Drug vs. Drug

Cialis vs Viagra: Main Differences and Similarities

By | July 30, 2018

Two of the most common erectile dysfunction treatment options include Cialis and Viagra.  Comparing these two drugs is important for a wide population with erectile dysfunction (ED).  Current estimates on erectile dysfunction indicate that close to 30 million men currently have or have had some problem with getting an erection, or have issues with sustaining an erection, in response to sexual stimulation.  In light of this large population suffering from this health condition, the use of prescription medications may be of support.

Both Viagra and Cialis share a benefit of treating and helping with erection issues in men, but there are additional health benefits to each of these prescribed medications (listed ahead). These two drugs work in the body by helping to create an erection in the body by creating an increase in blood flow to the penile region in the male’s body. While they both work to increase blood flow, there are slight variations on how long each work. Listed below is a comprehensive comparison between the two ED drugs Cialis and Viagra.

What’s the Difference Between Cialis and Viagra?

While both Cialis and Viagra are used to treat ED, there are differences between the two drugs that can help to fit your needs. Consider the information below as a description of each erectile dysfunction drug option, but if you feel any of these options are right for you then consider discussing the options with your doctor.

Cialis

Cialis is a common erectile dysfunction drug that is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat the symptoms of ED.  This common medication works to increase the amount of blood flow to the penile region of the male’s body, which helps to promote an erection when needed.  In addition to helping men to achieve an erection, Cialis helps to maintain flow for up to 36 hours from first taking the medication.

The chemical name, or active ingredient, in Cialis is Tadalafil and it comes in a generic drug form, called Tadalafil.  This medication belongs to the class of drugs called vasodilators, which is the enlarging of your blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body. Since ED is a condition in which blood flow is reduced to the penile region, or the extremity, increasing the amount of blood flow with the use of a vasodilator can help to treat impotence.

This medication is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company and there currently are generic formulations.  Cialis comes in pill form and generally the brand name version contains milligram doses of 2.5, 5, 10, and 20 options.  Avoid storing your doses in extreme conditions and consider a room temperature of about 77 degrees F.

RELATED: The ultimate guide to erectile dysfunction

While Cialis is most commonly used for treating ED, there are alternative health conditions in which this drug may be beneficial. In addition to having FDA approval for erection dysfunction, Cialis is also approved for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Prostate problems are a growing concern for a great number of men in the country and it seems the use of Cialis combined with alpha-blockers may help to alleviate these issues. Consider asking your doctor about the use of Cialis for the treatment for this condition. While there is anecdotal evidence suggesting Cialis works for premature ejaculation, there currently is no research, or clinical trials, to support this claim as of yet.

While the potential perks of using Cialis for erectile dysfunction and BPH are good, there are potential side effects to be aware of. Common side effects of Cialis include flushing of the skin, frequent headaches, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure, and a blurry vision.  In rare situations, there can be a sudden decrease or loss of vision and more information is needed to see if there is a link with this side effect and the use of PDE5 inhibitors. Lastly, high blood pressure drugs interact with Cialis, so be sure consult with your doctor if you are currently taking any medications.

Viagra

Very similar to Cialis, Viagra is also an erectile dysfunction prescription medication that is used to treat the effects of ED. This drug also belongs to the class of vasodilators, which works to expand your blood vessels to increase blood flow throughout the body. With an added blood flow to the penile region in the body occurs, the effects of impotence merely vanish. While Cialis can work for up to 36 hours after taking the medication, Viagra stays in the body for about eight hours. There currently is no over-the-counter medication for this condition and a doctor must prescribe this as a result.

The brand name Viagra is manufactured by Pfizer and there currently are generic forms of this medication. The generic version of Viagra is sildenafil citrate and it comes in pill form with various dosage options. Viagra is famously known for its diamond-shaped blue tablet and the milligram dosages of this pill include 25, 50, or 100. Since Viagra starts working in about one hour, it is considered to be a fast-acting medication and there currently are no options for extended release or immediate release forms.

Viagra is a first-line drug for treating ED, but there are alternative uses as well. Commonly, Viagra, or sildenafil citrate, is used to treat pulmonary disorders, especially pulmonary hypertension.  While ED is the premier treatment option for Viagra, consider discussing the potential alternative uses of this medication with your doctor for more information.

As with most all medications, there are side effects in which you should be aware.  The most common side effects of taking Viagra include persistent headaches, facial and skin flushing, stomach pain, blurry vision, back pain, nausea, and dizziness.  If you have had a previous heart attack, you should talk to your doctor first about the use of Viagra, as it could interfere with certain medications to treat heart disease. In addition, you should not take Viagra if you are currently taking nitrates for chest pain, as this could cause drug interactions.

Cialis vs Viagra Side by Side Comparison

As described above, there are vast differences between Cialis and Viagra. Listed below is a complete comparison between these two common erectile dysfunction medications. With that said, the main differences and similarities between Cialis and Viagra are as follows:

Cialis Viagra
Prescribed For
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction
Common Side Effects
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Upset stomach
  • Abnormal vision or hearing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Muscle or back pain
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Upset stomach
  • Abnormal vision or hearing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Muscle or back pain
  • Nosebleeds
Is there a generic?
  • No
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies by provider
  • Varies by provider
Dosage Forms
  • Tablet
  • Tablet
  • Liquid
Average Cash Price
  • $416 (per 30 tablets)
  • $417 (per 6 tablets)
SingleCare Price
Drug Interactions
  • Nitrates for chest pain
  • Some blood pressure medications
  • Consult a doctor for all possible interactions
  • Nitrates for chest pain
  • Some blood pressure medications
  • Consult a doctor for all possible interactions

Summary

Two of the most common first-line ED medications include Cialis and Viagra. These two medications both belong to the drug classification of vasodilators, which means they are designed to expand the blood vessels and increase the total amount of blood flow by releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream with the help of guanylate cyclase. This effect allows for the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.

While Cialis and Viagra are two erectile dysfunction medications that help to treat the condition, they both contain differences. Consider the information above as a description and comparison between these two medications. If you feel that your sexual health could use these treatment options then you should consult with a physician. The information above is meant to be informative and is merely intended to guide your understanding of treatment options available so that you can enhance your sexual activity. Consider consulting with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider for more information.