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Note: All information and research presented below relate to oral tadalafil taken on-demand, as needed, before sex. Tadalafil can also be taken daily, in a smaller dose, but we do not cover that in detail in this article. See our guide to daily tadalafil for research specific to daily tadalafil.
The two most important things to know about erectile dysfunction (ED) are these:
One of the most well-known and effective treatments for ED is tadalafil (also commonly known by its brand name Cialis). It’s not only well-known, but for many men, it’s their favourite ED treatment option.
So, what is tadalafil? Does it work? Does it have serious side effects? And how can you buy it? Here’s your ultimate guide to tadalafil for the treatment of ED.
There’s a lot going on in the body when men get an erection:
Because there is so much going on, it’s easy for things to go wrong. A problem in even one of those stages can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection. Some of the most common causes of ED include:
Each of these factors can contribute to ED, and so it can be difficult for any individual guy to know the root cause of his ED. That’s why it is very important to get a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. Understanding the underlying cause of ED can help you find the most effective ED treatment options.
How does tadalafil help treat ED?
Tadalafil is a PDE5 inhibitor (just like sildenafil, the generic version of Viagra) meaning that it inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5. The specifics are complex, but ultimately what it does is increase nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels in the penis. That increases blood flow so that the penis can become rigid.
Tadalafil can be effective for guys with difficulty getting an erection for psychological reasons. It can also be useful for guys whose lifestyles, medications, or medical conditions may be making it more difficult to get an erection.
Note that tadalafil isn’t suitable for all guys with ED. For example, if there is physical damage to the pelvic area, the penis, or nerves, tadalafil may not help. Also, tadalafil does not cause erections on its own. It only makes it easier to get an erection when there is a sexual stimulus.
So is it effective? Does tadalafil improve erections?
Yes, there’s no question. The research has consistently demonstrated that it significantly improves the ability to achieve and maintain an erection in men. In some studies, between 71% and 84% of patients on tadalafil reported improved erections. Tadalafil is also effective for guys with mild, moderate, and severe ED, as well as across age groups.
Tadalafil also tends to be logistically easier to use than other similar medications like sildenafil (Viagra). For example, while some foods can slow down or interrupt the function of sildenafil, food intake does not appear to affect the function of tadalafil.
Tadalafil kicks in very quickly—it can start to work in as little as 30 minutes.
Tadalafil is relatively slow-acting and has a long half-life. That means that it continues to have an effect for quite a long time: It can work for up to 36 hours.
So it is an effective treatment ED… but is tadalafil safe?
Yes, tadalafil has consistently been found to be safe and well-tolerated for most people at doses up to 20 mg.
However, there are some potential side effects that it is important to be aware of. And it may be unsafe for some individuals. For these reasons, tadalafil should always be taken under the direction of a qualified medical professional.
In research studies, the more common tadalafil side effects include:
These side effects were dose-dependent, meaning that they became more likely with higher doses. They also typically became less frequent with continued treatment.
Some of the other potential side effects of tadalafil include:
Note that one final rare side effect from using tadalafil (and other ED medications) is Priapism—a long-lasting or painful erection. If you experience priapism or an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours, seek emergency treatment. Without treatment, Priapism can lead to permanent tissue damage.
In general, avoid side effects by following the directions of your physician.
Certain individuals may not be a good fit for tadalafil. Make sure you answer all your doctor’s questions completely so that they can judge whether you are at higher risk for adverse effects.
Tadalafil and other PDE5 inhibitors dilate blood vessels, so they have an effect on the cardiovascular system. That means that tadalafil can cause adverse effects when it is used with other medications that affect the cardiovascular system. Importantly, it should not be used by individuals that take nitroglycerin medications. Doing so could cause dangerously low blood pressure.
Surprisingly, grapefruit and grapefruit juice can also dangerously interact with tadalafil. Avoid consuming grapefruit while taking tadalafil (or sildenafil).
Finally, be careful with other medications that can lower blood pressure. Some of these include alpha-blocking medications or oral antifungal medications (but not antifungal topical creams). If you’re taking these medications, make sure your doctor knows so that they can make any necessary adjustments or suggest a more appropriate ED treatment.
It’s not a good idea to mix alcohol and tadalafil. Alcohol can lower blood pressure and so can tadalafil. Taking tadalafil with a lot of alcohol could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
While it’s probably fine to have a drink or two, try to avoid mixing alcohol and tadalafil.
