The Cost of Viagra in 2022

By Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
March 14, 2022

Viagra is one of the most well-known erectile dysfunction medications, however, there are potentially serious side effects that must be known prior to starting this medication.

In this article, we cover the cost of Viagra, the best time to take it, how long it takes to work, and the side effects of which you should be aware.

What Is Viagra?

Viagra is a popular drug used for erectile dysfunction (ED), or to be more direct, impotence. When someone has erectile dysfunction, it means they cannot get an erection or maintain one (meaning, it will go away) during the sexual activity.

ED is usually due to a combination of psychological and physical health issues that affect the brain, hormones, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves.

Some of the most common causes of ED include:

  • Stress
  • Relationship problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypogonadism (i.e., low testosterone levels)

Viagra works by relaxing the blood vessels so that more blood can flow to your penis when you are aroused, thus creating an erection for sexual intercourse.

Viagra belongs to a group of medications called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, which work as vasodilators and cause blood vessels to relax.

Have questions about Viagra? Chat with a doctor through K Health.
get started

Viagra vs. Sildenafil

Viagra is a brand name medication invented and marketed by Pfizer. Sildenafil, or sildenafil citrate, on the other hand, is the generic name for the ingredient in Viagra that is responsible for the positive effects in treating ED.

Sildenafil, which is the active ingredient in both medications, also belongs to the class of drugs called phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors). 

As a PDE5 inhibitor, sildenafil works by relaxing the muscle tissue found inside the walls of your blood vessels, resulting in improved blood flow throughout many parts of your body.

There are three versions of sildenafil: Viagra (brand name), sildenafil (generic), and Revatio (the version used to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension [PAH]).

While the first two options come in three doses (25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg, respectively), Revatio comes in increments of 20 mg. In addition, Revatio can sometimes be even cheaper than sildenafil.

Viagra and sildenafil help treat erectile dysfunction in the same way. It also means they have the same potential side effects, such as low blood pressure, nasal congestion, indigestion, headaches, facial flushing, back pain, and a sudden loss of hearing or vision.

Viagra became the first oral pill in 1998 when it was approved by the FDA as the first PED5 inhibitor to treat ED. Sildenafil was approved in March 2016 and released in December 2017.

The Cost of Viagra

Choosing between these medications comes mostly down to cost, and is a question for you and your insurance provider, and depends on your budget.

A healthcare professional can help you figure out which dose of either medication is right for you.

Cost of Viagra vs. sildenafil 

ProviderAverage cost of Viagra for 25mgAverage cost of Sildenafil for 25mg
Rite Aid$97$64
Walgreens$99$36
Kroger Pharmacy$98$66
Costco$118$34
Safeway$86$340
Target (CVS)$79$41
Walmart$107$30

Risks and Side Effects of Viagra

Viagra has been available for several years, and it is still regarded as one of the safest erectile dysfunction medications on the market. But like any drug, it can cause side effects in some people.

Some common side effects of Viagra include:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Nose bleed
  • Rhinitis
  • Nasal congestion
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Skin redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin rash

The most serious side effects of Viagra include:

  • Cardiovascular events such as chest pain (i.e., angina), heart attack, and arrhythmias (i.e., irregular heartbeats)
  • Severe bleeding (hemorrhage) in the brain, lungs, or eyes
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Painful or prolonged erections (i.e., priapism)
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Priapism (prolonged erection)

Viagra and similar drugs may not be suitable for everyone. Besides side effects, Viagra can cause problems in people with pre-existing conditions.

Other potential problems include potential abuse or overdose. It is always recommended that you speak to your healthcare provider before taking Viagra.

Is Viagra Covered by Insurance?

As with any medication, treatment, or diagnostic test, every health insurance plan has different policies about what they cover. Viagra, in its brand name form, is not covered on insurance plans from most insurance companies.

However, many medicare coverage options and health plans offer insurance coverage for it under their prescription drug coverage.

It is always recommended that you speak with a representative from your insurance company to see what your plan covers and to find out how much the medication would cost.

Have questions about Viagra? Ask a doctor with K Health.
get started

How to Save Money on Viagra

There are many ways to save money on your viagra prescription. Some of these are listed here:

Check for insurance coverage. Often, insurance companies cover much of the cost of prescription drugs. If you are lucky enough to have coverage for prescription medications, then you need to check with your provider to see how much they will cover for Viagra.

Patient Assistance Program. There may be a program that your provider is a member of that offers free or discounted drugs to those who qualify. These patient assistance programs are largely funded by drug companies and can make drugs much more affordable for you. Ask your provider if there’s one available for you, as the application process is typically very simple.

Shop around. Not all pharmacies sell Viagra at the same price. People who buy Viagra should always check with different pharmacies to find the best price. They should also check online stores, as many of them sell Viagra for cheaper than brick-and-mortar establishments.

Buy generic. In some cases, buying sildenafil (the generic for Viagra) is cheaper than Viagra. 

Look for coupons. Check with your local provider to see if there are any coupons or special offers on Viagra. Although this may not end up saving you a lot of money, even a small discount may help you to afford the medication that you need.

Ask for alternative medication. It may be possible to ask your doctor if there are any alternative medications that you can take that will work for you in the same manner as Viagra.

How K Health Can Help

Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed, text with a licensed healthcare professional in minutes. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you buy Viagra over-the-counter?
No, you need a prescription to access Viagra in the United States.
What makes Viagra so expensive?
Pharmaceutical companies are still the main suppliers of Viagra, even though it is available over-the-counter in some countries. This monopoly on supply creates a significant markup for those pharmacies that sell it.
Is sildenafil the same as Viagra?
Sildenafil is the generic version of Viagra and contains the same active ingredient as Viagra. 

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN

Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years experience. He received his Undergraduate and Graduate degrees from William Paterson University and his doctoral degree from Drexel University. He has spent his career working in the Emergency Room and Primary Care. The last 6 years of his career have been dedicated to the field of digital medicine. He has created departments geared towards this specialized practice as well as written blogs and a book about the topic.

K Health logo (used on certain page templates)