tadalafil pill

What Happens If You Take Too Much Cialis?

Highlights

  • It’s possible to overdose on Cialis, with serious potential problems including a prolonged erection (priapism), a dangerous drop in blood pressure, and other concerns.
  • If you overdose on Cialis, contact poison control immediately. 
  • Always use Cialis and tadalafil according to directions, at the proper dosage.

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Dr. Michael DiLeo
Latest posts by Dr. Michael DiLeo (see all)

Like any medication, erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs like Cialis and its generic tadalafil have the potential for abuse. Sometimes it’s intentional — like the 22-year-old frat boy who thinks it’ll make for a fun night of hookups. Other times, it’s a simple mistake, like an 80-year-old forgetting he already took his ED pill.

Whatever the reason, taking too much of any erectile dysfunction drug can be dangerous. Here are some side effects that could occur with an ED drug overdose.

What Does a Cialis Overdose Do To Your Body?

Cialis is a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor. These prevent an enzyme from acting, which allows the blood vessels of the penis to open wider and let more blood in.

While it’s most famous for what it does in the bedroom, Cialis and other PDE5 inhibitors actually work across your entire body. Some of them are even used for other purposes; sildenafil, for example, is used to treat pulmonary hypertension under the brand name Revatio.

Too much of a good thing, however, can cause some unpleasant side effects, including a rare but dangerous one, priapism.

Can a Tadalafil Overdose Cause Priapism?

PDE5 inhibitor ads are famous for the phrase, “If you have a painful erection that lasts more than four hours, see a doctor right away,” or words to that effect. It became the butt of jokes almost immediately and has been one ever since. But trust us — priapism is no laughing matter.

Too much blood flowing to the penis and getting trapped there can be painful and can also lead to long-term tissue damage, disfiguring of your penis, and even permanent erectile dysfunction.

Priapism is a serious problem because the longer blood is trapped in the penis, the less oxygen is available to its tissues. It’s also extremely painful.

Untreated, priapism can lead to long-term sexual problems. If tissue is damaged enough, scar tissue can change the shape of your penis and cause permanent disfigurement and ED.

Luckily, if a prolonged erection is identified early enough, medical professionals have a few options:

  • Treating with medication, usually injected directly into the penis.
  • Draining blood from the penis, usually by puncturing the tip and draining blood from the organ directly.
  • Installing shunts in the body, usually by opening the perineum (also known as the “taint”).

Needless to say, the recovery from these experiences can be long and painful, so it’s best avoided.

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Other Rare but Serious Cialis Side Effects

tadalafil tablet

Your doctor will go over some of the more common side effects when prescribing Cialis. Luckily, severe reactions are rare, but there’s always a risk of experiencing more serious side effects when taking any new drug. Here are a few more you should be aware of if you’re taking any ED medication, including Cialis and tadalafil.

A Severe Drop in Blood Pressure

For men taking medications like nitrates, too much of any erectile dysfunction drug can be additive and cause a sudden and rapid drop in blood pressure. Nitrates are used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) more often than you might realize, including drugs like:

  • Nitroglycerin
  • Isosorbide dinitrate
  • Isosorbide mononitrate

Nitrates reduce your blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels. Since PDE5 inhibitors achieve the same result, a tadalafil overdose paired with nitrates can drop your blood pressure down to dangerous levels. You’ll probably recognize the symptoms immediately: dizziness, nausea, weakness, blurry vision, rapid breathing and difficulty concentrating.

In extreme cases, the low blood pressure will reduce the amount of oxygen enough to impact vital organs, like the brain and heart. Just like in priapism, as less oxygen gets to these tissues, they’ll begin to suffer damage and even die.

Nor is this the only problem. If the drop in blood pressure and resulting loss of blood flow is high enough, you could potentially go into shock. Shock requires immediate treatment and can cause problems across the entire body, and even be fatal.

Allergic Reactions

As with any medication, some people may have allergies to the active ingredients in ED medications.

If you experience any of the following signs of an allergic reaction, call Poison Control or head to your local emergency room right away.

  • Rash or hives
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat

If you’ve had trouble with PDE5 inhibitors in the past, or just want to be thorough, ask for an allergy test from your doctor before you start taking a new ED medication.

Vision Loss

In some cases, people have reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision after taking tadalafil or similar medications. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. The effect is most often temporary, but in very rare cases, it can be permanent.

It’s not clear whether tadalafil is the direct (vs indirect) cause of vision loss in known cases. But if you experience a sudden decrease or loss of vision, play it safe. Stop taking tadalafil and contact your doctor right away.

Hearing Loss

Some people have reported a sudden decrease or loss of hearing after taking tadalafil or similar medications. This can be accompanied by ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or dizziness.

Again, this effect is usually temporary but could become permanent in very rare cases. Once more, it’s not clear whether tadalafil is the actual cause or contributes to hearing loss in these cases. But if you experience a sudden decrease or loss of hearing, stop taking tadalafil and seek immediate medical attention.

Embarrassment Over a Cialis Overdose Can Be Dangerous

patient at the doctor's

It’s a common refrain for penis injuries, tadalafil overdoses, and other penis ailments: The patient knew there was a problem, but they were too ashamed to seek treatment and hoped it’d just go away.

It may be embarrassing to admit you took erectile dysfunction drugs, but telling the truth and seeking help could save your life — or at the very least, your sex life. Doctors need to be fully informed about what you’ve taken, when you’ve taken it, and where you got it in order to effectively treat you.

You Don’t Have to Live With ED

Treating ED can help you feel more secure in your relationship, help you focus on important aspects of your health, and inject more energy into your sex life. Getting a prescription from a reputable source of FDA-approved medications is a positive step to feeling better about your sex life, while better protecting your overall health.

Buying Cialis Online

You can often save time and money by ordering your ED drugs online from a trusted facilitator such as eDrugstore. Based in Tempe, Arizona, we carry only FDA-approved medications sourced exclusively from licensed U.S. pharmacies.

Buying from eDrugstore is convenient and private, with encrypted payment systems and privacy-protecting labeling so you can get the ED drugs you need without waiting in line or having any awkward conversations.

Our telehealth consultation can also help you determine if ED medication is right for you and write your prescription if you don’t already have one. eDrugstore is also fully HIPAA-compliant, ensuring that your patient data and other health information is stored securely and treated with respect.

To learn more, visit our erectile dysfunction page.

 

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