GET HARD RESULTS. Start here

Stendra vs. Viagra: Which Is More Effective?

Jill Johnson

Medically reviewed by Jill Johnson, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 8/30/2022

Developed in the 2000s and approved by the FDA in 2012, Stendra® is the newest medication on the market for erectile dysfunction (ED).

Naturally, Stendra is often compared to older medications used to treat ED, such as Viagra®. As a newer medication, Stendra offers a range of advantages over older medications for ED, from a lower risk of causing side effects to its quicker absorption into the body.

Below, we’ve compared Stendra (avanafil) and Viagra (sildenafil) on a variety of factors to help you learn more about which erectile dysfunction treatment is the best match for your needs and expectations. 

The Basics: Stendra vs. Viagra

  • Stendra and Viagra are both medications for treating erectile dysfunction. Both belong to a class of medications called PDE5 inhibitors, which work by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissue inside your penis.

  • Both medications can be taken before sex. Viagra typically starts working in 30 minutes to one hour, whereas Stendra is a faster-acting medication that can begin working in 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Although both medications work by increasing blood flow to your penis, Stendra is more selective in its effects. This means that it’s slightly less likely to cause some side effects than Viagra.

  • Contrary to popular belief, neither Stendra nor Viagra cause random erections or affect your sex drive. Both medications only cause erections when you have a form of sexual stimulation, such as sexual activity or a sexual thought.

  • As an older medication, Viagra is now available as a generic, making it more affordable than Stendra. The generic name for Viagra is sildenafil. Because Stendra is so new, it’s unlikely that a generic version will be made available in the next few years. 

Does Stendra or Viagra Work Faster?

One of the biggest advantages of Stendra is that it works quickly, often in as little as 15 minutes after consumption.

Stendra is available in three doses: 50mg, 100mg and 200mg. The 100mg and 200mg Stendra tablets typically start to work within 15 minutes, meaning you can take them only a few minutes before you plan to have sexual intercourse.

The smaller 50mg dose of Stendra typically starts to work 30 minutes after you take it, meaning it’s also a convenient option for as-needed use before sex.

This makes Stendra the fastest-acting erectile dysfunction treatment currently on the market. If you’re looking for a pill that works quickly -- meaning you can take it right before sex -- Stendra is currently the best choice available.

Viagra and generic medications containing sildenafil, on the other hand, typically take action in about one hour. This means that you’ll need to take the medication slightly earlier than Stendra for it to be effective by the time you plan to have sex.

This is also the case for Cialis® (tadalafil) and Levitra® (vardenafil), which also require around one hour to take effect within the body.

One additional point in Stendra’s favor is that it can be taken with or without food, without any significant effect on the average amount of time that’s required for it to become effective within your body.

Viagra, on the other hand, may take longer to start working if you take it at the same time as a meal, particularly if the meal has a significant amount of fat. 

This means that Stendra might be a more convenient option for you if you’re looking for an ED medication that’s quick to start working and can be taken with dinner. 

Which Medication Lasts for Longer?

Stendra has a slightly longer half-life than Viagra, meaning one tablet of it will generally provide relief from erectile dysfunction for longer than an equivalent dose of Viagra.

How long does Stendra last? Avanafil, the active ingredient in Stendra, has a terminal half-life of around five hours, meaning it takes five hours to reach 50 percent of its original concentration in your body. 

This means that if you take your prescribed dose of Stendra at 6pm, it will have reached half of its original concentration by approximately 11pm.

A normal dose of Stendra provides relief from erectile dysfunction for around six hours, with its effects typically fading as its concentration declines.

Like with other ED treatments, it’s common for Stendra to become less effective as more time passes since you took the medication. Because of this, it’s best to use Stendra as close to the time you plan to have sex as possible. 

Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, has a half-life of four hours. A typical dose of Viagra or generic sildenafil will generally provide relief from erectile dysfunction for around three to five hours, with its effectiveness waning as its concentration decreases.

The effects of Viagra are usually most noticeable during the first one to two hours after you take the medication. 

Both Stendra and Viagra are short-acting ED medications designed for use as needed, such as before you have sex. Neither medication should be taken more than one time per day, meaning they’re best used if you plan to have sex at a specific time (for example, following dinner).

If you like to have sex spontaneously and want a longer-lasting medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, you may get better results from Cialis, or generic tadalafil.

Cialis is a long-lasting medication for ED. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “weekend pill” due to its 17.5 hour half-life, which allows a single dose to provide  relief from erectile dysfunction for as long as 36 hours. 

