What are the side effects of Cialis?

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Medically reviewed by

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Last reviewed: 13 Jan 2022

Contents
 

If you take Cialis to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), find out about the side effects and how to manage them.

What are the side effects of Cialis?

Like most medications, you can get side effects from taking Cialis. The short and long term side effects of Cialis will vary between individuals. Some may experience no side effects whereas others may struggle to cope with the side effects. Reports from those who have used Cialis show that the side effects are usually mild to moderate.

Only around 1 to 10% of people will have side effects from taking Cialis. Common side effects include muscle aches and pains, a blocked nose, indigestion, and a flushed face. There are more serious side effects that require medical attention. If you notice any side effects, you should speak to your doctor who will advise you on how to manage them.

What are the most common side effects of Cialis?

Side effects can be labelled common, uncommon and rare. This is recorded by the number of people who have the side effect when taking the medication in trials and over time. Below are some of the most common side effects of Cialis, as well as the uncommon and rare side effects too.

Most common side effects (affect 1 to 10 in every 100 users) include:

  • a stuffy/blocked nose
  • flushed (red) face
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • muscles aches
  • pain in your arms, legs or back

Uncommon side effects (affect 1 to 10 in every 1000 users) include:

  • a prolonged erection
  • breathing problems
  • blood in urine
  • blurred vision or eye pain
  • changes to blood pressure levels
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • high heart rate
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nose bleeds
  • stomach ache
  • swollen hands, feet or ankles
  • tiredness or fatigue

Rare side effects (affect 1 to 10 in every 10,000 users) include:

  • blood in semen
  • fainting
  • hearing loss
  • itchy skin or rash (hives)
  • memory loss
  • seizures
  • sweating

Other rare side effects that can occur at a very low (unrecorded) rate include migraines, serious skin rashes, severe allergic reactions, stroke, or heart attack. If you have any side effects you should contact your doctor so they can give you advice on how to manage them. They will tell you if you need to change your dosage or medication.

Can you get any serious side effects from Cialis?

Some serious side effects may occur from taking Cialis. If you have any of these side effects, you should stop taking your medication right away and seek emergency medical help.

These include:

  • an allergic reaction, including a skin rash
  • a prolonged or painful erection (known as ‘priapism’) that lasts more than 4 hours
  • sudden pain in your chest
  • sudden loss of vision

If you have any other severe or painful side effects from using Cialis, then you should stop taking your medication right away and seek urgent medical attention.

Are there any long term side effects of taking Cialis?

Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise the side effects of taking Cialis, and it can be even harder to identify the short and long term side effects. If you’re in doubt, you should speak to your doctor. They should be able to help you and they’ll let you know if your symptoms are anything to worry about.

Overall, side effects are rare and most agree that the lasting results and the effectiveness of Cialis outweigh the side effects. If common side effects last for a long period, they could be classed as long term side effects.

Every person is unique and will be able to tolerate different levels of discomfort. If you do have any unusual symptoms, think about the timing. If the symptoms have come on shortly after starting the medication, then it’s most likely a short term side effect. If you’re unsure, remember a doctor will be able to give you the best answer and advice.

Are other treatments less likely to cause side effects?

There are other medications that are similar to Cialis, such as Viagra, Viagra Connect and Sildenafil. The best way to find a treatment that works best for you and causes minimal side effects is by trying it.

It’s possible that other medications could cause fewer side effects compared to Cialis, but they may also be less effective at treating your erectile dysfunction. Talking to your doctor will allow you to weigh up the pros and cons of your treatment options, which could help you decide on which one to try next.

The only ED treatments that are likely to be free from side effects will be non-medical treatments.

These include:

  • lifestyle changes (following a healthy diet, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, and regular exercise).
  • psychological treatments (like counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy).

To decide which form of ED treatment is best for you, speak to your nurse or doctor for more information about your available options.

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos graduated from the University of London in 2006. He did his postgraduate training in hospitals in the London area, and he trained for four years in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery before completing his training in General practice in 2015.

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Last reviewed: 13 Jan 2022

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