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Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil: What is the Difference?

Written by: Jack Health Team
Reviewed by: Sarah Bento-De Sousa PharmD. RPh

Understanding the nuances between sildenafil citrate and sildenafil can be pivotal for those navigating health concerns and looking for effective treatment options. This article aims to demystify these terms and provide clear, actionable information.

What is Sildenafil Citrate?

Sildenafil citrate is a powerful medication. As the active ingredient in popular drugs like Viagra, it works by inhibiting enzymes that regulate blood flow, thus facilitating erections in response to sexual arousal. 

Beyond its primary use in addressing ED, sildenafil citrate is also prescribed for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension, a condition characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Its ability to enhance blood flow and relieve the symptoms of these conditions has made it a cornerstone medication in sexual health and hypertension management.

How Does It Work?

Sildenafil citrate operates by targeting the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), predominantly found in the penis. By inhibiting this enzyme, sildenafil citrate enhances blood flow to the penis, a crucial mechanism for achieving and maintaining an erection. This process is facilitated through the relaxation of blood vessel walls, which allows for increased blood flow upon sexual arousal. 

Furthermore, in the context of pulmonary arterial hypertension, sildenafil citrate reduces the blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries by relaxing and widening the blood vessels in the lungs. This dual action not only improves erectile function but also alleviates the symptoms associated with high blood pressure in the lungs, showcasing its versatility as a medication.

What is Sildenafil?

Sildenafil is a widely recognized medication. It belongs to a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. By enhancing blood flow to the penis, sildenafil aids in facilitating erections when a man experiences sexual arousal. 

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Additionally, sildenafil is prescribed for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a health condition characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries that supply the lungs. Its application in both sexual health and cardiovascular management underscores its importance in contemporary medical treatments, offering significant benefits to those it serves.

If you’re considering sildenafil as a treatment option, you might wonder about the process of obtaining it. For a comprehensive guide on acquiring this medication, explore our detailed article on how to get sildenafil.

How Does It Work?

Sildenafil functions by inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5), which is found in various parts of the body, including the penis and the lungs. This inhibition leads to an increase in cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) levels, a substance that relaxes smooth muscle tissues and enhances blood flow. In the context of erectile dysfunction, this improved blood flow to the penis supports the development and maintenance of an erection in response to sexual stimulation. 

For pulmonary arterial hypertension, sildenafil helps to lower blood pressure in the lungs by widening the blood vessels, facilitating better blood flow and reducing the heart’s workload. Through these mechanisms, sildenafil effectively manages symptoms of ED and PAH, improving quality of life for those affected by these conditions.

Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil

The main difference between sildenafil citrate and sildenafil lies in the terminology. Sildenafil citrate is the chemical name for the active ingredient in the medication, while sildenafil refers to the drug itself, marketed under various brand names like Viagra.

Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil Uses

Sildenafil citrate and sildenafil share identical uses in the medical field. Despite the different nomenclature, sildenafil citrate—the active ingredient and sildenafil, the medication itself, offer the same beneficial effects across these key health concerns, demonstrating their versatility and importance in treatment strategies.

Treatment 

The difference between sildenafil citrate and sildenafil is more nominal than functional. Sildenafil citrate refers to the chemical form of the drug, which is the active ingredient responsible for the medication’s effects on the body. Sildenafil, on the other hand, is the name given to the medication itself when it is used in treatment.

Both terms often refer to the same treatment approach, focusing on enhancing blood flow to the penis to facilitate and maintain an erection.

In treatment terms, there is no practical difference in how sildenafil citrate and sildenafil are used to treat ED. They both operate by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme, leading to increased blood flow to the penis and aiding in achieving an erection in response to sexual stimulation.

The effectiveness, dosage, side effects and safety profile remain consistent whether the product is referred to by its chemical name (sildenafil citrate) or simply as sildenafil. The choice between using one term over the other often comes down to context—whether discussing the drug in scientific terms (sildenafil citrate) or its application in medical treatments (sildenafil).

Arterial Hypertension

In the treatment of arterial hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), the distinction between sildenafil citrate and sildenafil mirrors their application in erectile dysfunction—it is largely terminological rather than functional. 

Sildenafil citrate is the chemical compound that acts as the active ingredient, while sildenafil is the medication name when prescribed for health conditions.

Both sildenafil citrate and sildenafil are utilized to treat PAH by relaxing the blood vessels in the lungs, which allows the blood to flow more easily, thereby reducing the blood pressure within these vessels. 

This effect on blood flow and pressure helps to alleviate symptoms associated with PAH, such as shortness of breath during exercise, fatigue and chest pain.

The effectiveness in treating PAH, dosage requirements, potential side effects and overall safety considerations remain consistent whether the treatment is referred to as sildenafil citrate or sildenafil. 

