ED Medication Technical Details

Be educated about your options.

ED MedDeep Dive

Viagra® (Sildenafil) and Cialis® (Tadalafil) are oral medications used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is very common! According to the CDC nearly 1 in 5 American men occasionally have a problem with getting or keeping an erection. When ED becomes a problem, oral medication can safely and reliably help. Sildenafil and Tadalafil are two of the oldest and best studied options. They work in similar ways but have some key differences, such as when you take them, how long they work, and what their side effects are.

How They Work

Sildenafil and Tadalafil both work by targeting and blocking a compound in your body called PDE5. When this happens, smooth muscles in your penis relax. Relaxed muscles allow blood to flow freely, making it easier to get and maintain an erection when you’re aroused. In other words, these drugs don’t make you aroused on their own, but they help knock down physical and psychological hurdles so that when you do get in the mood, you can count on being ready to go!

Sildenafil vs. Tadalafil

Both Sildenafil and Tadalafil work similarly, including a success rate of over 80%, but there are some differences for you to consider when deciding which is best for you. There are some differences in side effects to consider. The major difference is in how long they last, Tadalafil lasts much longer and as such may be better if you want the freedom to be a little more spontaneous with when sex happens.


Sildenafil Tadalafil
How does it work? PDE5 blocker
How fast does it work? About 30 minutes
How long does it last? 4-6 hours 24-36 hours
Which is more expensive? Sildenafil is slightly cheaper, however both are generic and very affordable
When do I take it? As needed As needed OR a smaller daily does
Can I take it with alcohol? Alcohol may increase side effects
Can I take it with food? It’s safe, but food will slow down how fast it works. Especially fatty foods Can take with or without food
Can I take it with other drugs? Both can interact with various prescription drugs, but you’ll speak with a doctor before being prescribed to make sure you’re safe.
Most common side effects: Headache, flushing, stomach pain
Visual disturbance Limb pain, muscle pain, back pain