About Cialis

If you’re one of the 18 million American men who experience difficulty achieving an erection, Cialis (tadalafil) is a prescription medication that’s approved to help treat mild, moderate, and severe erectile dysfunction (ED), as well as the urinary symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), regardless of age.

Tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis, works by relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow to the penis and prostate, resulting in 2 benefits:

  • An improved ability to achieve a firmer, harder erection and maintain it throughout intercourse, and
  • Reduced urination frequency, especially at night.

Let’s be honest: Not being able to achieve an erection and satisfy your partner can make you feel like less of a man, and BPH can severely impact your quality of life. In fact, erectile dysfunction can lead to increased stress, low self esteem—and even depression—if left untreated, not to mention causing problems in your relationship.

When it comes down to it, there’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking about giving Cialis a shot. The good news is that we’ll cover some of the basics here, so you can be as informed as possible before speaking with your doctor.

What is ED & BPH?

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, alcohol or drug use, stress, depression, and more. And although ED is more common in older men, it can affect men of all ages, and is signified by one of the following:

  • You’re unable to achieve an erection,
  • Your erection isn’t hard enough to allow penetration, or
  • You’re unable to maintain an erection throughout sexual activity.

On the other hand, BPH occurs when the prostate gland becomes enlarged and partially blocks the urethra, which can cause frequent, urgent urination, excessive urination at night, excessive pushing or straining during urination, and more.

With this in mind, Cialis only treats the symptoms of ED, not the underlying cause. As such, you may be able to improve your ED by taking non-prescription measures, such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, decreasing stress, and more.

How Often Should You Take Cialis?

According to the manufacturer, if you’re treating both ED and BPH, you should take Cialis once per day, around the same time each day. With regular use, Cialis may help you have intercourse within 4 to 5 days, although it could take 2 to 4 weeks before you experience improvement with your symptoms.

On the other hand, if you’re treating only your ED, you may be able to take it as needed in 5mg, 10mg, or 20mg doses. In this category, one tablet can begin working within 30 minutes and can remain effective for up to 36 hours.

Is Cialis Clinically Proven to Work?

Although there aren’t any official numbers available showing Cialis’s overall success rate, it has been subjected to dozens of clinical trials, which have shown it to effectively treat erectile dysfunction and BPH for the majority of men. 

To accomplish this, Cialis is in a class of medications known as PDE-5 (Phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors that work on 2 different mechanisms to improve erection quality.

First, Cialis increases the amount of nitric oxide (NO) in your body, which thereby produces a messenger enzyme called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). In turn, cGMP smoothes muscle cells, causing penile arteries to dilate and increasing blood flow to the region. Then, the erectile tissue within your penis fills with blood more easily, both of which increase the chances of successfully achieving an erection.

Cialis Side Effects

Even though Cialis seems to improve erection quality for most men who take it, it’s important to keep in mind that Cialis doesn’t cure ED (as mentioned above) or increase sexual desire. Also, unlike some other prescription ED medications, Cialis does not cause an immediate erection. Instead, external stimulation is required.

With this said, the most common side effects associated with Cialis include headache, indigestion, back pain, muscle aches, flushing, and stuffy or runny nose. However, less common (and more severe) side effects can present themselves, including rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.

In fact, in some cases, Cialis has been known to cause heart problems and erections that lasted more than 4 hours, requiring medical intervention.

In order to limit some of Cialis’s most common side effects, the manufacturer recommends avoiding excess alcohol consumption when taking it.

Will Cialis React with Other Medications?

According to the manufacturer, Cialis should not be taken with nitrates, which can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. In addition, Cialis can interact with nitrates, alpha-blockers, blood pressure medications, HIV or anti-fungal medications, some types of antibiotics, as well as other ED medications.

As always, be sure to speak with your physician about concerns regarding side effects, as well as other medications you’re taking.

Watch Out for Counterfeit Cialis

If your physician prescribes Cialis for your ED or BPH, it’s important to keep an eye out for counterfeit versions of the medication. This is because, according to the company, “counterfeit medication has been known to contain dangerous ingredients, such as pesticides, lead, and mercury. Often, counterfeit medication contains little to no active ingredient, and that means you won’t get the results you expect.”

In fact, the FDA released an alert for Cialis in January 2015, which stated that their “laboratory analysis showed the counterfeit versions contain multiple active ingredients, which if used could result in adverse effects or harm.”

Because of this, it’s important you purchase Cialis only from “state-licensed pharmacies located in the U.S.”

Other ED Medication Options

Although Cialis is arguably the most popular medication for treating ED, keep in mind that there are a number of options from which to choose, including Viagra, Levitra, Stendra, and more. Just like any other medication, some of these may work better for you than others, so you might need to try more than one option before finding the right fit (no pun intended).

To help move you in the right direction, WebMD provides a brief comparison of some of the most popular ED medications.

In addition to prescription medications such as Cialis, you’ll also find a wide variety of nutritional supplements (often in the form of testosterone boosters) that are claimed to provide you with firmer, harder erections by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in your body. However, many of these often don’t work as advertised, and can be very expensive to boot.

Patient Feedback for Cialis

At the time of our research, there were 230 patient reviews for Cialis on Drugs.com (as of 4/13/15), with an average rating of 8.9 stars for ED and 8.6 for BPH. Here, some of the most common compliments cited the ability to achieve full erections (often multiple erections within a 24 hour period), reduced nighttime urination, and the fact that one dose can last up to 36 hours.

On the other hand, some of the most common complaints referenced failure to experience an erection, back/muscle/head aches, and stuffy nose.

Based on more than 350 reviews on WebMD, Cialis held a 3.8-star (out of 5) rating for effectiveness, a 4.6 rating for ease of use, and a 3.6 rating for overall satisfaction. There, the most common complaints and compliments mirrored those found elsewhere online. However, unlike on Drugs.com, more than one patient claimed they had to stop taking Cialis due to the severity of its side effects.

From a company perspective, Cialis is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company based out of Indianapolis, IN. The company held an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau based on 4 closed complaints, which appeared to reference difficulty obtaining refunds for medications that either didn’t work or caused severe side effects.

Cialis Pricing & Satisfaction Guarantee

Although there isn’t any pricing information listed on the Cialis website, GoodRX lists prices ranging from $391 to $489 for 10 tablets of the medication. However, these prices appear to be based on no insurance coverage, so what you’ll ultimately pay depends on the level of prescription coverage available through your health insurance. Important note: Cialis is not covered by Medicare.

If you just want to try Cialis without making a financial commitment, you can download a voucher for a free 30-tablet trial (2.5mg or 5mg). If you try this option and remain unsatisfied, the manufacturer’s Promise Program will pay for another Cialis option or 3 tablets of another prescription ED medication.

Can Cialis Effectively Treat Your ED or BPH?

Chopping to the Point: Overall, Cialis appears to have helped the vast majority of men who took it to reduce their symptoms related to erectile dysfunction and BPH, which has given it a very positive online patient reputation as a result.

However, keep in mind that, just like any other medication, Cialis’s effectiveness will largely depend on your specific diagnosis, as well as your individual makeup. Because of this, as well as Cialis’s high price (especially if it’s not covered by your health insurance), you’ll want to consult with your physician about whether or not Cialis is right for you.

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