Tadalafil Side Effects

What side effects could Tadalafil give you?

Pack of 8 20mg tadalafil film-coated tablets that could cause tadalafil side effects

Key takeaways

  • Tadalafil is a safe medication but some people can get side effects

  • The most common side effect is a headache accounting for 15% of all Tadalafil side effects

  • Being an older man or using higher dosages of Tadalafil make side effects more likely

  • There are some things you can do to reduce your chance of getting side effects

  • What you should do about side effects depends on how severe they are

Contents of this article

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What side effects can Tadalafil give me?

Tadalafil is a safe and reliable medical treatment for erectile dysfunction. As with any medicine, it’s possible that taking it will cause some side effects. However, side effects from Tadalafil will vary from person to person. They are also usually mild to moderate in severity, and many people won’t experience any side effects all. 

Most common side effects – for Tadalafil a headache is the most common, which around 15% of all people who take it will get. Other common side effects (affecting about 1 in 10 users) include: 

  • Back pain 
  • Muscle aches
  • Flushing (redness) of the face
  • Blocked or stuffy nose
  • Indigestion 

Back pain or muscle aches usually happen up to 12-24 hours of taking the medicine, and should go away in 2 days. If your aches don’t go away after 2 days, contact your nurse or doctor for advice. 

Less common side effects – these affect up to 1 in 100 people using Tadalafil and include: 

  • Feeling dizzy or tired
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Eye pain or blurred vision
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Finding blood in your urine
  • Prolonged erections
  • Changes to your blood pressure 
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Swollen hands, ankles or feet
  • Ringing in the ears

Rare side effects – (affecting up to 1 in 1,000 users) are: 

  • Fainting
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Swollen eyelids or red eyes 
  • Loss of hearing
  • Hives (itchy red rash on the skin)
  • Blood from the penis or in semen
  • Sweating 

Other rare side effects that have been reported include – partial or temporary loss of vision, migraine, and heart attack or stroke (although this was mainly in men who had heart problems before taking Tadalafil). These are all rare, and reported outside of clinical trials. 

Emergencies – you should stop taking Tadalafil immediately, and seek immediate medical attention, if you notice any of the following side effects:  

  • Allergic reactions (including skin rashes)
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Priapism (a prolonged erection, lasting more than 4 hours, sometimes painful)
  • Sudden sight loss

Otherwise, make sure to speak to your prescribing nurse or GP before taking your medication. They may advise you to decrease your dosage, or stop taking it entirely. 

Am I likely to get side effects from Tadalafil?

10% chance for most people – it’s possible that you will get side effects from Tadalafil, but it isn’t very likely. Common side effects affect only about 1 in 10 people using it. 

Age affects your chances – Some people are more likely to get side effects than others. This usually depends on age. For example – men over 75 are more likely to report the side effect of dizziness when taking Tadalafil, and men over 65 are more likely to report diarrhoea. 

Higher dosages have a bigger risk – studies have also shown that taking a higher dosage of the drug will increase your chances of getting side effects. Tadalafil comes in three different dosages – 5mg, 10mg and 20mg. Your GP may decide to lower your dosage to help ease any troublesome side effects. 

How can I avoid getting side effects from Tadalafil?

Tips for avoiding side effects – if you are concerned about getting side effects from Tadalafil, there are some things you can do to try to avoid them: 

  • Try taking a lower dosage
  • Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice, which interacts with Tadalafil and increases your risk of getting side effects
  • Avoid excessive alcohol drinking to reduce the risk of dizziness
  • Make sure you wait the right time between doses (usually 24 hours)
  • Avoid taking herbal supplements for erectile dysfunction (unless advised by your nurse or GP) as many will contain trace dosages of PDE-5 inhibitors that can interact with your treatment and cause side effects

For any more specialised advice on avoiding side effects from Tadalafil, discuss your lifestyle choices and diet with your nurse or GP. 

Don’t avoid treatment – a doctor won’t approve Tadalafil for you if they think you’re at risk of serious problems. It’s best to get treatment, even if there’s a chance you could get side effects. Any side effects will most likely be mild and you can always stop using medication if you need to.

What should I do if I get Tadalafil side effects?

You can wait them out – the most common side effects from Tadalafil (headaches, back pains or muscle aches) should appear 12-24 hours after taking the medicine, and should go away after two days. Common side effects are nothing to be alarmed about, unless they are excessive or long-lasting. 

Talk to a medical professional – if your side effects are excessive or long-lasting, you should seek medical advice from your prescribing nurse or GP. They will discuss your options, and ask about your medical history or any other drugs you are taking, to work out whether the symptoms you are having are because of Tadalafil or something else. 

You don’t necessarily need to stop using your medication – don’t feel like you need to stop taking your medication without first discussing it with your prescribing nurse or GP. Always follow the advice that they have given you, unless told otherwise by another licensed medical professional. 

Is it an emergency? – if you are ever in pain or serious discomfort during the course of your Tadalafil treatment, seek immediate medical attention. If you ever experience – an allergic reaction (including skin rashes), sudden chest pain, priapism (a prolonged erection, lasting more than 4 hours), or sudden sight loss, seek emergency medical help from the A&E department of your local hospital.

Is there another option with no side effects?

All erectile dysfunction medications come with side effects – studies have shown that treating erectile dysfunction (ED) with medication like Tadalafil (known as a PDE-5 inhibitor) all causes similar side effects. This means that there shouldn’t be much difference in the effects between different ED drugs, such as Sildenafil. 

Other forms of ED treatments can cause side effects too – penis pumps or other hand-held devices, will come with risks of other side effects, like muscle strain or bruising. 

There are some treatment options with no risk of side effects – talk to your nurse or GP if you are considering alternative forms of treatment for your ED. There are several options available, including some which will have no physical side effects at all (like counselling, or certain lifestyle changes). Medications like Tadalafil are easy to use and get to work quickly and you may find treatments with no side effects are less convenient.

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