Since Cialis can be used on a daily basis, it’s an option worth considering if you need an ED pill that’s “always on.”

Does Stendra or Viagra Treat ED Better?

Clinical studies of avanafil (the active ingredient in Stendra) and sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) show that both medications are very effective at treating erectile dysfunction for most men.

Despite being a relatively new medication, Stendra is backed up by several large-scale studies of men with ED. 

In a 2012 study published in the journal BJU International, researchers found that avanafil, the active ingredient in Stendra, was “effective and well tolerated” as a treatment option for erectile dysfunction.

In this study, men with ED who received the medication at a dose of 100mg or 200mg showed significant improvements in an International Index of Erectile Function erectile function domain self report (IIEF-EFD), a scoring system used to assess erection quality.

Other studies of Stendra have produced similar findings. In a 2014 clinical review, researchers found that men with erectile dysfunction who used avanafil displayed improvements in erection quality at all dosages, from the lowest 50mg dose to the strongest 200mg tablet.

The researchers also noted that the effectiveness of avanafil increased with dosage, with little increase in side effects.

In short, Stendra is proven to work well as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, with large-scale studies backing up its effectiveness. 

As for Viagra, there are countless studies showing its success as a treatment for ED. In a 1998 study, researchers noted that sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient, is an “effective, well-tolerated treatment” for men with ED.

Other studies of Viagra have generally produced similar findings. In a clinical review from 2002, researchers stated over 95 percent of men who with ED used sildenafil over one to three years reported feeling satisfied about the effects of the treatment on their erections.

In short, Stendra and Viagra are both highly effective treatments for ED. Although some users might prefer one medication to the other, study data shows that both medications work well for improving erection quality and enhancing sexual performance. 

Which Medication Has Fewer Side Effects?

Stendra and Viagra can both cause similar side effects. However, study data shows that fewer men experience several common side effects, such as headaches and nasal congestion, with Stendra than with Viagra.

Headaches are the most common side effect of both medications. According to FDA trial data, 10.5 percent of men who use Stendra at the highest prescribed dose report headaches.

A smaller percentage of men who use Stendra at 50mg and 100mg doses also report dealing with headaches after using the medication.

In contrast, approximately 28 percent of men who take Viagra at the highest prescribed dose report experiencing headaches, making this side effect nearly three times as common among men who use Viagra to treat ED.

This is also a common trend for other side effects. Facial flushing is a common side effect of both Stendra and Viagra. However, it occurs in only 4.3 percent of men who use the highest prescribed dose of Stendra, versus 18 percent of men who use Viagra.

Similarly, side effects such as nasal congestion, heartburn and back pain are all significantly more likely to occur with Viagra than with Stendra.

More severe side effects, such as loss of vision and other vision-related issues, also appear more frequently among men who use Viagra than among Stendra users.

These differences in side effect rates are likely the result of Stendra’s more selective effects in the body. Stendra specifically targets the PDE5 enzyme, meaning it has a lower risk of causing side effects from inhibiting PDE1, PDE6 and other enzymes.

This allows it to more specifically expand the blood vessels that supply the erectile tissue inside the penis, with reduced effects elsewhere in the body. 

Stendra and Viagra can both cause a side effect called priapism -- a prolonged, painful erection that may last for four hours or longer. Priapism is highly uncommon, but it’s a serious issue that requires urgent medical attention to avoid damaging the tissue inside your penis.

Both Stendra and Viagra have the potential to cause drug interactions when they’re taken with other medications and substances.

Specifically, both medications can interact with nitrates and other blood pressure medications, such as alpha-blockers. When used together, these medications may cause a rapid decline in blood pressure levels that could cause dizziness, fainting or serious cardiovascular events.

To reduce your risk of experiencing interactions while using Stendra or Viagra, it’s important to inform your healthcare provider about any medications you currently use or have recently used before taking either ED treatment.

It’s also important to avoid any recreational drugs that could cause interactions with Stendra or Viagra.

You can learn more about Stendra’s side effects, including the specific risk of each type of side effect and interaction, in our detailed guide to Stendra side effects.

In general, while both medications can and occasionally do cause side effects, Stendra is less likely to cause common side effects and has fewer severe side effects than older ED treatment medications, such as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil). 

viagra online

genuine Viagra® makes it possible

Which Medication is Safer?

Stendra and Viagra are both safe medications, provided they’re used as prescribed. If you’re a healthy male with no history of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure or other health issues, you can safely use either drug as prescribed by your doctor.

