Tadalafil (generic Cialis) is a prescription only medication used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. It is effective for up to 36 hours after taking it.
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Tadalafil is an erectile dysfunctin treatment which contains the active ingredient tadalafil. Tadalafil has the same long-lasting effect of Cialis, up to 36 hours, but it costs less because it no longer has to be sold under the brand name.
Tadalafil tablets are available in 10mg or 20mg doses. You can also get 2.5mg and 5mg tablets which you take daily.
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Tadalafil is a medication used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is when you find it difficult to get and maintain an erection during sex.
Taking tadalafil before having sex will help you to get and keep an erection. You must be sexually stimulated for tadalafil to work.
Remember that tadalafil will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can avoid STIs by practising safe sex, including using condoms. If you need more information, talk to your healthcare professional.
Tadalafil is a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor. When you are sexually aroused, the blood vessels in the penis expand, allowing more blood in. This causes an erection.
If you have erectile dysfunction, this reaction may not last long enough.
Tadalafil works by relaxing your blood vessels which then increases blood flow into your penis.
This makes it easier to get and maintain an erection. You need to be sexually stimulated for tadalafil to work, so it might be helpful to engage in foreplay with your partner before taking tadalafil.
To take tadalafil:
- the usual starting dose is one 10mg tablet
- swallow one tablet with water at least 30 minutes before having sex
- make sure you’re sexually stimulated when you take tadalafil
If the effect of the 10mg tablet is not strong enough, speak to your doctor and they may give you 20mg tablets instead.
Avoid drinking lots of alcohol as this can make tadalafil less effective when you take it.
You should also avoid drinking grapefruit juice when taking tadalafil as this can interfere with how it works.
It’s important that you do not take more than one tadalafil tablet a day. If you take too much tadalafil, please get in touch with your doctor straight away. You may experience side effects if you take too much tadalafil.
For more information, you can read the patient information leaflet.
Tadalafil can be effective for up to 36 hours after taking it.
If you’re taking the 10mg dose and find it’s not effective enough, speak to your doctor. A 20mg dose is available, which you can be prescribed.
It’s important to remember tadalafil will only be effective with sexual stimulation.
Common side effects of tadalafil:
- back pain
- muscle aches
- nasal congestion
- facial flushing
- pain in your arms and legs
Uncommon side effects of tadalafil:
- stomach ache
- eye pain
- blurred vision
- difficulty breathing
- blood in your urine
- prolonged erection
- fast heartbeat
- pounding heartbeat
- changes in blood pressure
- nose bleeds
For a full list of the possible side effects of tadalafil, you can read the patient information leaflet.
If you experience any side effects when taking tadalafil, please see your doctor as soon as possible.
You can take tadalafil if you’re over 18 years old and have erectile dysfunction.
Do not take tadalafil if you:
- are genetically female
- are allergic to any of the ingredients
- are under 18 years old
- are taking a medication called nitrates, for example, to treat angina
- have had a heart attack in the past 90 days
- have had a stroke in the past 6 months
- have serious heart disease
- have low blood pressure
- have uncontrolled high blood pressure
- have ever had vision loss from non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION)
- are taking a medicine called riociguat
Speak to your doctor before taking tadalafil if you have:
- a heart problem
- sickle cell anaemia
- multiple myeloma
- a deformation of your penis
- persistent erections which last longer than 4 hours (priapism)
- a serious liver or kidney problem
- an intolerance to some sugars
If you’re not sure whether you can take tadalafil, speak to your doctor beforehand.
For further information, please read the patient information leaflet.
Some other medications can interact with how tadalafil works. So tell your doctor if you’re taking, or have recently taken, any other medications.
Some of these medications include:
- alpha blockers
- high blood pressure medications
- 5 alpha reductase inhibitors for benign prostatic hyperplasia
- some HIV medications such as protease inhibitors
- epilepsy medications such as phenobarbital, phenytoin and carbamazepine
- other erectile dysfunction medications
For more information about tadalafil interactions, you can read the patient information leaflet.
Alternative treatments to tadalafil include:
If you do not think tadalafil is right for you, speak to your doctor and they can give you advice on an alternative treatment that might work better for you.
Is tadalafil the same as Viagra?
Tadalafil and Viagra are not the same medication, but they do
belong to the same group of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, and they are used to treat erectile dysfunction. Medications in this group all work in the same way by helping relax your blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow to your penis to make it easier to get and keep an erection hard enough for sex.
The difference between tadalafil and Viagra is the active ingredient, how quickly it works, and how long it lasts.
- Viagra contains the active ingredient sildenafil, whereas tadalafil contains the active ingredient tadalafil.
- Viagra can take around 30 to 60 minutes to work and lasts for around 4 hours.
- Tadalafil takes around 30 minutes to take effect and can last up to 36 hours. Tadalafil comes in 10mg or 20mg tablets and Viagra comes in 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg tablets.
Can tadalafil cause high blood pressure?
