Generic Name: tadalafil, Oral tablet

Generic Name:

tadalafil, Oral tablet

Cialis

All Brands

  • Cialis
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for tadalafil

Oral tablet
1

Cialis is used to treat the symptoms of two conditions found in men: benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile dysfunction (ED). Cialis is prescribed for men with one or both of these conditions.

2

Cialis is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet. The  generic form of this drug (tadalafil) is not available to the public.

3

Cialis is not used for women and children.

4

Do not take Cialis if you use any drugs called nitrates. These include amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite. These drugs may also be called “poppers.”

5

Cialis does not cure ED, increase a man’s sexual desire, or serve as a male form of birth control. It also doesn’t protect a man or his partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Heart disease

You should not use Cialis if you have a heart condition and your doctor has advised against sexual activity. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms during sex such as chest pain, dizziness, or nausea. Sexual activity can put an extra strain on your heart. This is especially true if your heart is already weak from a heart attack or heart disease.

Priapism

This is an erection that won’t go away. Without treatment, this condition could cause permanent damage to your penis. This damage includes impotence (not being able to have an erection). If you get an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, call your doctor right away.

Drug Features

Cialis is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Why It's Used

Cialis is used for the treatment of men who have both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile dysfunction (ED).

See Details

How It Works

Cialis belongs to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

See Details

Why It's Used

Cialis is used for the treatment of men who have both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile dysfunction (ED).

With BPH, the prostate gland is enlarged but is not cancerous. It can pinch or squeeze your urethra (the tube that carries urine from the kidneys out of the body).  Symptoms of BPH include trouble urinating, painful urination, and a frequent or urgent need to urinate.

With ED, the penis does not fill up with enough blood to harden and expand when a man is sexually excited. ED can also prevent a man from keeping an erection.

How It Works

Cialis belongs to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Cialis may help relax the muscle in your prostate and bladder. This could help improve your BPH symptoms.

To improve ED symptoms, Cialis helps increase blood flow to the penis. This can help you get and keep an erection. Once you have finished sexual activity, blood flow to your penis decreases, and the erection goes away. For Cialis to help you have an erection, you need to be sexually aroused or stimulated.

SECTION 2 of 4

tadalafil Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

These are some of the more common side effects people have when taking Cialis. These effects may be mild and go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

These side effects include:  

  • headache

  • upset stomach

  • back pain

  • muscle aches

  • flushing (reddish skin)

  • stuffy or runny nose

Serious Side Effects

If you have any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

  • priapism. Symptoms may include:

    • a painful erection that won’t go away
  • vision changes. Symptoms may include:

    • seeing a blue shade to objects
    • trouble telling the difference between the colors blue and green
    • a sudden decrease or loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • hearing loss. Symptoms may include:

    • a sudden loss or decrease in hearing
    • ringing in the ears and dizziness
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Cialis doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

tadalafil May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Cialis can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful, or prevent the drug that you’re taking from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food Interactions

Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking Cialis. Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice may increase the levels of Cialis in your blood. This raises your risk of side effects.

Alcohol Interaction

Do not drink alcohol when taking Cialis. Both alcohol and Cialis can dilate (widen) your blood vessels. When used together, they can cause your blood pressure to drop. Your risk of low blood pressure is increased when you stand after sitting or lying down. This is called postural hypotension. Symptoms include an increase in heart rate, dizziness, and headache.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Angina drugs (nitrates)

If you take Cialis with nitrates, your blood pressure could suddenly drop to dangerously low levels. This could make you dizzy or cause you to faint. Nitrates include:

  • nitroglycerin
  • isosorbide dinitrate
  • Isosorbide mononitrate
  • amyl nitrite
  • butyl nitrite

High blood pressure or prostate drugs (alpha-blockers)

If you take Cialis with certain alpha-blockers, your blood pressure could suddenly drop to low levels that are dangerous. This could make you dizzy or cause you to faint. Examples of these medications include:

  • terazosin
  • tamsulosin
  • doxazosin
  • prazosin
  • alfuzosin
  • dutasteride/tamsulosin
  • silodosin
  • amlodipine (calcium channel blocker)
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • enalapril (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor)
  • metoprolol (beta-blocker)

