Comparing Cialis Vs Viagra

If you're looking for erectile dysfunction treatment then you may have heard of both Cialis and Viagra and not know which one to try. Or you might be looking to switch from one to the other.

Cialis and Viagra can both be effective treatments but they have some important differences that might affect which one is the best choice for you.

Pack of Cialis vs Viagra

Key takeaways

  • Cialis and Viagra are different in a number of key ways, including effective, duration, dosages, how long they last, etc.

  • Cialis and Viagra also have some things in common, like cheaper generics, being the same class of medication, requiring arousal to work, etc.

  • Viagra was invented first and is the more popular medication

  • They are a few things to consider if you to make a choice between them

Contents of this article

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What are the key differences between Cialis and Viagra?

  • Viagra has been available in the UK for much longer in comparison to Cialis
  • The effectiveness of both is similar, although the reported effectiveness of Viagra can be slightly higher at 84% in comparison to 81% for Cialis
  • Cialis (Tadalafil) is available on prescription only, whereas the 50mg dosage of Viagra (Sildenafil), called Viagra Connect (also Sildenafil) is available to purchase over the counter without a prescription
  • Cialis is available in four different dosages (2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg or 20mg) and Viagra in three dosages (25mg, 50mg or 100mg)
  • Cialis can be taken once daily at a lower dosage of 5mg or 2.5mg for men who have sex more than twice a week. There is no ‘daily’ version of Viagra
  • Food doesn’t affect the activity of Cialis. Viagra can have a reduced effect with food, especially after a high fat meal
  • The effects of Cialis are longer and can last between up to 36 hours in comparison to only 4 to 5 hours with Viagra
  • Cialis may be more suitable to use over the weekend and is sometimes called the ‘weekend pill’, as its effects are longer
  • Cialis is also prescribed for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a condition involving the enlargement of the prostate gland.
  • Cialis may potentially cause more side effects or interactions as it lasts longer than Viagra
  • Sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, can be prescribed freely on the NHS, but Cialis and its active ingredient Tadalafil are still restricted

What are the similarities between Cialis and Viagra?

  • They are both classed as PDE5-inhibitors and essentially work in the same way
  • Either one can be used as a first-line treatment for most forms of ED
  • They are both available in their cheaper generic versions, tadalafil or sildenafil
  • They are taken between 30 minutes to 1 hour before sex
  • They require sexual stimulation to work and have no effect on sexual desire
  • They are available to purchase online, but the doctor still needs to confirm your suitability before issuing a prescription online
  • They can cause similar side effects
  • They are usually prescribed at a lower dosage, which can be increased if lower dosages are not effective
  • Either one may need to be taken a few times on separate occasions before it is effective
  • Both have similar contraindications and certain medical conditions for which they are not suitable
  • Both have the potential for misuse – always use an online pharmacy regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Care Quality Commission (CCQ)
  • Despite treatment with either, you should also make suitable lifestyle changes to help manage your ED such as trying to quit smoking or losing weight as well as seeing your GP to investigate any physical causes for ED 

Why is Viagra more well-known than Cialis?

Viagra was invented first – both are popular treatments for ED, but Viagra was invented first in 1998. It was first manufactured by Pfizer who marketed Viagra as the well-known diamond shaped blue pills.  

The Viagra generic was also available first – since the patent Pfizer held for Viagra ended in 2013, the cheaper generic version, sildenafil was made available and was also introduced on the NHS. Both Viagra and sildenafil, have been available longer than Cialis or tadalafil. Cialis has been available since 2003 in the UK.

Pfizer are a bigger company – Eli Lilly are the manufacturing company for Cialis. They are a smaller company who held the patent for Cialis, until its expiry in November 2017. Since then generic tadalafil has become available at a cheaper cost.

Can I try both?

Yes, but not at the same time – they are designed to be taken as a maximum of one dosage once a day.  Serious side effects are rare if you take your treatment correctly as prescribed by your doctor.

There are serious risks to taking them together – it can increase the risk of experiencing serious side effects such as priapism (a prolonged and persistent erection). If you experience an erection that lasts for longer than 4 hours, seek urgent medical attention from your nearest A&E department. If priapism is not treated immediately, it can lead to permanent damage to the penis. Taking them together can also increase your risk of other very serious side effects such as:

  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke 
  • Seizures 
  • Loss of vision 
  • Loss of hearing 
  • Severe skin reactions 
  • Severe allergic reactions

You must seek immediate medical attention or visit your nearest A&E if you experience any of these. See the patient information leaflet provided with your tablets for more information. 

Which should I try first? – which treatment you first try depends on your suitability and personal preference. After you first use it, you can carry on with the same treatment or you can to switch to another depending on your personal experience.

When you should you switch? – it may be worth trying another if you find that one is more effective and causes fewer side effects. Usually, most men respond to treatment after the first or second dosage. Some men may respond after a few more attempts on different occasions. If you find that it is not working for you after eight different attempts, then speak to your doctor to consider another option.

Can you buy both together? – yes, you can try our erectile dysfunction trial pack to test out which one is best for you

How can I tell which one is right for me?

Trying them out is the best way to know which one is right for you.

How will I know it's working? – with either medication, if it was working you would be able to notice firmer and longer lasting erections. With your Cialis or Viagra treatment, you should respond to it after a few separate attempts. Ideally you shouldn’t experience any side effects or at least not have ones that are troublesome.

How will I know if either one is right for me? – getting an assessment done by a doctor will let you know if you are suitable for treatment. This usually involves providing information about your general health such as weight and any current medical conditions, such as diabetes or blood pressure.

How would I decide on the right? – deciding which one is best for you could depend on the following,

  • How long you want its effects to last for
  • Whether you prefer a daily option over one that you take as needed, before sex
  • How often you have sex per week
  • If you have troublesome side effects after trying one

To help you make the best decision and compare which one is better you could:

  • Record your experiences as you try each one  
  • Try taking each one separately, but under the same conditions to minimise any variation
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