ED can sometimes signal other health problems, like cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. That’s one more important reason to seek treatment for ED: to make sure you are otherwise healthy. A medical professional can help you identify any more serious health conditions you may not be aware of and that could be causing erectile difficulty.
Tadalafil is one treatment option among any. Here is how it compares to some of those other options.
Unsure about which treatment is best for you? Chat with our healthcare professionals to find the right ED medication for your needs.
Is brand name Cialis better than generic tadalafil?
No. They have the same active components and work equally well.
In Canada, to be approved as a generic version of a drug, a manufacturer has to show that the two medications are pharmaceutically equivalent—that they work the same and have the same set of side effects. That means that generic tadalafil has been shown to be just as effective as brand name Cialis.
There’s only one difference between the two: price. Generic tadalafil is much cheaper than the brand name Cialis.
Is tadalafil better than sildenafil?
First, they are roughly equally effective. They both significantly improve erectile function and are both safe and well-tolerated. One is not better than the other in overall terms of effectiveness or safety.
But they are different from each other in a few practical ways:
Because it is quicker to act and longer-lasting, tadalafil requires less planning than sildenafil and allows men to have sex more spontaneously. That’s why most men (and their partners) prefer tadalafil over sildenafil.
But both sildenafil and tadalafil have advantages and disadvantages. The best ED drug for you depends on your needs and preferences.
Read more: What Is Sildenafil? The Ultimate Guide to Generic Viagra for Erectile Dysfunction
So far, this article has looked at on-demand tadalafil, taken as needed before sexual encounters. However, another option is to take a smaller dose of tadalafil every day.
How does daily tadalafil compare to on-demand tadalafil?
Again, neither option is clearly better than the other. The right ED medication for you depends on your needs and preferences.
Read more: What Is Daily Tadalafil?
Yes, you need a prescription to buy tadalafil in Canada.
Fortunately, you can get a prescription for tadalafil online. Online ED clinics, like Essential clinic, make it easy to have an online consultation with a medical professional. If you’re approved, you’ll get a prescription and you can get tadalafil shipped directly to your home.
If you have a prescription, you can buy tadalafil in your local pharmacy. Or, if you’re looking for a more convenient and discreet option, you can buy tadalafil online from Essential clinic.
Note that there are some sites that try to sell ED medications to people without a prescription. Be very wary of these sites: not only are they illegal, but often the medications that they sell are fake and contain harmful chemicals. Rather than improving your health, you could make it worse.
Reduce your risk by getting a convenient online prescription and buying tadalafil from a legal and reputable source.
Erectile dysfunction is extremely common. But the good news is that it’s treatable. And online clinics make it more convenient to get treatment than ever.
Essential Clinic offers quick, convenient consultations with qualified (and non-judgemental) health professionals. If you’re approved, you can quickly get a prescription and tadalafil shipped directly to your door.
Want to fix your ED?
Start your online visit today.
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Doggrell, S. A. (2005). Comparison of clinical trials with sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil in erectile dysfunction. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 6(1), 75-84.
Eardley, I., & Cartledge, J. (2002). Tadalafil (Cialis) for men with erectile dysfunction. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 56(4), 300-304.
Frajese, G. V., Pozzi, F., & Frajese, G. (2006). Tadalafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction; an overview of the clinical evidence. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 1(4), 439.
Raheem, O. A., Natale, C., Dick, B., Reddy, A. G., Yousif, A., Khera, M., & Baum, N. (2021). Novel treatments of erectile dysfunction: Review of the current literature. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 9(1), 123-132.
Rajfer, J., Aliotta, P. J., Steidle, C. P., Fitch, W. 3., Zhao, Y., & Yu, A. (2007). Tadalafil dosed once a day in men with erectile dysfunction: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the US. International Journal of Impotence Research, 19(1), 95-103.
Retzler, K. (2019). Erectile dysfunction: A review of comprehensive treatment options for optimal outcome.Journal of Restorative Medicine, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.14200/jrm.2019.0104
Skoumal, R., Chen, J., Kula, K., Breza, J., Calomfirescu, N., Basson, B. R., & Kopernicky, V. (2004). Efficacy and treatment satisfaction with on-demand Tadalafil (Cialis®) in men with erectile dysfunction. European Urology, 46(3), 362-369.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.