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Viagra vs. Cialis: Which One is Right for You?

Viagra and Cialis have provided relief from ED for tens of millions of men worldwide.

Viagra and Cialis have provided relief from ED for tens of millions of men worldwide.

Viagra and Cialis are two of the most widely prescribed drugs in the US, and are the most popular two medications for treating erectile dysfunction (ED).

On research firm IMS’s list of the 100 best selling prescription drugs in the US, Cialis ranked #15, with 7,542,063 prescriptions written from October 2013 through September 2014, and Viagra ranked #16, with 7,431,369 during that time period.

Viagra was the first prescription medication for treatment of ED, entering the market in 1998. Cialis was introduced in 2003. Both have been heavily advertised to consumers, and both have been blockbuster drug for their manufacturers, Pfizer and Lilly.

If you’re a man experiencing ED, you may wonder which of these drugs you should try. Both address ED in the same way: by inhibiting the action of an enzyme called PDE-5 in the walls of blood vessels so that the blood vessels can relax and allow more blood to flow into the penis. But the formulations are slightly different, and you might get a different effect from one versus the other. Here are some considerations for making the decision between Viagra and Cialis.

Onset of Action

Generally, Viagra takes about 30 minutes to work, and this can be affected by whether the drug is taken with food or not. Taking Viagra with food can delay the start of effectiveness for a bit, and the drug may be slightly less effective if it’s taken along with high-fat foods. Cialis may take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to start working, and this is the case whether or not it is taken with food, and regardless of what type of food it’s taken with. There’s really no way of knowing whether you’ll experience relief sooner or later with Cialis unless you try it for yourself.

Half-Life of Viagra vs. Cialis

Viagra continues to work for 4 to 5 hours after it’s taken. The effects of Cialis last a lot longer – up to 36 hours. In fact, Cialis has been heavily marketed based on its long half-life in comparison with other prescription ED medications. Nicknamed “the weekend pill,” Cialis could theoretically be taken Friday night and still be effective Sunday morning, though there are no guarantees. Some men like taking Viagra knowing they’ll have a 4 to 5 hour window of effectiveness, while others prefer taking Cialis for its long-acting properties, which they believe allow for more sexual spontaneity, so it’s really a personal preference.

Dosing Options

The typical starting dose for Viagra is 50 mg, taken as needed. As a cost-saving measure, many doctors prescribe Viagra at the 100 mg dosage and advise patients to split the tablets in half, since the 100 mg tablets and the 50 mg tablets cost the same. Some men may not respond to the 50 mg dose and must take 100 mg for effectiveness. But Viagra is also prescribed in 25 mg tablets, and some men may find the 25 mg dose to be effective, with fewer side effects than the higher doses.

Cialis is usually prescribed in 10 mg tablets, though a 20 mg version is available for men who need it. Cialis is unique among ED medications in that it may be prescribed at a low dosage (5 mg) to be taken daily for more continuous relief from ED. Men for whom Cialis works well and who prefer maximum spontaneity in their sex lives may find that taking 5 mg of Cialis every day is the best dosing option for them.

Benefits for Other Conditions

Viagra is proving to be a flexible and powerful drug, with the ability to treat a remarkable range of health conditions, many of which have nothing to do with ED. For example, it is prescribed under the brand name Revatio as a treatment for a dangerous form of pulmonary hypertension. It is also being studied in the treatment of altitude sickness, menstrual cramps, stroke, and certain types of benign tumors in children. But most men take it for its marketed purpose: reliable relief from erectile dysfunction.

Both Viagra and Cialis are also prescribed for conditions other than ED.

Both Viagra and Cialis are also prescribed for conditions other than ED.

Cialis is primarily prescribed for relief from ED, but it is also marketed as a treatment for a prostate condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that causes unpleasant symptoms like urinary urgency, difficulty urinating, or excessive night-time urination. Cialis for daily use at the 5 mg dosage is also prescribed for men who want relief from both ED and symptoms of BPH, relieving both conditions with a single medication.

Cost

If you are prescribed Viagra at the 100 mg dosage and split the tablets in half so you’re taking 50 mg as needed, expect to pay around $38 per 100 mg pill. This translates to $19 per dose, since each pill is split in half.

If you are prescribed Cialis at the standard as-needed dose of 10 mg, expect to pay around $41 per pill. Cialis taken as daily therapy (for ED, or ED and BPH) at a dosage of 5 mg is significantly cheaper per dose, at around $7 per pill, according to the Familywise drug price lookup website.

Safety

The safety profiles of Viagra and Cialis are similar. In other words, if your doctor says you are a good candidate for Viagra, then chances are you’re a good candidate for Cialis too, and vice versa. This is good news, because some men find that for whatever reason, one drug works better for them than the other, and they can be confident that the safety risks are comparable regardless of which they choose. Of course, any unusual or alarming side effects should be reported to a doctor right away.

Conclusion

Viagra and Cialis are two extremely popular treatments for ED. The decision as to which one to choose is largely down to personal preferences based on rapidity of effectiveness, length of effectiveness, presence or absence of BPH symptoms, cost, and personal experience. Tens of millions of men worldwide have found relief from ED with Viagra and Cialis, so if you suffer from ED, there’s every reason to talk to your doctor about these medications.

At AccesRx.com, we work with US-licensed pharmacists to dispense Viagra, Cialis, and other lifestyle medications at competitive prices with unmatched convenience, and we’re thoroughly committed to outstanding customer service, discretion, and the most stringent online security.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+