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Cialis (Tadalafil) vs Viagra (Sildenafil): 7 Things That Make Them Different

In this article, we will lay out the differences between these two medications to help you and your doctor identify which one fits best with your goals and lifestyle.

Read on

Cialis and Viagra are the two most popular oral medications for erectile dysfunction treatment, and they have lots of similarities including:

  • They are both in the class of medications called PDE-5 inhibitors
  • They both only work if the man is mentally stimulated
  • They both can increase and extend the amount of blood flow to the penis.

But, with all these similarities, it may be difficult to tell just how they are different from one another.

In this article, we will lay out the differences between these two medications to help you and your doctor identify which one fits best with your goals and lifestyle.

1. The active ingredients

The active ingredient and generic form of the brand medication Viagra is Sildenafil, and the active ingredient and generic form of Cialis is called Tadalafil.

2. The length of time they last

The amount of time Cialis and Viagra last is probably the most important difference between the two.

Viagra lasts about 4 hours in most people, so this one is better suited for when you are pretty confident in knowing the exact time frame you will need the medication.

Cialis lasts much longer, up to 36 hours, meaning you can be a little more flexible on the time with this one.

Sometimes Cialis is referred to as “the weekend pill” due to its long duration of action.

3. When you should take them

How soon before the expected sexual activity you should take these medications is also a little bit different.

With Viagra, it might set in a little bit quicker, somewhere between 30 minutes to 60 minutes after taking your dose.

Cialis may take a little bit longer, up to 60 minutes, and the onset may be a little more gradual as compared to Viagra.

4. Should you take them with food

There is no direct danger in taking either one of these medications with food, but if we are talking about Viagra, taking it before a large or high-fat meal may mean that it takes longer to get into your system and have an effect.

With Cialis, there does not seem to be the same effect when taking this medication with a meal. But, since the only thing that might happen is that it takes longer for Viagra to kick in, go with your preference: with or without food is fine either way.

5. The recommended dosages

While Viagra and Cialis are similar medications and are in the same medication category, they still come in pretty different strengths due to being different chemicals.

Viagra strengths: 25mg, 50mg, 100mg

Cialis strengths: 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg

50mg is the most common starting dose of Viagra, and 2.5mg or 5mg is the most common starting dose of Cialis.


6. What year they were approved

Between these two medications, Viagra was the first one to be FDA approved in 1998.

Cialis came along not too much later and was approved for use in the united states in 2003.

7. The way the tablet looks

Another difference between Viagra and Cialis is how the tablet looks.

Viagra is commonly known as “the little blue pill” and for all dosages (25mg, 50mg, or 100mg) the medication is a blue diamond shape.

Cialis looks vastly different and the tablets for all strengths are yellow and have an elliptical or egg-like shape.

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