Both medications are sold as prescription drugs only, meaning you’ll need to talk to your doctor before you can use either Stendra or Viagra. 

To keep yourself safe, make sure to closely follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and only use Stendra or Viagra as prescribed. 

It’s also important to tell your healthcare provider if you currently have any medical conditions that may affect your use of Stendra or Viagra, or if you’ve previously suffered a heart attack or stroke.

ED treatments, delivered

Generic for Viagra (sildenafil)

The more affordable FDA-approved medication that treats Erectile Dysfunction at a quarter of the cost. 🙌

Generic for Cialis (tadalafil)

Affordable and helps get the job done. Generic Cialis helps you get and maintain your erections through a simple, daily dosage.

Viagra®

The OG Little Blue Pill that made its name as the first prescription Erectile Dysfunction treatment.

Cialis®

Cialis helps you get and keep stronger erections with a daily or as-needed pill.


Which Medication is More Affordable?

Cost is an important factor when comparing medications, particularly those that you plan to use frequently. Over time, even a tiny difference in the price of two medications can add up, often to a significant amount. 

Because the active ingredient in Viagra is now available as a generic medication (sildenafil), it’s a significantly more affordable option than Stendra. 

To put the difference in pricing into perspective, generic sildenafil costs $3 per pill via our online telehealth platform. Because Stendra is currently only available as a brand name medication, it costs $53 per dose. 

Like Stendra, brand name Viagra is also priced at a significant premium over sildenafil, at $139 per dose. 

From a value for money perspective, generic sildenafil is the most affordable option for treating erectile dysfunction. It contains the exact same active ingredient as Viagra and works the same way within your body, making it a comparatively cost-effective ED treatment option. 

generic viagra (sildenafil) online

get hard or your money back

Which ED Medication is Right for You?

If you frequently have weak erections, or find it difficult to maintain an erection sufficient for sex, Viagra and Stendra are both safe, effective medications for erectile dysfunction that can improve your sexual performance and satisfaction.

As the newest ED medication on the market, Stendra offers many of the same benefits as older drugs like Viagra with fewer side effects.

As such, if you’re prone to headaches, nausea or other adverse effects from Viagra, you’ll likely benefit from giving Stendra a try.

Thanks to its fast onset of action and slightly longer half-life, Stendra is also a good option if you want a more flexible medication that you can take shortly before sex.

On the other hand, Viagra’s availability and affordable pricing as generic sildenafil mean it offers great value for money, making it a compelling option if you need to use ED medication on a daily or near-daily basis. 

Need help dealing with common sexual health issues such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation? We offer a wide range of erectile dysfunction treatments and other medications for improving sexual performance online, including Stendra, Viagra and generic sildenafil

You can also find out more about the unique benefit of Stendra as a treatment for ED in our full Stendra 101 guide. 

9 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Dhaliwal, A. & Gupta, M. (2022, May 20). PDE5 Inhibitors. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/
  2. VIAGRA- sildenafil citrate tablet, film coated. (2017, August). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/spl/data/40578e70-350a-4940-9630-55d90989c146/40578e70-350a-4940-9630-55d90989c146.xml
  3. STENDRA- avanafil tablet. (2017, August). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/spl/data/41d308f4-9a6a-48bb-b7a0-d63da9818078/41d308f4-9a6a-48bb-b7a0-d63da9818078.xml
  4. Katz, E.G., Tan, R.B., Rittenberg, D. & Hellstrom, W.J. (2014). Avanafil for erectile dysfunction in elderly and younger adults: differential pharmacology and clinical utility. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 10, 701-711. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4155803/
  5. CIALIS- tadalafil tablet, film coated. (2017, May). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/spl/data/05dbd8b6-1b9d-436a-a67c-8a16713f753f/05dbd8b6-1b9d-436a-a67c-8a16713f753f.xml
  6. Zhao, C., et al. (2012, December). Efficacy and safety of avanafil for treating erectile dysfunction: results of a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. BJU International. 110 (11), 1801-1806. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22448738/
  7. Wang, H., et al. (2014, August). The effectiveness and safety of avanafil for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 30 (8), 1565-1571. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24701971/
  8. Goldstein, I., et al. (1998, May). Oral sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil Study Group. The New England Journal of Medicine. 338 (20), 1397-1404. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9580646/
  9. Carson, C.C., Burnett, A.L., Levine, L.A. & Nehra, A. (2002, September). The efficacy of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) in clinical populations: an update. Urology. 60 (2 Suppl 2), 12-27. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12414330/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.