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Generic Cialis is called tadalafil, which is the active ingredient in Cialis. Cialis is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP). Generic tadalafil became more widely available after 2018.

According to the FDA, generic medications provide the same benefits as brand-name drugs. Generic medications are considered against the same standards as brand-name versions to make sure that they reach the same level of:

  • strength
  • safety
  • effectiveness
  • stability
  • quality

Usually, generic drugs aren’t available until the expiration of the brand name’s patent. Eli Lilly and Company’s patent for Cialis expired in 2018, opening the market to generic competitors.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about generic Cialis.

Tadalafil, or generic Cialis, is most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). However, it’s also used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Along with other medications used to treat ED, Cialis and generic tadalafil are only available by prescription.

Tadalafil, like other phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, can interact dangerously with nitrate-based medications, such as Imdur and Nitrostat. This includes nitrates used to treat heart conditions and high blood pressure.

Generic versions of tadalafil that are FDA approved are just as effective as Cialis. The FDA provides a rigorous inspection process to make sure companies selling these generic drugs undergo good manufacturing processes and that their drugs provide the same clinical benefits.

Generic brands of tadalafil are often less than half the price of Cialis.

A 2019 study found that from 2012 to 2017, the median price of Cialis jumped from $127 to $365 for 30 tablets. Generic brands start at around $100 for 30 tablets.

Price depends on the strength of the dose per pill and the pharmacy you’re buying it from. Coupons and discounts may be available. Cialis and tadalafil can both be bought online. More information can be found here.

Finding generic tadalafil

Keep in mind that not all brands of generic tadalafil are FDA approved. You can use the search tool on the FDA website to find an up-to-date list of approved brands.

Tadalafil falls into a category of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors.

When you become sexually aroused, the nerve terminals and blood vessels in your penis release a molecule called nitric oxide (NO). NO activates a series of chemical reactions that increase blood flow to your penis by relaxing your blood vessels.

Tadalafil and other PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra block an enzyme called PDE5. This inhibiting effect enhances the effects of NO and lets more blood reach your penis.

Both psychological and physiological factors can disrupt the sequence of reactions needed to achieve an erection. For PDE5 inhibitors to work, you still need to be sexually aroused. If your ED is caused by psychological factors, PDE5 inhibitors won’t help treat ED.

Tadalafil is thought to help treat symptoms of BPH by relaxing the muscles in your prostate and bladder. It helps improve symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension by relaxing the blood vessels in your lungs.

Tadalafil is taken orally in the form of tablets. The strength of these tablets generally ranges from 2.5 to 20 milligrams (mg).

Tadalafil tablets can either be taken once per day or as needed.

If you’re taking them once per day, your doctor will typically start you on a dose of about 2.5 mg and adjust based on how well it’s working for you and whether you’re experiencing any side effects. Avoid taking more than one tablet per day.

You should take the tablets at the same time each day, so you have consistent levels of the medication in your system. Since the medication is always in your system, you have the ability to get an erection without planning ahead of time. You can have sex at any time.

When used on an as-needed basis, your doctor will likely start you at about 10 mg per day. You can have sex about 30 minutes after taking the tablet.

A typical dose of tadalafil to treat BPH is 5 mg per day.

You’ll need a prescription to get generic tadalafil. There are several options for how you can get generic Cialis, including starting with talking with your doctor. You can meet with them and discuss your symptoms, and they will prescribe tadalafil for you.

You can also consider the following telemedicine options:

Hims: You’ll complete an online questionnaire and consult with a licensed medical professional in your state. They will evaluate you to determine whether tadalafil is right for you. If so, tadalafil will be shipped from a licensed pharmacy in discreet packaging to your home. Costs are not listed upfront on Hims’ website.

Lemonaid Health: You’ll complete an online questionnaire and consult with a licensed medical professional (a nurse practitioner or doctor) in your state. They will evaluate you to determine whether tadalafil is right for you. If so, tadalafil will be shipped from a licensed pharmacy in discreet packaging to your home. Lemonaid Health’s website directly states that the first order of tadalafil will cost $60.

Roman: You’ll complete an online questionnaire and consult with a licensed medical professional in your state. They will evaluate you to determine whether tadalafil is right for you. If so, tadalafil will be shipped from a licensed pharmacy in discreet packaging to your home. Costs are not listed upfront on Roman’s website.

The side effects of generic tadalafil are the same as Cialis. There are many potential side effects, and the following list isn’t comprehensive. If you notice anything else concerning after starting tadalafil, talk with your doctor.

Common side effects of tadalafil

Some of the most common side effects of Cialis and tadalafil are:

Serious side effects of tadalafil

Tadalafil can cause a number of more serious side effects that require medical attention, such as:

Relatively rare side effects of tadalafil include:

It’s important to let your doctor know what other medications you’re taking before you start taking tadalafil. A number of medications can interact with tadalafil and have serious side effects.

