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Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022.
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What is Spedra?

Its active ingredient is avanafil, and the brand name is Spedra. The pharmaceutical company Menarini released avanafil under its brand in 2014 and it’s continued to increase in popularity steadily since. Unlike Viagra, which was first researched as a heart medication, avanafil’s use as an erectile dysfunction treatment was the intention from the beginning. 

Spedra or avanafil tablets are clinically proven as an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction on its own merits, but it’s often used by those who have found Viagra hasn’t worked for them. That’s because everyone reacts differently to each medication, so it can be a good alternative option as well as a good starting point. 

Spedra dosages also allow for some leeway. There are three Spedra dosages. Most men will start on 100mg, but prescribers can increase the dosage to 200mg if the desired outcome hasn’t been reached. If you find side effects are an issue on 100mg, then the prescriber can decrease it to 50mg to see if that alleviates the unwanted symptoms. Whichever dosage you use it’s important to remember that Spedra erections are only achieved when you’re sexually aroused, it doesn’t act as an aphrodisiac.

How does Avanafil work?

Like most erectile dysfunction medications, avanafil tablets work by increasing blood flow to the penis. It’s this blood flow that allows an erection to happen. Spedra erections can be achieved quickly, within 15- 30 minutes, so its action is rapid, allowing for some degree of spontaneity.

Spedra belongs to a group of medications known as PDE5 inhibitors. Other drugs that are also under this umbrella include Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. While the mechanism for how these medications work are the same, there are differences between them.

What makes Spedra different?

The main advantage of Spedra, over a treatment like Viagra, is that it starts to work as quickly – at 15 minutes for some men and rarely any longer than 30 minutes. Viagra can take as long as an hour, although it does have some advantages over Spedra, such as a higher efficacy rate .

Spedra’s speed allows for some degree of spontaneity as you can get and maintain an erection quickly. It should be noted that eating a heavy meal before taking most erectile dysfunction medication can slow down their effects.

Is Spedra better than Viagra?

As previously mentioned, each erectile dysfunction treatment has its pros and cons when compared to the others. The obvious pro in favour of Spedra vs Viagra is that it helps you achieve and maintain an erection much quicker.

On the cons side of the comparison, Spedra seems to cause more side effects at the highest dosage, most typically a headache, when compared with Viagra. Although it’s generally very well tolerated by the majority of men that use it .

In studies comparing avanafil vs sildenafil, the two drug’s respective active ingredients, sildenafil (Viagra) was shown to be slightly more effective . As ever with any medication, this can vary greatly from individual to individual, therefore it’s possible that you might find Spedra is better tolerated than Viagra and perhaps more effective.

Spedra the same as Stendra?

Spedra is available in the US but under the brand name Stendra. They are exactly the same medications, they just have different brand names. This happens a lot with treatments for erectile dysfunction and is essentially only a marketing difference.

Stendra in the USA was released in 2014, with Spedra in the UK cleared for use in 2013 and subsequently also released in 2014.

How to take Spedra

It’s always important to read Spedra’s instructions before using it. This way you can get the most out of the treatment with the minimum risk of side effects. 

The best way to take Spedra is 15-30 minutes before sex, so a little forethought is needed.

  • Swallow the pill with water
  • Take 15-30 minutes before sex
  • You will need to be sexually aroused for it to work
  • It can be taken with or without food
  • Food might slow down its effects, especially heavy or fatty meals

Following the instructions that come with the medication will ensure that you get the most out of it while also reducing the risks of side effects. If you have any doubts about how to take Spedra, speak with your prescribing clinician, who can give you advice about any aspect of the treatment.

How long does Spedra take to work?

The main advantage of Spedra over most of the other ED treatments is it gets to work quickly. In fact, some men can benefit from its effects in as quickly as 15 minutes, which can allow for greater spontaneity.

It’s unusual for Spedra to take any longer than 30 minutes to work, but if you’ve had a heavy meal before taking it, it might slow its effects considerably. If you’re noticing the medication isn’t as prompt or effective as you’d like, speak to your prescriber, as a stronger dosage might be recommended. 

How long does Spedra last?

So it gets to work very quickly, but how long is Spedra effective? As usual, that depends on a number of circumstances, but typically you can expect Spedra to last for around four hours. This will usually be plenty of time to engage in sexual intercourse without having to constantly worry that the medication will wear off. 