Certain human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs

Taking Cialis with certain HIV drugs could increase Cialis levels in your blood. This can lead to low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting, and vision problems. In men, it can also lead to a persistent and painful erection (priapism). These drugs  are protease inhibitors and include:

  • Ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Liponavir/ritonavir combination (Kaletra)

Oral antifungal drugs

Certain antifungal drugs may increase levels of Cialis in your blood. This can lead to low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting, and vision problems. In men, it can also lead to a persistent and painful erection (priapism). These drugs include:

  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole

Antibiotics

Certain antibiotics may raise the level of Cialis in your blood. This can lead to low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting, and vision problems. In men, it can also lead to a persistent and painful erection (priapism). These drugs include:

  • clarithromycin
  • erythromycin
  • telithromycin

Other types of antibiotics may lower the level of Cialis in your blood. This could prevent Cialis from working well. These drugs include:

  • rifampin

Other erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs

These medications work in the same way as Cialis. This increases your risk of side effects. These drugs include:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • tadalafil (Adcirca) — This is the same drug used in Cialis. Do not take both Cialis and Adcirca at the same time.
  • vardenafil (Levitra)

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) drugs

These medications work the same way as Cialis. This increases your risk of side effects. These drugs include:

  • sildenafil (Revatio)
  • tadalafil (Adcirca) — This is the same drug used in Cialis. Do not take both Cialis and Adcirca at the same time.

Stomach acid drugs

These medications may keep your body from absorbing Cialis well. They include:

  • magnesium hydroxide/aluminum hydroxide
  • nizatidine
  • ranitidine
  • ramotidine

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with heart disease

Sexual activity creates a risk for your heart. Using Cialis may increase that risk. Do not use Cialis if you have a heart condition and your doctor has advised against sexual activity.

People at risk of prolonged erections

Cialis may cause priapism. This condition causes a painful, prolonged erection. It is a medical emergency. Talk to your doctor before using Cialis if you have a condition that puts you at higher risk of priapism. These conditions include:

  • Blood cell problems such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, and leukemia
  • A curved or deformed penis, or Peyronie's disease

People with vision problems

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic eye disease. Cialis hasn’t been studied in people with this condition and its use is not recommended. Tell your doctor if you have ever had severe vision loss, including a condition called NAION (non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy). If you have had NAION and take Cialis, you may be at increased risk for having NAION again.

People with kidney disease or on dialysis

Your body may not be able to get rid of Cialis correctly. This means the drug would stay in your body longer and raise your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all.

People with liver problems

Your body may not process Cialis correctly. This means the drug would stay in your body longer and raise your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all.

People with bleeding disorders or peptic ulcers

Cialis has not been studied in people with these conditions. Using Cialis may cause or worsen bleeding or ulcers. If you do take Cialis, your doctor may monitor you more closely.

Pregnant women

Cialis is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Cialis is for use in men only. This drug should not be used in women. This includes women who are pregnant.

Women who are breast-feeding

Cialis should not be used in women. This includes women who are breastfeeding.

For seniors

If you are aged 65 years and older, your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose so that Cialis doesn’t build up too much in your body. High levels of the drug in your body can be dangerous.

For children

People younger than 18 years should not use Cialis. It is not known if Cialis is safe and effective in children.

Allergies

Cialis can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • hives
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of your lips, throat, or tongue

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could cause death.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take tadalafil (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages may not be included here. Your doctor will tell you what dosage is right for you. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on: 

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)

The recommended dose is one 5-mg tablet per day. Take it at about the same time each day. Don’t take Cialis more than once per day.

If you are taking Cialis with finasteride (another drug used to treat BPH), your Cialis dose will be 5 mg once daily for up to 26 weeks.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your body processes this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose to keep the drug from building up too much in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be dangerous.

Special Considerations
  • Kidney disease: Your body gets rid of Cialis partly through your kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t working well, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you. This depends on how severe your kidney disease is and whether you are on dialysis.
  • Liver disease: Cialis is processed by your liver. If your liver is not working well, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose of Cialis, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you. This depends on how severe your liver disease is.

