Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: Which one is right for you?

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.

If you’re having trouble deciding which one’s right for you, this article might help you with your choice.

Quick Overview

Sildenafil (Viagra) Tadalafil (Cialis)
Dosage Available in 25, 50 and 100mg tablets Available in 2.5, 5, 10 and 20mg tablets
How fast does it work? Works within 30-60 minutes Work within 20-30 minutes. Tadalafil Daily is also available, which works throughout the day
How long does it last?
Remains active for 4-6 hours Effects can last up to 36 hours
How to take? Can be taken with or without food, but most effective when taken on an empty stomach Can be taken before or after food, but more effective when taken on an empty stomach
Selling point Has been around much longer than other treatments, and has a proven track record for safety and success. Generic Sildenafil provides a very cost-effective treatment option Is available in lower doses and is long- lasting – which means you won’t need to time your sexual activity
Side effects
Facial flushing, headache, indigestion, and a stuffy or runny nose. May also cause a?green-blue visual tinge Facial flushing, headache, indigestion, and a stuffy or runny nose

What is Sildenafil?

Sildenafil has been around since 1998 and is the active ingredient used in Viagra. Viagra was developed and manufactured by a company called Pfizer. Pfizer had a patent on Viagra until 2013, which when it expired meant that other companies could manufacture their own erectile dysfunction medication.

The other companies that manufacture sildenafil already have the ingredients and do not need to pay for clinical trials or marketing, as this has already been done by Pfizer. This is the reason that the generic version of sildenafil is available at a much lower cost. The active ingredient is exactly the same and they both are equally as effective as each other. 

What is Tadalafil?

Much like sildenafil, tadalafil is an active, unbranded medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction. Tadalafil is the active ingredient used in the more well-known product Cialis. In 2003, a company named Eli Lilly introduced Cialis as an alternative ED medication.

The patent for Cialis expired in 2017, allowing other pharmaceutical companies to manufacture a non-branded (generic) version at a cheaper price. Both generic tadalafil and Cialis contain the same active ingredient, and there is no difference in effectiveness between the two.

What’s the difference between Tadalafil and Sildenafil?

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.

The main differences between tadalafil and sildenafil are how quickly they work and how long they last. Tadalafil helps you get an erection within 30 minutes, whereas sildenafil can take up to an hour. Sildenafil can be effective for up to 4 hours. With tadalafil, the effects can last 24 to 36 hours, which is much longer than sildenafil.

Tadalafil is available in 4 strengths (2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg) and sildenafil is available in 3 strengths (25mg, 50mg, and 100mg). The lower dose strengths (2.5mg and 5mg) of tadalafil are used daily for men who have sex more than 2 times a week. The higher doses of tadalafil and the sildenafil doses are for use as needed, not more than once a day.

Tadalafil and sildenafil are each made by different medicines companies as they are both generic or ‘off patent’. You may have heard of the brand name Viagra and its active ingredient is sildenafil. Tadalafil is also known by the brand name Cialis. Brand-name medicines tend to be more expensive, so it’s cheaper to get either tadalafil or sildenafil as generic medicines. Generic medications work in the same way as brand-name medications.

Does Tadalafil work more quickly than Sildenafil?

Tadalafil works quicker than sildenafil by around 10-20 minutes on average. Sildenafil works around 30-60 minutes after it has been taken, whereas tadalafil works around 20-30 minutes after it has been taken. This can depend on the individual and how they respond to each treatment. Both sildenafil and tadalafil work best on an empty stomach. Taking tadalafil or sildenafil after a meal is likely to increase the length of time it takes to work.

Does Tadalafil last longer than Sildenafil?

Tadalafil lasts longer than sildenafil. Sildenafil has a duration of action of up to 4 hours, whilst tadalafil can last for up to 36 hours. This does not mean you will have a constant erection for the time periods each drug is active for. It means that you will achieve an erection upon sexual stimulation, for the time period that the drug is active. Tadalafil 2.5mg and 5mg (tadalafil daily) can be taken every day and is best suited for those that have more than 2 sexual encounters per week.

Which one has a higher success rate?

Both medications have a high success rate, helping the majority of men to regain control over their erections. In clinical trials for Sildenafil, Sildenafil 100mg was effective at treating 82 percent of patients; while in clinical trial data for Cialis, 81 percent of patients found that Tadalafil improved their erections. The clinical trial data indicates that both are effective and there is no significant difference between the two drugs.

Which one has the least side effects?

As both drugs work in the same way, they share many of the same side effects. These include face flushing, headaches, and indigestion.  However, Sildenafil also has a few other effects that don’t seem to affect users of Tadalafil to the same extent, such as rashes, visual disturbances and diarrhoea.  Headaches also occur more commonly with Sildenafil but may last longer with Tadalafil.  If any of these affect you after taking a dose of Sildenafil, Tadalafil may be a better option.

Which one is better?

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.

Generally speaking, Tadalafil is a more modern, effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. Tadalafil appears to offer advantages over Sildenafil when it comes to the most desirable attributes for an erectile dysfunction medication, including duration of action, the onset of action, and side effects.