Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: Which is Best

Sildenafil and Tadalafil are the most common ED medications used. Learn which one might be most effective for you.

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky
Board Certified Urologist, expert in male sexual dysfunction
by Dr. Jed Kaminetsky Last updated 11/14/2022
silenafil vs tadalafil which is better

Sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) are some of the most common medications used against erectile dysfunction, or ED, today.

Both medications are PDE5 inhibitors that work with the natural chemicals released in the body during arousal.

Quick FAQs

Sildenafil lasts about 4 to 6 hours, while tadalafil may last up to 36 hours.

The recommended dosage for sildenafil is anywhere between 25 mg and 100 mg. The recommended dosage for tadalafil is 10 mg. It's important to consult with your doctor to determine the right dosage to take.

Sildenafil and tadalafil share similar side effects such as nausea, headache, and dizziness.

The smooth muscle inside the penis is relaxed, causing an increase in blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection.

This guide will help you learn everything about sildenafil vs tadalafil so you can find the best personalized treatment for ED today.

What is the Difference Between Sildenafil and Tadalafil?

Sildenafil was introduced in 1998 and tadalafil was introduced in 2003. Where sildenafil only works against ED, tadalafil works against both ED and an enlarged prostate (BPH.) 

This may be highly beneficial for older patients and anyone else suffering from BPH, but it may not provide any benefits for younger patients with healthier prostates.

Another major difference is that sildenafil must be taken roughly 60 minutes before intercourse with only one dosage per day. 

Sildenafil generally works for around 6-8 hours for most men, although it may last fewer hours if taken on a full stomach.

Tadalafil, on the other hand, can either be taken 60 minutes before intercourse or on a more regular basis. This allows for more spontaneity in sex. 

Tadalafil's effects may last for up to 36 hours in some men as well, making it a much longer-lasting medicine than sildenafil. Plus, it can be taken either with food or on an empty stomach.

While the longer lasting effectiveness of tadalafil may be a bonus to some, it also means that any side effects will last longer as well. 

For some men who are more sensitive to these types of medications, sildenafil’s shorter acting timeframe may be more ideal.

Due to the similarities in both products, along with the differences in longevity, most men will have to work with their doctor to find the optimal dosage to take.

Studies have found both drugs to be highly effective in treating ED, with nearly 70% of men experiencing an immediate benefit in achieving a firmer and longer-lasting erection than without the medication.

Additionally, tadalafil was found to help some men with urinary symptoms.

Sildenafil vs Tadalafil Dosage

The recommended dosages for sildenafil and tadalafil are very different, and every patient will have a customized recommendation on the optimal amount and frequency of use.

Sildenafil

Sildenafil can only be taken once per day, and it's generally taken within one hour of intercourse.

The recommended dosage can be anywhere from 25mg to 100mg in certain cases. 100mg is the maximum daily dosage for all ages, although older patients may be advised to take much less.

Be aware that sildenafil comes in 20 mg tabs for the generic brand, and 25, 50, and 100 mg tabs in the name brand.

A doctor will likely recommend a low starting dosage to prevent unwanted side effects.

If the desired effects aren’t achieved, they will provide a guideline on when to increase the dosage along with what your specific maximum daily dosage may be.

Tadalafil

Tadalafil’s average dosage is 10mg per day, although some doctors may recommend as few as 5mg or even up to 20mg per day depending on the situation.

5mg can generally be taken daily. In some cases, older patients may be advised to take small doses every other day, or more infrequently, depending on how long-lasting tadalafil is for them.

If tadalafil is not taken daily, then a single dosage should be taken one hour before intercourse for the best results. On demand dosing is 5, 10, or 20 mg.

Sildenafil vs Tadalafil Side Effects

Since sildenafil and tadalafil both promote increased circulation, they often have similar side effects such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and more.

Also, both medicines cannot be used by anyone who has had a stroke, heart attack, or other vascular problems within the past six months.

Sildenafil and tadalafil have contradictions with medicinal nitrates, and doctors will not prescribe either medication if you’re currently taking any nitrates.

The main side effect difference is sildenafil is more likely to cause bluish vision, and tadalafil is more likely to cause low back discomfort.

Sildenafil Side Effects

Some of the most commonly reported side effects of sildenafil include:

  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Nasal congestion
  • Rash

Some of the more rare, but quite serious, possible side effects of sildenafil are:

  • An increased risk of stroke or heart attack
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hearing loss
  • Interactions with other medications, especially nitrates

If you take sildenafil and have an erection that lasts for over four hours, it’s important to call 911 or get to an emergency room immediately.

