive rights to produce and sell it for a certain period of time. In the case of Viagra, that manufacturer was Pfizer. When those rights expire, other pharmaceutical companies can begin producing and selling their own version of the drug. 

According to standards set by the FDA, these generic drugs must contain the same active ingredient and dosage amounts, and maintain the same safety and quality standards as the brand name drug. However, they get to skip out on all the marketing costs. As a result, generic drugs are just as effective, but they often end up being much cheaper.

What’s interesting in the case of Viagra is that the cost of the brand name drug has continued to remain high, despite the availability of generic sildenafil. Usually, the cost of the brand name drug lowers to stay competitive. That hasn’t happened with Viagra. The reason why is up for debate, but it may stem from the fact that for nearly two decades, we encountered marketing and pop culture references that cemented Viagra as the famous “little blue pill” and the treatment for ED.

Rest assured, however. Whether you go with Viagra vs. Sildenafil, you’ll enjoy the same effects and benefits.

Side effects of Viagra 

As with any drug, you may experience side effects when taking Viagra. Fortunately, these are typically rare, only affecting about 2% of people or less. The most common side effects of Viagra include:

  • Abnormal vision

  • Dizziness

  • Flushing (redness in the face)

  • Headache

  • Muscle or back pain

  • Nasal congestion

  • Nausea

  • Rash

  • Upset stomach or heartburn

One serious potential side effect to be aware of is priapism, which describes a prolonged and painful erection. If your erection lasts more than four hours, seek medical attention immediately and stop taking Viagra. Also seek medical attention if you suddenly lose vision in one or both eyes or experience hearing loss.

To avoid serious side effects when taking Viagra, be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any drugs you are taking and any health conditions you may have. Viagra should not be used by anyone with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to sildenafil or any of the ingredients in Viagra, or to anyone taking nitrates or nitrites. Additionally, people with certain cardiovascular conditions may want to be careful when using Viagra, such as those with a history of low blood pressure or heart failure.

Viagra alternatives 

There are other PDE-5 inhibitors besides Viagra, including Cialis (generic name: tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil). The prices of these ED medications can vary, and they may have different dosage options and duration periods than Viagra. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best option.

Here’s a quick look at the cost of Viagra vs. Viagra alternatives:

Cialis (tadalafil)

Cialis (tadalafil) is unique among PDE-5 inhibitors in that it is designed to be long-acting. Cialis remains effective for up to 36 hours, as opposed to the shorter 4–5 hour duration period of Viagra. There is also flexibility in dosages. You can take a smaller dose of 2.5 mg of Cialis daily, or a larger dose 30 to 60 minutes before sexual activity. In addition to erectile dysfunction, Cialis is also prescribed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

At Ro, brand name Cialis starts at $11 per dose, while generic tadalafil starts at $8 per dose.

Levitra (vardenafil)

Levitra (vardenafil) is available in dosages of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg. In addition to the typical side effects of Viagra, Levitra may also cause runny nose and flu-like symptoms. Levitra also takes a bit longer to kick in, and should be taken 60 minutes before sexual activity

According to GoodRx, the average price of Levitra starts at $51, while the generic version, vardenafil, starts at $8 per dose. 

Stendra (avanafil)

Stendra (avanafil) may be the fastest-acting PDE-5 inhibitor, as you can take it a mere 15 minutes prior to sexual activity. It is available in dosages of 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg. At the time of writing, there is no generic version of Stendra.

According to GoodRx, the average price of Stendra starts at $64. 

How to save money on Viagra 

Fortunately, while the cost of brand name Viagra remains high, there are several things you can do to save money on Viagra. 

Consider Viagra alternatives. In general, insurance does not cover Viagra and ED medications, so you will pay the full price of Viagra regardless of your health coverage. However, your insurance plan may provide coverage for generic versions of Viagra and other PDE-5 inhibitors like Cialis (tadalafil) or Levitra (vardenafil). Also, some ED medications can be prescribed for other health conditions which may be covered under your plan — such as Cialis, which also treats BPH, or sildenafil, which also treats pulmonary arterial hypertension. 

Try telehealth. Telehealth options can make getting Viagra cheaper, and easier. You can skip the doctor’s appointment and meet with a licensed healthcare provider virtually, and then get Viagra delivered right to your home. Ro offers brand name Viagra at $90 per dose, along with free delivery. 

Look up Viagra coupons. Sometimes, coupons become available for Viagra through various retailers, like CVS or Walmart. You can check websites like GoodRx, SingleCare, or Optum Perks. These sites aggregate coupons from multiple pharmacies and retailers for Viagra and other medications. Viatris offers a Viagra Savings Card that enables eligible patients to save up to 50%, or $350 per prescription, on up to twelve prescriptions of brand-name Viagra. 

Choose a generic. If the brand name is not important to you, you can save a lot by using the generic version of Viagra, which works just as well. Ro offers sildenafil for $4 per dose, a fraction of the average cost of Viagra.

You have lots of options for getting Viagra or Sildenafil, and just as many options to save. Visit Ro to talk with a healthcare provider today about the right ED medication for you.

DISCLAIMER

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

March 21, 2023

Written by

Amelia Willson

Fact checked by

Chimene Richa, MD


About the medical reviewer

Dr. Richa is a board-certified Ophthalmologist and medical writer for Ro.

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