Erectile dysfunction (ED)
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)

Cialis can be used either as-needed, or taken once a day. Don’t take Cialis more than once per day.

For as-needed use:

  • The typical starting dose is 10 mg. Your doctor may increase your dose to 20 mg or decrease it to 5 mg. This depends on how Cialis is working for you and how well your body reacts to it.
  • Take one Cialis tablet before you expect to have sexual activity. You may have sexual activity 30 minutes after taking Cialis, and up to 36 hours afterward.

For once-daily use:

  • The typical starting dose is 2.5 mg. Your doctor may increase your dose to 5 mg, depending on how well Cialis is working for you and how well your body reacts to it.
  • Take one Cialis tablet every day. Take it at about the same time each day. You may try to have sexual activity at any time between doses.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your body processes this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose to keep the drug from building up too much in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be dangerous.

Special Considerations
  • Kidney disease: Your body gets rid of Cialis partly through your kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t working well, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you. This depends on how severe your kidney disease is and whether you are on dialysis.
  • Liver disease: Cialis is processed by your liver. If your liver is not working well, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose of Cialis, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you. This depends on how severe your liver disease is.

Erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia, or (ED/BPH)
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • Take one 5-mg tablet every day, at about the same time each day. Don’t take Cialis more than once per day.
  • You may try to have sexual activity at any time between doses. You need to be sexually aroused or stimulated for Cialis to help you have an erection.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your body processes this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose to keep the drug from building up too much in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be dangerous.

Special Considerations
  • Kidney disease: Your body gets rid of Cialis partly through your kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t working well, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you. This depends on how severe your kidney disease is and whether you are on dialysis.
  • Liver disease: Cialis is processed by your liver. If your liver is not working well, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose of Cialis, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you. This depends on how severe your liver disease is.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

If You Stop or Don’t Take It on Schedule

If you are taking Cialis for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), your BPH symptoms may not improve. These may include trouble starting to urinate, straining while trying to urinate, and a weak urine flow. They may also include frequent urges to urinate.

If you are taking Cialis for erectile dysfunction (ED), you may not be able to get and keep an erection during sexual activity.

If You Stop or Don’t Take It on Schedule

If you are taking Cialis for BPH, your BPH symptoms may not improve. These may include trouble starting to urinate, straining while trying to urinate, and a weak urine flow. They may also include frequent urges to urinate.

If you are taking Cialis for ED, you may not be able to get and keep an erection during sexual activity.

If You Take Too Much

You will be at an increased risk of side effects. If you think you’ve taken too much Cialis, call your doctor or call 9-1-1 right away.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

Take it when you remember, but do not take more than one dose per day. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause dangerous side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

Your BPH symptoms may improve. These may include trouble starting to urinate, straining while trying to urinate, and a weak urine flow. They may also include frequent urges to urinate.

If you are taking Cialis for ED, you may be able to get and keep an erection during sexual activity.

Cialis is a long-term drug.

Important Considerations for Taking Cialis

Store Cialis at room temperature from 59–86°F (15–30°C)

  • Keep it away from high temperatures.
  • Do not store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you, such as in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Be sure to carry with you the prescription-labeled box that your medication came in.
  • Do not put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical Monitoring

Before prescribing Cialis, your doctor may do blood tests. These tests will check how well your liver and kidneys are working. If your test results are not normal or if you have liver or kidney disease, your doctor may change your prescription. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose of Cialis, have you take it less often, or not prescribe it at all for you.

If you are taking Cialis for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), your doctor may perform an exam and do a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This is because the symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer can be similar. These tests will help make sure you do not have prostate cancer before you start taking Cialis.

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug

When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.

 

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may better suit you than others. Talk to your doctor about other options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

Showing - out of 6

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on July 27, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Read This Next

Impotence and Recovery from Prostate Surgery: What to Expect
Impotence and Recovery from Prostate Surgery: What to Expect
Can an L-Lysine Deficiency Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Can an L-Lysine Deficiency Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
What Are the Dangers of Mixing Staxyn and Alcohol?
What Are the Dangers of Mixing Staxyn and Alcohol?
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement