Viagra is a wonder drug used to treat Erectile Dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. Like all other drugs, the active ingredients of Viagra remain stable for a specific period, known as the shelf life, after which drug’s efficacy starts to decrease.
Pharmacists recommend taking the drugs within one year of prescription to benefit from maximum drug effectiveness. However, the expiration dates mentioned on the drugs are mostly arbitrary. Therefore, once past the expiration date, Viagra might be less effective but not harmful to take.
What Is Meant by Shelf Life of Viagra?
The shelf life of Viagra determines its expiry date. It is the period during which Viagra remains useable and effective. Although the shelf lives are mostly arbitrary and lie between 1-5 years of manufacture, the drug’s effectiveness starts to decline past its expiry date. (1)
What Is Viagra? How Does It Work?
Viagra is a famous brand name for the drug “Sildenafil.” It is a phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor that improves blood flow to the erectile muscles of the penis, initiates, and maintains a satisfactory erection in men with Erectile dysfunction. (2)
Upon sexual arousal, penile nerves are stimulated, which sends signals to the brain. Further signals from the brain cause dilation of veins carrying blood to the penis—consequently, the blood flow to the penis increases leading to an erection.
Failure of the veins to dilate or any other cause of inadequate blood flow to the penis presents with Erectile Dysfunction. PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra cause smooth muscle relaxation and vasodilation, promoting blood to the penis. Hence, you get a satisfactory erection.
Remember that Viagra is only effective when taken during sexual arousal. Moreover, one should take Viagra 30-60 minutes before the sexual activity. The effect of the drug lasts for almost 4-6 hours, depending on the dosage. Oral Viagra tablet is available in doses of 25, 50, and 100 mg.
The Shelf Life of Viagra- How Long Does It Last?
Officially, the shelf life of Viagra is almost two years. (3) With time, molecules of the active components of drug break down, reducing the drug’s overall effectiveness. The effectiveness of drug decreases past its expiration date.
However, to date, no side effects have been reported with the intake of expired Viagra. After the shelf life, Viagra sill continues to exert its impact weaker than the fresh dose. The older the drug gets, the less effective it becomes. After five years of manufacture, Viagra becomes inert! (4)
Can We Extend the Shelf Life of Viagra?
At low temperature, molecular breakdown of active compounds of Viagra decreases, extending the shelf life of the drug. Therefore, storage in cool places like the refrigerator can help extend the mean life of Viagra.
Furthermore, high heat and humidity content of storage cabins render then unsuitable for drug storage. Properly store the drug in cool and dry places to preserve and extend its shelf life. (5)
Potency and Efficacy of Viagra After Shelf Life
Similar to other medications, potency, and efficacy of Viagra starts to decrease from the moment it’s manufactured. However, the process is not spontaneous and continues at the same pace, even after the drug’s shelf life has passed.
The expiration date is the marker of how long the labeled potency of Viagra will last, which is usually two years. However, until five years, the drug maintains 90 percent of its original strength. (6)
According to the universal rule, one should not take a rug past its expiration date. There can be two extremes. Either the drug won’t work efficiently, or it might produce some serious side effects.
Viagra inhibits PDE5 promoting smooth muscle relaxation and increased blood flow to the penis. However, once the expiration date has passed, the process might not take place effectively. Viagra might lose its inhibiting effect on the enzyme.
So, if you take expired Viagra, you might not be able to treat Erectile Dysfunction and have improved sexual performance.
This means that you can still enjoy the effects of Viagra, even past its mean life, but with reduced efficacy.
Although an expired Viagra can be of no help to your penis, you must not worry about any extreme side effects. The common side effects include: (7)
- Nasal Congestion
How to Dispose of Expired Viagra
It is better not to dispose of any expired medication, including Viagra, by merely throwing it in a bin. The best way is to take the expired Viagra to a pharmacy so they can safely dispose of it.
Although taking expired Viagra does not have any severe side-effects, taking one wouldn’t do any good to your penis either. You won’t achieve satisfactory erections so that the medication won’t be worth the effort!