Erectile dysfunction

What’s the Shelf Life of Viagra?

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Medically approved by Dr Earim Chaudry
Chief Medical Officer
iconLast updated 19th August 2021
In 30 seconds…

Does Viagra expire? Yes, but you have about two years before it exceeds its shelf life. Beyond this, there is no guarantee that it will be effective in combating your erectile dysfunction (ED).

As with all medicines, the precisescribble-underline Viagra shelf life will depend on how you store it – at what temperature, in what humidity, and at what light levels. The cooler and the drier, the better.

In general, it’s not a good idea to take expired Viagra, so do check the label. What happens if you do? Nothing very much. But when we’re talking about ED, that’s exactly the reason not to bother.

Does Viagra Expire?

Does Viagra expire? Like all drugs, Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) can and will expire. Given that Sildenafil is an active chemical agent, it’s inevitable that its potency and reliability will deteriorate over time. No medicine lasts forever – and taking a drug that is ineffective is not really worth the effort.

Of course, this applies to medical treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) too. When ED can come with so many frustrations and psychological difficulties to begin with, taking a treatment that you know will actually work is your best option.

It works for 80% of men suffering from ED. But the further beyond the Viagra shelf life you take it, however, the less effective it will be. This applies to other ED treatments, such as Tadalafil, too.

So, what is the shelf life of Viagra? And what happens if you take the ED drug after its expiry date? In this article, we’ll be discussing the answers.

What’s the Shelf Life of Viagra?

Viagra’s shelf life expires usually two years after you have bought the drug. As with every medicine, you should see an expiry date written on the side of the pack in which you bought it.

However, no drug’s expiry date is actually precise down to the given day. The two-year shelf life for Viagra is only the time in which the manufacturer can guarantee its normal efficacy and safety. Really, the Viagra shelf life will depend on how you store your drugs.

You’ll see that the documentation that comes with your ED medicines will tell you to store them in a cool, dark place – and, importantly, out of the reach of children. The cooler and the drier, the better – as these conditions prevent the chemical breakdown of the Sildenafil from being accelerated.

Below 30⁰C is ideal, whilst a fridge is probably best if you are serious about making it last. Warm and wet, and you’re looking at a much shorter Viagra shelf life. 

Unfortunately, no specific length can be given to the shelf life of Viagra. As a rule of thumb, if you are leaving the drug any longer than two years, don’t be surprised if it isn’t as effective as you would like.

What If You Take Expired Viagra?

As a very simple rule, you shouldn’t take medication that has expired. In the best-case scenario, it just won’t work very well – if at all. In the worst, you’ll find yourself feeling really quite unwell.

Viagra – like most other medicine treatments for ED – works by targeting an enzyme, PDE5, which regulates blood flow in the penis by controlling the smooth muscle contraction in blood vessels. By inhibiting this enzyme, blood flow is easier and this can result in firmer erections for those who have ED.

If you take Viagra past its expiry date, there is no guarantee that this process will work as effectively. The molecular composition of its active substance, Sildenafil, will begin to break down over time – and it may not have the inhibiting effect on this enzyme that it was designed to have.

So, what happens if you take expired Viagra? Potentially, nothing. But this is not great if you are relying on it to combat your ED. To ensure that it will actually help your performance, make sure it’s in date before relying on it.

Expired Viagra Side Effects

Whilst the chances are that expired Viagra will do nothing for you or your erections, you don’t need to worry about specific side effects associated with taking it after its expiry date. The side effects of Viagra instead remain the same: dizziness, headaches, indigestion, and, in rare cases, priapism. These are no more likely as a result of expired Viagra than they are when the drug is within its shelf life.

Some men reason that, if Viagra’s efficacy is reduced as it ages, so are the chances of its side effects. Of course, this is true. Yet, deliberately taking expired Viagra to attempt to avoid the side effects is not a clever strategy at all. Just because it is less effective, it doesn’t mean it is not effective at all.

Again, expired Viagra is best left untouched.

How to Dispose of Expired Viagra?

If you find that your Viagra does expire, or if you have lots of expired medication in general at home, don’t just throw them in the bin or down the toilet. It’s not good for anyone if the planet is swimming in unwanted meds. Instead, dispose of your expired Viagra by taking it to a pharmacy.

Pharmacies in the UK will have a waste disposal contract and will be able to safely accept old and expired medicines to dispose of. Simply bag them up and take them down to the shop. It saves you hanging onto lots of drugs that you can’t use.

Key Takeaways…

The official Viagra shelf life is two years, but this isn’t true across the board for generic unbranded Sildenafil providers – because some have differing shelf lives. However, this is only the period in which Viagra can be guaranteed to remain as effective and safe as intended. Depending on storage conditions, Sildenafil may remain effective for longer than this – but there is no guarantee on exactly how long.

Regardless, the worst case scenario when taking expired Viagra is that it won’t help you achieve an erection. Given that this is the point of ED medication, it isn’t worth the effort. Stick to the shelf life.

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While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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