The active ingredient’s action—inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme in the lung vasculature—does not change based on the terminology used. Therefore, the difference between the two terms is primarily in how they are referenced, with no variation in their application for managing arterial hypertension.

Understanding how to obtain Viagra, the brand name version of sildenafil, can be just as important as knowing its uses. For insights and steps on acquiring Viagra, read our informative guide on how to get Viagra.

Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil Generic Versions

The discussion around sildenafil citrate versus sildenafil often extends into the realm of generic versions of these medications. While sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient used in both brand name and generic drugs, sildenafil is commonly referred to in the context of generic formulations as well as the original brand name product, such as Viagra. 

Generic versions of sildenafil aim to provide the same therapeutic effects as the brand name counterpart by containing the identical active ingredient (sildenafil citrate). The primary difference between brand name and generic versions lies in the cost and packaging; generics tend to be significantly more affordable and may come in different packaging.

Sildenafil vs. Sildenafil Citrate Active Ingredients

In the comparison between sildenafil and sildenafil citrate regarding active ingredients, it’s crucial to understand that they are essentially the same from a chemical and pharmacological standpoint.

Sildenafil citrate is the chemical name for the active ingredient found in sildenafil-based medications, including the well-known brand name drug, Viagra, as well as its generic versions. 

There is no difference in the active ingredient between sildenafil citrate and sildenafil; the distinction lies in the terminology used to describe the compound versus the medication.

Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil Dosage

The main difference in dosage stems from individual health needs and doctor recommendations, ensuring the treatment is tailored to the patient.

Viagra is the brand name of sildenafil, which is manufactured and sold by Pfizer. The active ingredient is sildenafil citrate. Viagra comes in three doses: 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg.

Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil Price

The main difference in price reflects the brand name versus generic debate, with generics often being more budget-friendly. For a package of four Viagra pills, with each pill at 100 milligrams, the new price is about $37.

Ways to Maximize the Effectiveness of the Drugs

Diet

Adopting a specific diet to increase the effectiveness of sildenafil involves focusing on foods that naturally enhance blood flow and vascular health. Incorporating heart-healthy foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, avocados and nuts, can improve cardiovascular health and blood flow, potentially boosting sildenafil’s efficacy.

Stop Smoking

Quitting smoking is a significant step to increase the effectiveness of sildenafil in treating erectile dysfunction. Smoking is known to constrict blood vessels and impair blood flow, which can reduce the efficacy of sildenafil.

Avoid Alcohol

Avoiding alcohol is crucial to enhancing the effectiveness of sildenafil. Alcohol is a depressant that can impair function and inhibit the medication’s ability. Consuming alcohol before or after taking sildenafil can reduce its efficacy.

Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil: Which One is Right for Me?

Generic Viagra (sildenafil) and Viagra are the same medication and the active ingredient is sildenafil citrate in both drugs. The main difference between these two drugs is the cost. Generic drugs are always less expensive than branded drugs.

Deciding between sildenafil and Viagra often raises questions about prescriptions. For detailed information on whether you need a prescription for Viagra and how to discuss this with your healthcare provider, check out our article on getting a prescription for Viagra.

Key Takeaways

  • Sildenafil Citrate vs. Sildenafil Terminology: The main difference lies in terminology; sildenafil citrate is the chemical name for the active ingredient, while sildenafil refers to the medication itself. 
  • Application in Medical Conditions: Despite the nomenclature, sildenafil citrate and sildenafil share identical uses. Their effectiveness, dosage and side effects are consistent across both terms.
  • Generic vs. Brand Name Considerations: Generic versions of sildenafil offer the same therapeutic effects as the brand name products like Viagra, at a more affordable cost. The active ingredient remains the same (sildenafil citrate), ensuring bio-equivalence in efficacy and safety between generics and brand names.
  • Lifestyle Modifications for Enhanced Effectiveness: Adopting a healthy diet, quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol can significantly increase the effectiveness of sildenafil. These lifestyle changes not only boost the medication’s performance but also contribute to overall better health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Both Sildenafil Citrate and Sildenafil Be Used for the Same Medical Conditions?

Yes, both sildenafil citrate and sildenafil can be prescribed for the same medical conditions. 

Is There a Difference in Effectiveness Between Sildenafil Citrate and Sildenafil?

No significant difference in effectiveness exists between sildenafil citrate and sildenafil. The effect of the medication on conditions is primarily based on the dosage and individual response rather than the name under which it is sold.

Are Sildenafil Citrate and Sildenafil the Same?

Essentially, yes. Sildenafil citrate refers to the chemical compound that is the active ingredient, while sildenafil is the drug name used when it is sold as a medication for treating specific health conditions.

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