How Long Does Cialis (Tadalafil) Last?

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Tadalafil, also known by its brand name Cialis, is one of the most popular treatments for erectile dysfunction. A prescription-only drug, tadalafil is available in different strengths depending on the regularity of your sexual activity. Generally, tadalafil treatments last for 36 hours. However, there is also an option to take a tablet daily, which has a continuous effect allowing for spontaneous sexual activity.


What is tadalafil?

Tadalafil is a medication that is primarily used to treat erectile dysfunction. It can also be prescribed for those with benign prostate enlargement or to treat pulmonary hypertension.

Tadalafil comes in the form of tablets, which are taken orally with water. Tadalafil reviews suggest that most men find it to be an effective solution to treat ED. 


What is the Difference Between Tadalafil and Cialis?

Tadalafil is the name of the active ingredient in both Cialis and tadalafil tablets. Cialis is a brand name for a version of tadalafil tablets, but both produce identical results dependent on the tadalafil dosage.


How Does Tadalafil Work?

A male erection is achieved through blood flowing into the penis, caused by a release of nitrous oxide in the body triggered following sexual arousal. After arousal, a chemical known as PDE5 is released which helps the penis return to its flaccid state. The premature triggering of PDE5 is the cause of erectile dysfunction in most cases.

Tadalafil is known as a PDE5 inhibitor, which stops the production of this chemical and promotes increased blood flow to the penis following sexual arousal.

Tadalafil does not trigger an erection itself, and will not cause an erection that lasts 36 hours. It works by helping the body to sustain one naturally. Sexual arousal is still required to achieve an erection.


What’s the Difference Between Tadalafil and Viagra?

Tadalafil is quite similar to the medication sildenafil, which is commonly sold under the brand name Viagra. Both are PDE5 inhibitors which primarily serve to encourage blood flow to the penis during sexual arousal.

One of the main differences between tadalafil and Viagra is its extended life in the body, know as its half life. While Viagra tends to be effective for four-to-five hours, tadalafil can be active for up to 36 hours. A lower dose of tadalafil can also be taken daily, providing a continuous effect.

Technically, tadalafil and Viagra differ in the number of other phosphodiesterases (PDE) that they inhibit. Viagra also inhibits PDE6 and PDE1, while tadalafil further inhibits PDE11. These differences can result in experiencing different side effects when taking Viagra compared to tadalafil, such as heightened light sensitivity and flushing.


Is Tadalafil Safe?

Tadalafil has been an approved medication for erectile dysfunction since 2003 and is considered safe to use. However, as with all medication, there are circumstances where you should not take tadalafil.

You should not take tadalafil if you have had an allergic reaction to this or similar medication in the past. You should also not take tadalafil if you have had heart or liver problems, including high or low blood pressure, a stroke or heart attack.

Instances where tadalafil may not be suitable to use is if:

  • You have had an allergic reaction to a PDE5 inhibitor.
  • You have low blood pressure.
  • You have heart, kidney or liver problems.
  • You are taking nitrates, heart or epilepsy medication.

If you are taking any medication or have pre-existing medical conditions, you should speak to a doctor before taking tadalafil.


Are There Side Effects When Taking Tadalafil?

Side effects from tadalafil are uncommon. They are generally experienced more in those that take higher doses, but this is not always the case. Side effects will usually pass after a few hours.

Side effects of tadalafil can include:

  • Headache or dizziness.
  • A stuffy or congested nose.
  • Muscle aches or heart palpitations.
  • Blurred vision.

More serious side effects are rare. If you experience any of these issues when taking tadalafil, call a doctor immediately:

  • Chest pains during or after sex.
  • An erection that lasts for more than four hours.
  • Problems with sight or hearing.
  • Rashes, hives or swelling around the face.
  • Seizures or fits.


Types of Tadalafil

Tadalafil is available in two different doses which can provide treatment for different lengths of time.

The most common version of tadalafil is known as the 36-hour tablet, available at dosages of either 10mg or 20mg. This version of tadalafil is designed for faster, more short-term activity, and can last for up to 36 hours.

The alternative option is known as tadalafil daily. Daily tadalafil tablets are available as 2.5mg and 5mg tablets and are designed to be taken on a daily basis, as opposed to just before sexual activity.

Tadalafil daily tablets provide a continuous effect for as long as they are taken. This means that you do not need to take a tablet before sexual activity, as tadalafil will be in your system and exert its effect upon sexual stimulation.


How Long Does Tadalafil Last?

Tadalafil is avaialable in different strengths. The lower 2.5mg and 5mg strengths, known as tadalafil daily, have a continuous effect. The 10mg and 20mg "on demand" doses can last for up to 36 hours. 


How Long Does Tadalafil Daily Last?

Once enough of the tadalafil drug has built up in your system, it will provide a continuous effect, allowing for an erection to be achieved at any time following sexual arousal. Tadalafil daily can remain effective for up to 5 days after you have stopped taking the medication.

Tadalafil daily tablets are preferred by those who prefer a more active and spontaneous sex life.


How long before Tadalafil daily starts working?

Tadalafil daily is a small dose of 5mg. It can take around 3-5 days for tadalafil daily to build up in your system and start to work. Once enough of it is in your bloodstream, it will have a continuous effect, avoiding the need to schedule doses. 


How Long Does Tadalafil 36 Hour Last?

As the name suggests, the higher dose of tadalafil tablets (10mg and 20mg) are active for up to 36 hours. Unlike tadalafil daily, which remains in the body, the 36-hour alternative should be taken 30-60 minutes before sexual activity.


Diagram showing how long tadalafil lasts


How Long Does Tadalafil Take To Work?

The lower doses of tadalafil 2.5mg and 5mg have a continuous effect. You will usually need to wait around 5 days for enough of the drug to build up in your blood.

The higher doses that are used when required, take around 30 minutes before they start to work. They can take effect quicker, but for optimal results, you should wait half an hour to allow tadalafil levels to peak in your blood. This is more likely to illicit a successful response. 


What happens when you take Tadalafil (Cialis)?

infographic showing what happens when you take tadalafil

We hope that this blog has answered many of your questions concerning tadalafil. If you’re uncertain as to which erectile dysfunction treatment is right for you, contact our trained team who can advise on the best course of action for you.

Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.