This is a very rare but very serious side effect called priapism, in which non-oxygenated blood gets trapped in the penis. If the circulation is not quickly improved by a professional, it can lead to permanent tissue death, gangrene, or even amputation.

Tadalafil Side Effects

Tadalafil’s most common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash

Tadalafil also has similarly rare but serious complications including:

  • Low blood pressure
  • An increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Hearing loss
  • Medication interactions

The risk of priapism is also present with tadalafil, and you should visit an ER or call 911 if you ever experience an erection lasting for four hours or more in any circumstance.

Sildenafil vs Tadalafil Cost

The cost of sildenafil or tadalafil is similar and may be covered by insurance or Medicare in certain situations.

Both medications need a prescription to purchase. Many people get their prescription through a visit with their primary doctor.

Alternatively, some websites offer online telehealth video appointments where people may get a prescription. The medications are then picked up at a local pharmacy or mailed to their home. 

Generics at online or mail order pharmacies will cost about $1 per pill.

Sildenafil Cost

On average, most people will pay about $15 for 30 sildenafil pills. The price may be more or less depending on the location and whether the medicine was purchased from a pharmacy through insurance or from an online subscription service.

Tadalafil Cost

The average cost for 30 tadalafil pills is around $10.

In both cases, the medications are relatively inexpensive, and the price can even go down further when purchasing in bulk from certain suppliers.

FAQs When Comparing Sildenafil with Tadalafil

Is Tadalafil More Potent than Sildenafil?

Tadalafil may be considered more potent than sildenafil for some people due to its longer-lasting effects. However, in terms of increasing erection strength and fighting ED, both medications offer the same general benefits.

Some individuals may react better to one medication over the other. Aside from the overall duration, both medicines are equally potent in treating ED.

In some cases, taking sildenafil immediately after a meal may make the medication less potent. Tadalafil, in comparison, can be taken on either an empty stomach or after a meal without a difference in potency.

Which Lasts Longer?

Tadalafil’s effects may last up to 36 hours in some cases, making it a much longer-lasting medication than sildenafil.

In comparison, sildenafil generally lasts between 6-8 hours after one dose. Younger men with good blood vessels can feel the effects for up to 24 hours.

Which Works Quicker?

Tadalafil and sildenafil both take around 30-60 minutes to begin working.

Sildenafil works best on an empty stomach, so be sure to take it 30 minutes before eating or 2 hours after. Eating or drinking prior to taking sildenafil will slow absorption and decrease response.

Tadalafil is less impacted by food in the stomach. Some will still see an effect in 30 minutes, while for others it'll take 2 to 12 hours.

Is Sildenafil or Tadalafil Better?

Since both medications are highly beneficial in fighting ED, determining which is better comes down to personal preference and how one reacts to the medicine.

Tadalafil does have a few advantages, including:

  • It can be taken on an empty or full stomach
  • The effects may last up to 36 hours allowing for more spontaneity
  • It can help against an enlarged prostate (BPH)

However, the longer duration of tadalafil also means that any unwanted side effects may last longer as well. For those who are more sensitive to these types of medications, sildenafil may be more ideal since it only lasts for around 6 hours.

Men with poor endothelial function or vascular issues can potentially respond better to a max dose of Sildenafil.

It should also be kept in mind that some generics don't contain 100% of the active ingredient. They may only contain 80% of the same dose as the name brand.

Which One Should I Use?

Consider using tadalafil if you want to take the pill in the morning and then be ready for intercourse whenever the situation arises. Plus, its benefits against BPH make it a more versatile medication as well.

If you’re concerned about unwanted side effects, consider using Sildenafil since the medication only lasts a few hours.

It’s important to work with your doctor to see which medication is best for you. Despite similar side effect profiles, you may react much better to one medication over the other.

Takeaways

Sildelafil and tadalafil are both safe and effective in helping men achieve firmer erections during sex. The medications have a high success rate, in most cases equivalent to the brand drug.

Sildelafil and tadalafil also have similar side effects making them nearly equal outside of the duration of effects.

They’re both relatively inexpensive which makes them a great option for treating erectile dysfunction.

With medications like Sildelafil and tadalafil, along with over-the-counter supplements like VitaFLUX and more, there are countless beneficial options available to help you cure ED and regain control over your sex life.

Related Article

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky M.D. is an American Board Certified Urologist and earned his Medical Degree at New York University. In his tenure he became a member of the American Urological Association and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Kaminetsky pioneered the minimally invasive Rezum BPH treatment and is an expert in male and female dysfunction.

Sources:

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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