You might also want to know how long avanafil lasts in the body. Avanafil half life (which measures a drug’s longevity) is short at five hours, but you shouldn’t exceed one pill per 24-hours

If you’re not getting the full effects from Spedra regarding its longevity, speak with your prescribing clinician who might be able to increase the dosage or suggest another treatment, whichever is more suitable for you.

How well does Avanafil work?

Clinical trials for Spedra efficacy have shown positive results . Spedra’s effectiveness is measured in both its longer term effects, over the course of a few hours, and its ability to get to work quickly, within 15-30 minutes.

While trials prove it can be highly effective, there is no guarantee that it will work for you. This might be for several reasons, including whether or not you’re sexually stimulated. No erectile dysfunction treatment can work without sexual stimulation, so this is something to bear in mind before using.

Spedra and food: should I take it with or without a meal?

Spedra can be taken with or without food. For most men, there will be no negative effects either way. That’s not to say that food won’t have an effect on how the medication works, so its relationship with food is still something to consider.

Taking Spedra on a full stomach will likely slow down the effects of the medication. It can take even longer if the meal you’ve just had was heavy, large in volume or contained high amounts of fat. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you and the needs of the situation. If you’re in no hurry, then having a meal before taking Spedra will make little difference, but for spontaneous use, a large meal is best avoided.

Can I drink alcohol if I take Spedra?

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t combine Spedra and alcohol. Firstly, alcohol and Spedra both lower blood pressure, so when combined, this can lead to dizziness, headaches and palpitations. This is particularly an issue if you consume large amounts of alcohol.

The other point to consider is that alcohol is a primary cause of erectile dysfunction. Alcohol interferes with the messages sent between the brain and the penis, which can prevent blood flow getting to where it’s needed in order to get or maintain an erection. 

For most, having a small amount of alcohol will unlikely cause any issues, but it’s generally considered best avoided when using Spedra.

If alcohol is causing your erectile dysfunction problems, speak with your doctor. They may be able to help you deal with the root of the condition and potentially reduce your need for ED medication. 

How often can I take Spedra?

Spedra shouldn’t be taken more than once within a 24 hour period, as the drug can build up in the system and become a health risk. 

If you’re noticing that your Spedra frequency of use is exceeding this, speak with your prescribing clinician. There are other treatments available that can be used more frequently or with longer-lasting effects.

What if Spedra doesn’t work?

If you find that Spedra isn’t working for you there are several options that might be suggested to you by your prescribing clinician. 

Firstly, if you’re taking 50mg or 100mg, there’s a possibility that your dosage can be increased. The starting dosage is usually 100mg, which can be increased to 200mg if needed. The lower dose of 50mg is usually only prescribed if there is a risk of side effects. 

If an increase in the strength of Spedra is unsuitable or not possible, there are several other medications you might be offered. Other PDE5 inhibitors include Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil). Each treatment works slightly differently even though they belong to the same group of medications.

Lastly, there are other types of erectile dysfunction treatments to try. These include Caverject, Muse, Viridal Duo and Vitaros (all of which contain the active ingredient alprostadil) and Invicorp (avipatadil/phentolamine mesilate).

Some of these treatments are creams, others are injections and others are suppositories. Your prescribing clinician can advise you on the pros and cons of each treatment before you choose an alternative to Spedra.

Remember to only take Spedra or Avanafil as your clinician advises. If you have any questions while you're taking it, just log into your account and send us a message.

Can you get generic Avanafil?

A Spedra generic isn’t available at the moment. Medication patents last for up to 15 years, this allows manufacturers to try and make back some of the outgoings from the pre-market research and clinical trials stages into the drug. 

Once the patent expires, other manufacturers can apply to produce the drug under its generic name. The generic tends to be at a slightly lower price point. 

When will generic Spedra be available?

Spedra by Menarini, the manufacturer of the drug, will likely lose its patent in 2025, at which point avanafil generic named products will become available on the market, and potentially at a significantly cheaper price.

In the meantime, you can only get Spedra in its branded form.

Do I need a prescription for Spedra?


It’s not possible to get Spedra over the counter. This is due to the fact that its use requires some monitoring from a doctor, particularly at the start of use where the dosage may need to be adjusted. 

While Spedra is thought to be very safe for the majority of men, aftercare is an important part of the treatment, which would not be possible with an over the counter medication. At present, there is no avanafil over the counter product.

Can women take Avanafil?

Spedra is not suitable for use in women. In fact, not only might its use present a serious health risk, there’s no benefit in taking it in the first place.

Female sexual dysfunction, also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is a condition that has its own treatments. If you’re suffering from the condition, speak with your doctor about the various options available. 

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This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

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