Cialis (Tadalafil) Side Effects

Written by the Manual Team · Medically approved by Dr Earim Chaudry - MD

In 30 seconds…

Tadalafil and Cialis are medicines, and like any other, they can have side effects. The good news is that not everyone experiences them! As Tadalafil and Vialis have the same active ingredient, they have practically identical potential side effects. Most of them are minor and are a result of the relaxation of blood vessels – caused by the fact that the medication is a phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor.

The vasodilation effect of the medicine is aiming for the blood vessels in the penis, but the effects can be more widespread. The blood vessels dilate in the penis, supporting a stronger, more long-lasting erection. When all the blood vessels dilate, some of the unintended consequences can include a flushed face, some dizziness from a drop in blood pressure, or headaches. To ward off the possibility of having trouble with side effects, you can always start with a smaller dose and scale up slowly.

What Happens When You Take Cialis or Tadalafil?

Tadalafil
The weekend pill

Known as the “weekend pill” for its long lasting effects, it’s the generic form of Cialis. Clinically proven to help you get an erection when you need it. For up to 36 hours!
Start from £15

Depending on the dose, within 30 minutes to an hour you will have more relaxed blood vessels – ready for sexual arousal to light the fuse and help you achieve and maintain a strong erection.

The medicine acts on blood vessels in general, so whilst you see the effects most in the penis, it is also happening elsewhere in your body. However, outside erectile tissue there isn’t normally a visible effect. Cialis and Tadalafil work the same way and at the same dose, so their physical effects are indistinguishable. Same erection, same relaxation in the circulatory system.

 

What Are the Side Effects?

Side effects are not all of a piece: most are simply inconvenient, but in rare cases others can be more serious. The vast majority of possible side effects are in the inconvenient category. 

The most common side effect is a headache. Typically it wouldn’t be anywhere near as severe as a migraine or a thunderclap headache. A headache happens to about 11% of men who take Tadalafil or Cialis, but there are some precautionary measures you can take. Eating a small meal about an hour before the tablet can help – but avoid eating very fatty food to maximise the medicine’s effectiveness. 

If necessary, you can also take over-the-counter pain medication if you experience a headache with Tadalafil or Cialis – something like paracetamol. If you suffer very severe headaches or cluster headaches, you may wish to consult one of Manual’s expert clinicians about the right ED treatment. 

Since Cialis and Tadalafil are long-acting at higher doses, you may want to experiment with a smaller dose to see if this is a problem for you at first, before going on to a longer-lasting dose once you know how you feel. So, plan A is to start on a small dose, eat a meal, and rest and use suitable over-the-counter pain relief until the headache lifts.

The next most common side effect is Dyspepsia. In plain English, that’s indigestion or an upset stomach, which usually affects less than one in ten men on Tadalafil or Cialis. It’s another potential result of the changes to your smooth muscle in another area. If you have trouble with your stomach after taking Cialis or Tadalafil then eating only light meals and sipping a flat ginger beer could help. The feeling should pass with the effects of the medicine, so there should be no need to worry about any prolonged problems. 

Another possibility for some men is dizziness. Your blood vessels are more relaxed, which means the blood flowing through them creates a lower level of pressure. That means that you’ll have a similar type of feeling to when you stand up too quickly. As with any other side effect, it will pass with the effects of the medication, so start small and work up. It helps to be sensible with alcohol consumption. Most men find they can drink a glass of wine or a pint or two, but more than that risks making any dizziness worse.

A few men can find they can get a stuffy nose when they take any common ED medication. Vasodilation is the culprit again. By opening up the capillaries, arteries and veins, you create a feeling of congestion in your nose. It is usually superficial and passing. You should only make sure that you are otherwise breathing freely and remind yourself to check that it has passed later on when the medicine wears off. 

A purely cosmetic side effect that will bother some men and not others is facial flushing. If you’re the kind of guy who comes back with red cheeks after a run, then you might be in the minority of men who have this extra with Cialis and Tadalafil. It should feel no different to a flush after exercise. Sex should be equivalent to gentle exercise, so it may not be problem to look like you’re post workout, but if not, sit tight and expect it to reduce after the period of maximum effect for the medication. 

Remember: These side effects don’t happen all of the time, and they things that could happen anyway as an unconnected result of common coughs, colds, bugs and minor sniffles.

What Should You Be Aware of When Taking Tadalafil?

There are a few people who have an allergy to Tadalafil, but this is rare. If you are one of these unlucky few, or if you suffer from a prolonged or painful erection, consult your doctor immediately.

Similarly, you should see a doctor if you have any hearing loss. Like any medicine, there are some rare possibilities you shouldn’t ignore. If you experience any visual disturbance, ringing or chest pain, you should seek medical help right away. Think of this as the medical equivalent of knowing where the fire escape is in your building. It’s not expected to be useful – but you need to know what to do in case. 

For comprehensive guidance, always read the leaflet that comes with your medication.

 

How Long do the Side Effects of Tadalafil Last?

Side effects usually last only as long as the medicine is effective. Sometimes they only happen a little while after the medication becomes effective, sometimes they wear off before the useful effects. 

There are no common side effects which last longer than 24 hours after the end of effectiveness, and most subside with the effective period of the medicine. If any side effects last longer than the maximum effectiveness time for the medicine, it’s time to check in with your doctor.

 

Key Takeaways: Is it Safe to Use Tadalafil?

Tadalafil
The weekend pill

Known as the “weekend pill” for its long lasting effects, it’s the generic form of Cialis. Clinically proven to help you get an erection when you need it. For up to 36 hours!
Start from £15

Tadalafil is an MHRA and FDA approved medicine for the management of erectile dysfunction. The British and American drug authorities have signed off on its safety when taken in line with medical advice. There is no better gold standard for medicine

The side effects of Cialis or Tadalafil are usually only something to worry about if you have another serious medical condition. For example, if you have had a stroke or a heart attack within the past 6 months, you should avoid ED medications. Be straightforward about your health status and other medications – answer all medical questionnaires accurately to your current status. Proceed with confidence, but if in any doubt at all, consult the clinicians at Manual.