What are the side effects of Cialis?

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Medically reviewed by

Dr Nicholas Antonakopoulos

Last reviewed: 11 Jul 2022

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

Contents
 

How to avoid the side effects of Cialis

It is not always possible to avoid the side effects of medication but most of the time your body gets used to the treatment and side effects will go away on their own. If your side effects are bothering you a lot, you should speak to your doctor. They can help you to manage any side effects and may discuss lowering your dose.

Cialis usually comes in 10mg tablets, but if your side effects are bothering you or not going away, you may be able to take Cialis Daily 5mg tablets. Your doctor can discuss this with you in more detail so you can find the best ED treatment for you. You should also let your doctor know if your medications change as this could cause side effects.

Take Cialis exactly as your doctor has prescribed. If you take more than you should, it will not be more effective but you are more at risk of side effects. If you get side effects like a headache or a flushed face, you should lower the dose or stop taking it altogether until you’ve spoken to your doctor. You should also avoid alcohol.

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.

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Things you can do to help you make the treatment most effective

To make Cialis most effective you should take it as directed by your doctor or on your medication packet. When taking Cialis 10mg tablets, make sure to take it at least 30 minutes before sex. If you take a Cialis Daily tablet, you should take it at the same time every day. This helps to keep the levels of Cialis steady in your body.

You should also avoid alcohol whilst using Cialis, especially if you find it is not working as it should or causing side effects. Alcohol can cause a headache and make it harder for you to increase the blood flow to your penis, even if you take Cialis. It can also lower your blood pressure, which could cause you to feel dizzy or faint.

You should try to stay relaxed when using the treatment and make sure you are sexually aroused to get the best effect. When taking Cialis, avoid eating a heavy meal or one full of fatty or greasy foods. This could cause Cialis to take longer to work and could affect how well it works. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice if you take Cialis, as this can increase the levels of the medication in your body, which could increase the risk of side effects.

Is it ok to take Cialis for a long period of time?

If the treatment is working for you and you do not have side effects that bother you, Cialis can be used for as long as you need it. You should not take it more than once a day. Cialis can last between 30 minutes and 36 hours after taking a tablet, so you may not need to take Cialis more than once or twice a week, depending on how often you want to have sex.

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: 11 Jul 2022

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