In some cases, tadalafil can cause high blood pressure, but this is uncommon. You shouldn’t take tadalafil if you have low blood pressure or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Are tadalafil tablets safe?
Yes, tadalafil tablets are safe and effective for men who have ED. You should only take tadalafil tablets if they have been prescribed to you, and you should never take more than your prescribed dose. Your doctor will make sure tadalafil is a safe and suitable treatment for you before prescribing it.
Are tadalafil and Cialis the same?
Yes, tadalafil is the generic version of Cialis. Both tadalafil and Cialis contain the same active ingredient and work exactly the same way.
Can tadalafil and sildenafil be taken together?
No, you should not take more than one PDE5 inhibitor at a time. This could increase the risk of serious side effects and could be dangerous, especially if you have other medical conditions or take certain medications.
If you think your ED treatment is not working and you want to try another medication or change your dose, speak to your doctor.
Is tadalafil available on the NHS?
Yes, tadalafil is available on the NHS and can be prescribed by your GP. You will need to make an appointment to discuss your ED symptoms first.
Why does tadalafil cause headaches?
As tadalafil relaxes the blood vessels in your body, this can also affect the blood vessels in your brain. This is why tadalafil and other PDE5 inhibitors commonly cause headaches.
If you get headaches whilst taking tadalafil, they often go away or become milder once your body gets used to the treatment. You can use over the counter painkillers like paracetamol to treat headaches. You can also try drinking plenty of water and resting in a dark, quiet room until your symptoms improve. Speak to your doctor if you keep getting headaches when taking tadalafil or if they become unmanageable.
Can tadalafil cause heartburn?
Tadalafil can cause heartburn, but it does tend to go away on its own within a few hours of taking the medication. If you do get heartburn with tadalafil, try taking it with a large glass of water or eating a small meal beforehand. Avoid taking antacids with tadalafil, as these can affect how it is absorbed, making it less likely to work effectively.
Why isn’t tadalafil working for me?
If tadalafil is not working, it might be because you:
- haven’t waited long enough between taking the tablet and having sex
- are not on the correct dose
- are not sexually aroused
- have waited too long after taking the tablet to have sex
- have consumed alcohol, as this can affect your ability to get and maintain an erection
If tadalafil isn’t working for you, it may be because you need to give it more time. You should take tadalafil on 8 different occasions before trying another ED treatment or increasing the dose with your doctor.
How long do the effects of tadalafil last?
Tadalafil can last up to 36 hours or 1.5 days after taking it, but this can vary from person to person. Tadalafil can lose its effectiveness the longer after taking the tablet you have sex.
How long does tadalafil take to work?
Tadalafil usually works within 30 minutes of taking it, but this can vary depending on what you’ve eaten, your metabolism and how sexually aroused you are. Try to avoid fatty meals before taking Tadalafil and try to relax to get the most out of it.,.
Does tadalafil make you harder?
Tadalafil can make it easier for you to get and maintain an erection, but it cannot make your erection harder than it normally would be.
Can tadalafil be split in half?
No, you should always take your tablet whole. Splitting it in half can make it less effective. If you think your dose is too high, you should speak to your doctor before attempting to adjust it yourself..
Can tadalafil be taken with alcohol?
You can drink alcohol whilst taking tadalafil, but it can affect how well it works and make side effects more likely. Drinking alcohol makes it harder to get an erection whether you’re taking ED treatment or not, so drinking alcohol with tadalafil will make it harder to get an erection.
You should not drink alcohol excessively when taking tadalafil as this can increase the risk of certain side effects, such as low blood pressure and dizziness when standing up.
Can tadalafil be taken daily?
Tadalafil is not recommended for daily use when prescribed in 10mg or 20mg tablets. If you are taking tadalafil almost every day, speak to your doctor. There are alternative daily ED treatments that may be more suitable, such as Cialis Daily, which contains 5 mg of tadalafil.
How long does tadalafil stay in your system?
Tadalafil can stay in your system for up to 36 hours.
How often can you take tadalafil?
You should not take more than 1 tadalafil dose in 24 hours. If you think tadalafil is not working for you or you are taking it often, speak to your doctor.
Is tadalafil stronger than sildenafil?
Tadalafil is not stronger than sildenafil, tadalafil just lasts longer. Both medications are just as effective in treating ED. What’s important is finding which treatment works best for you and matches your needs. ED treatments vary in how they work from person to person, so you may need to try a few to find the one that gives you the best results.
Will tadalafil make you last longer in bed?
Although tadalafil can help you to get and maintain an erection easier, it cannot make you last longer in bed or treat premature ejaculation. If you are having problems with premature ejaculation, there are treatments that can help.
Is tadalafil available over the counter?
No, tadalafil is a prescription only medication, so cannot be found over the counter. Viagra Connect is the only ED treatment available over the counter and contains 50mg of sildenafil.
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Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 25 Nov 2022
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ZAVA offers a convenient and discreet service to help men improve their erectile dysfunction. There are a number of treatments you can consider. Continue to our erectile dysfunction service page to learn about the treatment options available.