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How Long Does Viagra Last?

Do you have medication in your medicine cabinet that has passed its expiration date? We all do. When that happens, it can be hard to be sure if the medicine is still good. With a drug like Viagra, this is especially important, as you want it to be fully effective when you need it. So how long does Viagra maintain its effectiveness? The answer is that to ensure the full effectiveness of the drug, you need to take it within one to two years of prescription. [Español]

The Latest Studies on the Shelf Life and Effectiveness of Prescription Medications

In 2019, a group of British scientists published the results of a study that indicated that many drugs remain stable and effective beyond their printed expiration date, even when not maintained in strictly controlled conditions.

The scientists, part of the British Antarctic Survey, were interested in the effect that shelf life had on medicine as they are responsible for the care of researchers in very remote areas. The Antarctic bases that the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit serves often only receive resupply once a year and the drugs that are supplied are often subjected to wild temperature fluctuations.

To determine whether the medications being supplied to the bases in the Antarctic remained safe and effective over the course of a year, the researchers tested a wide array of drugs for their stability over time. Their results showed that all tested drugs remained stable over the year even with the temperature fluctuations.

Viagra, Shelf Life, and Effectiveness

While the British Antarctic study did not specifically study Viagra, some of the researcher’s conclusions may still be valid for the drug and its generic counterpart, sildenafil. The study supports the earlier work of the Shelf Life Extension Program run by the United States military which has found that most drugs remain effective after the printed expiration date on the label.

So what does this mean for Viagra, specifically? What lowers the effectiveness of many drugs, including Viagra, over time, is the breakdown of molecules that make up the active ingredient. This is the compound sildenafil nitrate. Generic Viagra is sold as sildenafil.

Most users will not subject their Viagra to the wild temperature fluctuations of shipment from the UK to Antarctica. This means that if stored properly, Viagra can remain effective for more than a year. While the general recommendation is to take Viagra within one year for full effectiveness, a 2002 European study of the molecular stability of sildenafil found that “2-years shelf life is acceptable for [sildenafil] when the product is stored below 30 degrees C.” This is the equivalent to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Happens Over Time to Viagra?

Viagra, and sildenafil, like any drug, lose their effectiveness over time as the molecules in the drug break down.  Depending on how you store your prescription for Viagra, this may mean that for full effectiveness you will need to take the medication within one year of prescription; after that point, Viagra will be less effective. As time passes, Viagra will become less and less effective. By five years from its manufacture date, it will be completely inert and you won’t get any benefit.

Can You Do Anything to Extend the Effective Life of Viagra?

We know that at times you will use more of your erectile dysfunction medication and at times you will use less. You’d like your prescription to last as long as possible. So is there anything you can do to help it last longer?

Research has shown that lower, controlled temperatures will help extend the effective life of many medications. Exposure of medicines to storage in high temperatures means a faster breakdown of the molecules that make the drug effective. As the previous study noted, you need to keep Viagra at below 30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit without major temperature fluctuations.

The research also indicates that exposing Viagra to strong light will speed up the breakdown of the active ingredients in Viagra/sildenafil, indicating that the medication should always be stored in an opaque bottle in a dark place.

Some sites will recommend that you keep your Viagra in the refrigerator to extend its effectiveness even further. There is not, however, readily available scientific evidence that this will help. What is clear is that the bathroom is not the best place to store your medications, even though it is the most common choice for most people.

Bathrooms get hot from showers and baths, and both heat and temperature fluctuations can reduce the effectiveness of your Viagra. Your best bet is to keep Viagra in a cool, dark place that does not experience temperature changes, such as your linen closet.

Are There Risks to Taking Expired Viagra?

You probably won’t experience problems other than lower effectiveness levels.  The only side effects that may come from taking expired Viagra are the same side effects that you would experience from full-strength Viagra. These may include bladder pain, burning in the chest, stomach or skin, problems with urination, or stomach upset.

If you take Viagra more than a year after the prescription date, there will simply be less of the active ingredient in it to affect you, and so those side effects may be milder.  You should still not take Viagra, even “expired” Viagra, if you have a severe reaction to a full dose.

Is It Time for a New Prescription? Talk to a Physician for Free

If you have further questions about name-brand Viagra or generic sildenafil, its best to talk to a doctor. At eDrugstore.com, we offer free medical consultations with licensed doctors in the U.S. who can answer your questions and talk to you about what medications are right for you.

If you want to purchase Viagra with maximum convenience and discretion, check us out eDrugstore.com. With our licensed physicians and pharmacists, we have been dispensing Viagra quickly, discreetly, and cost-effectively for over 20 years. There’s simply no reason to suffer any longer with ED.

Elizabeth Nichols is an experienced and flexible author with extensive experience in both popular media and academic publishing. She specializes in health, medical and travel writing.