Cialis and Alcohol: What are the Effects?

Cialis and Alcohol

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Can you drink alcohol with Cialis? Cialis – or Tadalafil, as its active ingredient is known – is a common medical treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). However, as with all medications, it can interact with other medications and substances – including alcohol.
Whilst drinking alcohol in moderation won’t be too problematic, consuming excessive alcohol with Cialis will reduce the efficacy of the medication – and may increase the chances of the drug’s side effects too. These include changes to your blood pressure, dizziness, and headaches – effects that may make sex more difficult.
It’s worth noting that alcohol consumption is also one of the significant causes of ED. Whilst a glass of wine or two will cause no problems, using Cialis and alcohol together might be counterproductive. 

Cialis and Alcohol

Cialis – or Tadalafil, as the branded drug’s active agent is known – is one of the most widely recognised and effective treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED). Alongside similar drugs such as Sildenafil, it works to increase the flow of blood to the penis, increasing your chances of achieving and keeping an erection.

One of the most common questions about ED treatments, however, relates to alcohol. Given the link between alcohol consumption and the likelihood of having sex, this is completely natural. Yet, the question still needs to be answered.

So, can you take alcohol with Cialis? For a number of reasons, it is not recommended to mix Cialis and alcohol. In this article, we’ll take a look at why.

Can You Drink Alcohol with Cialis?

When you take Cialis, the Tadalafil in the pill increases your ability to achieve and sustain an erection. It does this by targeting an enzyme, known as PDE5, that is responsible for smooth muscle contraction in the penis. When this enzyme is inhibited, more blood can flow to where you want it – giving you the desired effect.

However, this process doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Rather, the different things that you consume – including alcohol and other medications – affect the way that the drug works.

How Does Alcohol Affect Cialis?

Firstly, alcohol can reduce Tadalafil’s effectiveness. So, while you are welcome to drink alcohol whilst on Cialis, don’t expect the same results.

This is because the same enzymes that your body uses to metabolise alcohol work to break down medications too. If there is more alcohol in your system, your body produces more of these enzymes. As a result, medications are broken down rather than absorbed – meaning that they don’t end up where they should.

Consequently, when you drink alcohol with Cialis, the active agent will find it harder to do the job that it is designed to do. If Cialis is usually effective in 81% of cases, that likelihood will drop if you go too hard on the alcohol.

Cialis Side Effects with Alcohol

Unfortunately, however, there is another reason why you should avoid drinking too much whilst on Tadalafil. When taken with alcohol, the risks of Cialis’s side effects are increased.

PDE5 inhibitors work to widen your blood vessels, in order to enable the flow of blood to the penis. An by-product of this process is that your blood pressure inevitably becomes lowered – and many of the possible side effects that you can feel when using ED treatments are the result of this.

Yet, the trouble is that alcohol lowers your blood pressure too – in the short term at least. As a result of this, when they interact, Cialis and alcohol can cause severe and sudden drops in blood pressure. These can be dangerous and can lead to dizziness and, in some cases, blackouts.

Whilst this is rare, taking Tadalafil and alcohol together does increase the chances and severity of the medication’s other side effects. Drowsiness, headaches, flushes, and muscle aches all become more common – to the extent that they may interfere with your ability and your desire to have sex. We’d probably all agree that this is counterproductive.

Alcohol and Erectile Dysfunction

Beside the interactions between alcohol and Cialis, however, there is a fundamental point to be made. Simply enough, excessive alcohol consumption exacerbates any difficulties you may already have in achieving erections. ED treatments or not, by drinking too much you are not doing yourself any favours.

The science in this regard is pretty categorical. According to one study, 72% of men with problems of alcohol abuse have sexual dysfunctions – with ED the most common. A similar study found that nearly 60% of alcoholic men struggle with problems with arousal, desire, and their ability to achieve erections. Meanwhile, a study looking specifically at ED found that erectile dysfunction was 40% more likely in men consuming over three units of alcohol a day.

This matters – because if there is a single way to reduce your symptoms of erectile dysfunction, it might be cutting down on booze. This way, you may not need to take Cialis at all.

Should I Avoid Alcohol Entirely whilst on Cialis?

None of this is to say that, when taking Cialis, you should avoid alcohol entirely. A little may well help to settle the mood, to enable you to relax, or to take the edge off any anxiety or shyness. Strangely, according to a study from Sichuan, China, men drinking less than 21 weekly units of alcohol might even be less likely to have ED. In moderation, it might help you to get aroused too.

Whilst a glass of wine or two might will not hurt, then, it is generally recommended to keep alcohol to a minimum when on Cialis. When not on medication, meanwhile, drinking only in moderation is best for your erections – and for your general health too.

Cialis (Tadalafil)

The weekend pill

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
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Effective in
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Dosage
2.5mg, 10mg, 20mg

Key Takeaways

Can you drink alcohol with Cialis? In moderation, yes. There is no problem with drinking a glass of wine or two to help you to relax. In fact, some studies have suggested that this might even be a good thing.

The trouble arises when you combine Cialis and alcohol in large quantities. Alcohol can block the optimal absorption of the medication by your body, whilst it increases the chances of side effects too. These can, in some cases, become quite serious.

Importantly, though, you’re not doing yourself – not your erections – any favours by drinking alcohol excessively. It’s one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction, whilst it impacts your arousal and your wider sexual health too.  

References

  1. Megan E. Patrick, Ph.D. and Jennifer L. Maggs, Ph.D. (2010). Does Drinking Lead to Sex? Daily Alcohol-Sex Behaviors and Expectancies among College Students: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2778038/

  2. M Linnoila, M J Mattila, B S Kitchell (1979). Drug interactions with alcohol: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/387374/

  3. Robert M Coward and Culley C Carson (2008). Tadalafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2643112/

  4. Bijil Simon Arackal and Vivek Benegal (2007). Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917074/

  5. Shreyas Pendharkar, Surendra K. Mattoo, and Sandeep Grover (2016). Sexual dysfunctions in alcohol-dependent men: A study from north India: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5320845/

  6. V MironeE RicciV GentileC Basile FasoloF Parazzini (2004). Determinants of erectile dysfunction risk in a large series of Italian men attending andrology clinics: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14667522/

  7. Xiao-Ming Wang, Yun-Jin Bai, Yu-Bo Yang, Jin-Hong Li, Yin Tang and Ping Han 2 (2018). Alcohol intake and risk of erectile dysfunction: a dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30232467/

  8. W H George 1, S A Stoner (2000). Understanding acute alcohol effects on sexual behavior: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11351836/

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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