According to the FDA, combining Cialis with nitroglycerin can lower blood pressure, which can lead to fainting, dizziness, headaches, or even death.

It’s recommended that you avoid tadalafil if you’re taking any of the following medications:

  • amyl nitrite
  • boceprevir
  • erythrityl tetranitrate
  • isosorbide dinitrate
  • isosorbide mononitrate
  • nitroglycerin
  • pentaerythritol tetranitrate
  • propatyl nitrate
  • riociguat
  • telaprevir

Some categories of medications known to interact with tadalafil include:

  • angina drugs
  • antibiotics
  • epilepsy drugs
  • hepatitis C drugs
  • high blood pressure drugs
  • HIV drugs
  • oral antifungal drugs
  • other ED drugs
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension drugs
  • stomach acid drugs

When taking tadalafil, it’s often recommended that you avoid grapefruit juice and minimize your use of tobacco or alcohol since they can interact with the medication.

Discuss your tobacco and alcohol habits with your doctor before taking any type of PDE5 inhibitor.

Companies FDA approved to sell tadalafil under its generic name include:

  • Accord Healthcare
  • Ajanta Pharma
  • Alembic Pharmaceuticals
  • Amneal Pharmaceuticals
  • Aurobindo Pharma
  • Cipla
  • Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
  • Hetero Drugs
  • Lupin
  • Macleods Pharmaceuticals
  • Mylan
  • Qilu Pharmaceutical
  • Sunshine Lake Pharma Co.
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
  • Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited
  • Unichem Pharmaceuticals
  • Zydus Pharmaceuticals

Who makes Cialis?

Brand-name medications using tadalafil include:

  • Cialis. Cialis is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company.
  • Adcirca. The brand-name drug Adcirca contains the same active ingredient tadalafil, but Adcirca is FDA approved to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). It’s also manufactured by Eli Lilly.
  • Alyq. Alyq is also a brand-name medication with tadalafil as the active ingredient, and FDA approved to treat PAH. It’s manufactured by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Other PDE5 inhibitor medications available include:

There are a number of other ED treatments available as well. These include:

Counseling or therapy

ED often has a psychological cause. And even when a physical cause can be found and treated, stress, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems may all contribute to ED. Talking with a psychotherapist or counselor may help resolve these issues.

Lifestyle changes

Some lifestyle changes you can make to prevent or help ED include:

These habits can also help with managing conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, that can contribute to developing ED.

Penis pumps

A penis pump is a hollow tube that fits over your penis and creates pressure to increase blood flow. Penis pumps won’t cure ED, but they may help achieve an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse and can be used in conjunction with medication.

Injections

ED injections can often be administered at home to help increase blood flow to your penis. A number of medications can be used, including:

  • papaverine
  • phentolamine
  • prostaglandin E1
  • alprostadil

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be used to treat ED.

A surgeon can insert a penile implant inside your penis that you can use to manually cause an erection.

In very rare cases, when vascular anomalies cause ED, a surgeon might be able to make repairs to improve blood flow.

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

Based on some research, TRT may help treat mild ED in men with low testosterone levels.

If your testosterone levels are already in a normal range or you’re experiencing moderate to severe ED, TRT won’t be effective.

Experimental treatments

Researchers are exploring experimental treatments for ED. More research is needed to understand if they are safe and effective, and how they work. These treatments include:

  • Stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy involves injecting stem cells into the penis.
  • Platelet-rich plasma therapy. Platelet-rich plasma therapy involves separating platelets from the blood and injecting them in the penis.
  • Shockwave therapy. During shockwave therapy, low intensity sound waves pass through erectile tissue to stimulate new blood vessel growth.

These treatments are not approved by the FDA and have not been recommended by the American Urological Association.

Is tadalafil as good as regular Cialis?

Tadalafil is the affordable, generic version of brand-name Cialis.

Cialis was originally created and is produced by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Generic tadalafil became available in 2018 after the patent protection ended.

Both brand-name Cialis and tadalafil have been shown to be safe and provide the same treatment effects for erectile dysfunction, but tadalafil is available for a fraction of the price of Cialis.

How long does it take for generic Cialis to start working?

When tadalafil is taken as needed for ED, it can start working within 30 to 45 minutes. It typically reaches peak effect 2 hours after it’s taken.

Like other ED drugs that are taken as needed for ED, it must be taken in advance of when you plan to be sexually active to give it time to start working.

What Cialis alternatives are there?

There are several options to treat ED aside from oral medications like tadalafil, including:

Generic versions of Cialis have been available since 2018 under the name tadalafil. A long list of companies has been FDA approved to produce tadalafil for treating ED and BPH.

Generic versions of Cialis that are FDA approved are equally as effective and safe as brand-name Cialis. Generic versions are often less than half the cost.