Compare Viagra vs. Cialis: Treatment, Side Effects, Cost

Written by Shivam Patel, PharmD, BSPS, RPh | Posted March 24, 2021

I have dispensed thousands of Viagra and Cialis prescriptions to patients throughout my career. In all my consultations, some men have success with Viagra, while others swear by Cialis. Some just go with whichever is cheapest. My advice is that they both are very effective at treating ED symptoms, helping men achieve a better sexual relationship with their partner, thereby increasing overall quality of life. Which one you go with depends on the effectiveness in your body, how sexually active you are, and, too often, cost. Find a balance in these factors, choose one, and carry on with your life.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can happen to anyone. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. 31% of males experience ED symptoms at some point or another. Symptoms include such unpleasantries as loss of sexual interest and ejaculation problems. Fortunately for people going through this, there are medications like Viagra and Cialis that can help! (There are even other options if those don’t work out.) For now, we’ll stick to comparing Cialis and Viagra. 

Which is better, Cialis or Viagra?

Cialis and Viagra are both very effective at treating erectile dysfunction symptoms. In a comparison study between the two, it was shown that the effectiveness of Viagra was higher at 84% vs. Cialis at 81%. There are some differences between the two you should know about that can help you decide what is better for you.

Compare Viagra vs. Cialis Treatment

Generic Name (Brand) When should I take it? How long will it be effective? What is the dose? Pharmacist Tip 
sildenafil (Viagra) 30 to 60 minutes prior to sexual intercourse. 4 hours 50 - 100mg for most men.   25mg if you are over 65. Take it on an empty stomach for the best effect.
tadalafil (Cialis) Two forms either daily or as needed 30 minutes before sex.  36 hours Daily pill: 2.5mg or 5mg   The weekender pill comes in 5, 10, and 20mg doses. 10mg is the usual starting dose. Take it with or without food.    Avoid taking with grapefruit juice as could worsen side effects
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Does viagra make you harder than Cialis?

Viagra and Cialis are both effective at helping men with erectile dysfunction produce a strong erection. In my opinion, they are both good at encouraging a hard erection when you are having difficulty. The only way you will know which one works better for you is by trying both, but absolutely not at the same time!

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Which erectile dysfunction drug is best?

The best drug for ED is the one that works best for you. I recommend trying Viagra or Cialis as they are both first-line therapy options. Here is a list of all the first-line therapies for ED:

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Does Viagra work faster than Cialis?

Viagra usually works faster than Cialis for most people; however, Cialis can remain working for up to 36 hours.

Viagra vs. Cialis: Which works faster?

Generic Name (Brand) How fast will it start working? Verdict
sildenafil (Viagra) Within 30 to 60 minutes Winner
tadalafil (Cialis) Within 30 minutes to 2 hours.  
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Does Cialis keep you erect post-ejaculation?

Cialis should not keep you erect after ejaculation: you will lose your erection as you would normally. Most people will not have to worry about this, but, if you ever have an erection lasting longer than four hours, seek emergency medical help immediately as this could cause damage to the penis.

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How long can the average man stay erect?

Most men may actually have a few erections during sleep that last around 25 to 35 minutes long. The length of time a man stays erect may decrease as they get older.

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Recreational use of Viagra and Cialis

Pharmacists and providers know there are people who will take Cialis and Viagra recreationally without a prescription. I advise against this as taking these medications without an ED diagnosis can actually have negative effects on your sexual performance. Recreational use of ED drugs can result in lowered erectile confidence and satisfaction.

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Pharmacist's advice about Viagra and Cialis

My advice is simple when it comes to ED: if you are having symptoms, speak to your provider to see if either Viagra or Cialis can help you. See how you respond to the medication. If Viagra or Cialis helps you to combat ED symptoms, stick with it as needed.

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What do Viagra and Cialis look like?

US Brand Viagra and Cialis Appearance

Generic Name (Brand) What does it look like? Photo
sildenafil (Viagra) Viagra is blue, four-sided with Pfizer written on one side and VGR with strength number on the other side
tadalafil (Cialis) Cialis is yellow, egg-shaped and a C with the strength number written on one side
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How much do Viagra and Cialis Cost?

Brand Viagra, Cialis, or the generic versions can become expensive if you don’t utilize free tools that are available, such as a U.S. pharmacy discount card or an accredited online pharmacy. See how you can save up to 99% on these effective ED medications below.

Compare Prices for Viagra and Cialis

Drug Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price Lowest International Pharmacy Price U.S. Discount Card Price Greatest Percentage Discount
Generic Viagra (sildenafil) 100mg  30 tablets $1,418.10 $14.70 $19.69 99%
Brand Viagra (sildenafil) 100mg  30 tablets $2,713.50 $187.80 $2,313.24 93%
Generic Cialis (tadalafil) 5mg 30 tablets $312.90 $13.80 $9.24 97%
Brand Cialis 5mg 30 tablets (tadalafil) $461.10 $103.60 $357.62 78%

U.S. Discount Card price according to pharmacy prices near the zip code 10605. Average retail prices according to GoodRx and Drugs.com.

 
 

Compare Generic Cialis Prices

Compare prices among U.S. discount coupons and accredited international online pharmacies

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