Skip to main content

Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: What’s the Difference?

Dec 15, 2019
Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: What’s the Difference?

When treating erectile dysfunction (ED), your options are pretty much limited to sildenafil and tadalafil. Sildenafil (the generic name for Viagra) and tadalafil (the generic name for Cialis) are the two most common ED drugs from the -fil family. These medications work similarly to treat ED, but they have different ways of getting to that action within the body. 

Both sildenafil and tadalafil work pretty well and target the root cause of ED with relative precision. Neither are lasting cures, but they are effective and have a relatively safe side-effect profile. 

To decide if sildenafil or tadalafil is better for you, it is important to understand how they affect the body differently. Here’s how both of these ED treatments work, the potential side effects of each, and where to get them prescribed in a more convenient (and less awkward) way than visiting your doctor.  

Sildenafil or Tadalafil: How They Work

Both sildenafil and tadalafil are PDE5 inhibitors. This means they block the enzyme PDE5 whose job is, for lack of a better term, to kill erections. Although this sounds like an enzyme you could live without, it isn’t.  

Without PDE5, men in a sympathetic state, also known as fight or flight, would have an erection. It also would likely not go away until our nervous system calmed down. That means a persistent visitor would accompany every near accident while in traffic, important game for your favorite sports team, and stressful task at work. In the absence of sexual arousal, PDE5 comes in and does its job, saving us quite a bit of misery.  

Except sometimes PDE5 does too good of a job and steps in when we don’t want it to. Erectile dysfunction is when a person is unable to achieve and maintain an erection long enough to complete sexual intercourse. This is where medications like tadalafil and sildenafil come in.  

When a man is sexually aroused, these medications essentially block the action of PDE5 to help achieve and maintain an erection. On the basic level of action, they are more or less the same. However, how they should be taken, in what dosages, and how long they stay effective in the body are quite different.

Sildenafil Vs Tadalafil Review

There are quite a few differences between tadalafil and sildenafil to help narrow down your decision. First, tadalafil’s absorption and efficacy are not affected whatsoever if it is taken with certain foods, while sildenafil’s absorption is affected by some foods. Consuming a moderate or high-fat meal will slow down the absorption of sildenafil as well as reduce its effectiveness.  

Tadalafil is also able to remain active in the bloodstream for far longer than sildenafil. It can remain effective for up to 36 hours in most people. Sildenafil will only remain active for 4-5 hours maximum.  

On the other hand, sildenafil is absorbed and becomes active much more quickly than tadalafil. It takes sildenafil an average of 30 minutes to start working. Tadalafil can take 60-120 minutes to start providing benefits.  

Sildenafil or Tadalafil

Tadalafil vs Sildenafil Doses

Dosages of tadalafil are generally much lower than that of sildenafil. It is typically recommended that people taking tadalafil and sildenafil start at doses of 5 milligrams and 25 milligrams respectively. How much you specifically will need to take is going to be incredibly individual. 

Tadalafil is often taken daily at lower dosage levels. This is because it takes longer to start working, but it also lasts longer. Overall, tadalafil can work for much longer (up to 36 hours). It just takes longer to be effective. This is an important consideration when deciding which will fit your lifestyle best. 

Sildenafil Vs Tadalafil Side Effects 

Because tadalafil and sildenafil are such similar compounds, it should be no surprise that their lists of potential side effects are nearly identical.  

Common sildenafil side effects can include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Heartburn 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Flushing or a feeling of warmth 
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Insomnia 

Common tadalafil side effects can include:  

  • Headaches  
  • Heartburn 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Flushing or a feeling of warmth 
  • Nausea 
  • Muscle aches  
  • Respiratory tract infections  
  • Sore throat  
  • Back pain  
  • Cough 

Certain side effects may be significant enough to rule out one ED medication over the other. You should also cover potential side effects more in-depth when speaking with medical professionals. However, the disparity between sildenafil and tadalafil’s side effect profile is negligible. 

Other Sildenafil Vs Tadalafil Risks

Sildenafil and tadalafil should be taken if you are prescribed nitrates. You should use caution when taking tadalafil or sildenafil while on blood pressure medication, too.  

It is also important to note that you should never combine PDE5 inhibitors. So combining sildenafil and tadalafil to take advantage of their unique effectiveness timelines is not advised.  

Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: What’s the Difference?

Tadalafil or Sildenafil: Which is Better? 

Overall, both ED medications are incredibly convenient and effective options for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Which one is best is going to be up to you. 

But is there any proof that sildenafil or tadalafil is more effective at providing a higher rate of erections? In a 2017 meta-analysis (a study done by analyzing many other studies), researchers concluded that the efficacy and safety rates of sildenafil and tadalafil were essentially equal. Researchers did note, however, that the subjects of the studies, as well as their sexual partners, tended to prefer tadalafil.  

This was a completely subjective piece of data. Although interesting, it simply illuminates the personal preference is the take-home message of choosing tadalafil vs sildenafil. Both medications were proven effective, but tadalafil tended to be preferred.  

However, sildenafil works more quickly. But because it has a smaller window of effectiveness, you need to take it as close to having sex as possible. Tadalafil can be taken once every three days and still potentially work. You can also eat foods with fat and take Tadalafil, unlike sildenafil.  

Sildenafil Vs Tadalafil Cost 

While the brand-name versions of tadalafil and sildenafil are rather expensive, the generic versions are much more affordable. Sildenafil and tadalafil are also both approved by the FDA to treat ED.  

Online wellness clinics like Invigor Medical can connect you with a medical professional to obtain a prescription, and order your sildenafil or tadalafil from the convenience of your smartphone. This has allowed them to cut the cost dramatically. Thanks to this, these two compounds are comparable in price as well, leaving one last factor to consider when deciding which treatment option is best for you.  

An additional medication of note is PT-141. The FDA has approved PT-141 to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder. In short, PT-141 treats low sex drive. So, for individuals who want to increase their sex drive, patients can buy PT-141 to boost their libido. 

FDA Approved Medication

FDA Approved Medication

Improve your libido, decrease stress and anxiety, and support weight loss with Oxytocin.

Learn About Oxytocin
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.



Fill out the form below, and one of our treatment specialists will contact you.

Featured Articles

Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: What’s the Difference?

How To Track Your Body Fat And Muscle Mass At Home

Body weight is a difficult measurement to track when you’re trying to lose excess weight or get in shape. Your day-to-day weight is influenced by genetics, diet, and environmental factors. Af…
Sildenafil vs Tadalafil: What’s the Difference?

13 Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss

Hair loss is not life-threatening, but it can be distressing, especially when you don’t know what’s causing it. Some medications cause hair loss. Depending on the medication’s effect on…

Medication Information: Liraglutide

Everything you need to know about Liraglutide.