Erectile dysfunction

How to maximise the effects of your ED Drug

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Medically approved by Dr Earim Chaudry
Chief Medical Officer
iconLast updated 2nd June 2021

In 30 seconds…

If you’re taking medication for erectile dysfunction (ED), you’ll want to ensure it works as well as it can. The good news is that you can make your Cialis (Tadalafil), Viagra, or generic unbranded Sildenafil fully-effective just by following some simple tips.

Fatty foods will delay the onset of the medication, so these are best avoided before taking Viagra or Sildenafil. Meanwhile, it’ll help to steer clear of medications, or drugs like alcohol, that interact with the ED drugs. Staying patient and relaxed will move you in the right direction, too – and always sticking to the prescribed dose is essential.

If you’re dead-set on enhancing the effects of Cialis and Viagra, combine them with a healthy lifestyle. Meds can’t do everything on their own.

Can You Make ED Medications Even More Effective?

Medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) are already highly effective. Cialis and Viagra work successfully in the vast majority of men, giving strong enough erections for sex to 80% of men with ED.

That’s no mean feat. 40% of men under 40 have experienced some degree of erectile dysfunction, whilst the likelihood climbs as you age. With 70% of men at 70 having had it, ED is really pretty common. And these ED treatments can help at any age.

However, if you want to ensure that your Viagra or Cialis is as effective as it can be, there are some simple steps to follow. These are science-backed, straightforward, and recommended every time you take your ED pills. Don’t neglect them when you’re heading into the bedroom.

Here are some rules to make your Viagra and Cialis more effective every time…

How Can I Boost the Effectiveness of Cialis and Viagra?

ED drugs like Cialis and Viagra contain active ingredients that intervene in your body’s processes. These active agents – Tadalafil in Cialis, and Sildenafil in Viagra – work with your body to enable you to achieve erections. Unfortunately, they are not on-and-off switches that do everything on their own. 

To make Cialis and Viagra more effective, you need to ensure that your body is in the best position to receive them. What you do, what you eat and drink, and when you take the pills will have an impact on the effectiveness of Viagra and Cialis. And they are both ineffective in the absence of sexual stimulation.

Here are some tips to enhance Cialis and Viagra’s effectiveness.

Avoid Fatty Meals Before Taking ED Treatments

Doctors generally recommend that you watch what you eat before taking ED medications. This particularly matters when you’re taking Viagra. Foods high in fats – such as meat and cheese – are the most likely to delay the onset, and therefore you may miss the opportunity – or not reach peak onset – when anticipating sex using the typical timescale for Viagra’s effectiveness.

Tadalafil is much more easily absorbed on a full stomach. However, to enhance Cialis’s effects, it’s best to avoid grapefruit, as this interacts with many drugs, including Tadalafil and Sildenafil. Overall, if you want to optimise the effects of Cialis or Viagra, it’s best to take them only after a light meal – also because this will avoid dietary gastric emptying.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

The ethanol in alcoholic beverages affects the absorption and effectiveness of all sorts of medications. This is equally true for PDE5 inhibitors like Tadalafil and Sildenafil. Alcohol prevents ED medications from being used by your body as they should be. And it increases the risk of Cialis and Viagra side effects too.

To get the optimal effect from your Viagra or Cialis, it’s best to avoid alcohol in high quantities when you’re taking them. You won’t regret it: alcohol consumption is also one of the main reasons behind erectile dysfunction, so it may do you good in the long run.

Be Aware of Drug Interactions

Before you take your ED pills, make sure you know what other things Sildenafil and Tadalafil interact with. We’ve talked about grapefruit and alcohol, but there are drugs that can reduce the effectiveness of Viagra and Cialis – and that can be dangerous in combination with them.

Nitrates are one of the drugs to look out for. Nitrates and ED medications relax the muscles around your blood vessels, thus lowering your blood pressure. Taking these drugs together at the same time can cause dangerous drops in blood pressure. That’s something you’ll really want to avoid, especially if you have a serious heart condition.

Take Your ED Meds at the Right Time

Knowing when to take your ED pills is crucial if you want them to be as effective as possible. Tadalafil and Sildenafil take different amounts of time to kick into action, so know what’s what before you take them.

Viagra is usually at its most effective about an hour after you take it. Meanwhile, the official timescale for Tadalafil is an average of 2 hours – but actually it can often take effect within 30 minutes.

Naturally, this will differ for each individual, so take things slow and see how you feel. You’ll know how your body responds after a few uses – and whilst it won’t make Viagra or Cialis “more effective”, timing things right will mean you’re in action when you’re at the peak of your power. Remember: never combine two different ED drugs within the same 24 hours of their effects wearing off.

Don’t Fret if it Doesn’t Work

You might expect magic, but they’re really just medicines. Not all drugs work on the first time. Don’t panic if this is the case: it doesn’t mean it won’t work at all, nor that nothing ever will.

It is common for men trying Cialis or Viagra for the first time to be nervous – and this affects your erections too. Give it a few goes before giving up: in fact, it can take up to 8 separate occasions before you should exclude a treatment as ineffective. Then you might consider switching things up: if Sildenafil doesn’t work, Tadalafil might… and vice-versa.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

The best way to make Tadalafil and Sildenafil more effective is to combine the treatment with a healthy lifestyle. ED is usually the result of inadequate blood flow to the place where you need it, and this can be improved by simple lifestyle changes.

For the best erections, quit smoking and reduce the amount of alcohol and fatty foods you consume. Meanwhile, regular exercise has a positive impact on erections, and cutting down on stress can help too.

All of these measures are likely to help enhance your ED drug’s effectiveness – by making erections easier to achieve and maintain in the first place.

article cta image
Cialis (Tadalafil)
Known as the “weekend pill” because it is effective for up to 36 hours, Tadalafil is the generic, unbranded version of Cialis. Clinically proven to help you get an erection when you need it.
Best for
Weekend use
Effective in
Effective in 8 out of 10 men
Dosage 2.5mg, 10mg, 20mg
2.5mg, 10mg, 20mg

Key Takeaways

There are many simple ways to make Viagra and Cialis more effective. Ensuring that you take the medications as recommended is always the first and best way to ensure that they’re as effective as they can be. This means taking the right dose, but also avoiding excessive fatty foods and alcohol whilst using the drugs – and leaving enough time between taking them and needing the results.

Meanwhile, a healthy lifestyle will help no end. Modifying your diet and lifestyle are most likely to improve wellbeing and tackle the root causes of ED. This is a worthwhile endeavour, and may reduce your need to seek treatment in the first place.

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While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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