What is Tadalafil Used For? Tadalafil is a prescription medication that’s primarily used to treat erectile dysfunction, but it can also be effective in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Tadalafil is taken as a single, oral tablet, and it belongs to a group of medications called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. Other medications found in this category include: Viagra® (sildenafil), Levitra® (vardenafil), and Stendra® (avanafil).
In combination with sexual stimulation and arousal, PDE5 inhibitors work by increasing the blood flow to the penis in order to help a man to achieve and maintain an erection. Tadalafil can also be used to help relieve the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, such as difficulty in beginning the flow of urine, a weak stream, and the need to urinate frequently or urgently. The way it works is by helping to relax the smooth muscles found in the prostate, bladder, and penis which can increase blood flow and urine flow. PDE5 inhibitors essentially release the body’s braking mechanism for erections.
What Are the Doses of Tadalafil? One of the largest reasons for the growing popularity of tadalafil is its versatility. Unlike other prescription medications for erectile dysfunction, tadalafil can be taken daily in a low dose. The other PDE5 inhibitors are only prescribed to be taken “on-demand” and within an hour or two of sexual activity. Tadalafil can be taken this way as well in doses of 5, 10 and 10 mg, but it can also be taken daily in lower doses of 2.5 and 5 mg. The available doses of tadalafil are 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg. Typically, a doctor will start their patient on a lower dose and readjust over time, if necessary, to find the perfect dose. Any history of issues with the liver or kidneys may result in the doctor starting with the lowest dose of tadalafil.
Tadalafil taken “on demand”. In the event that a doctor prescribes tadalafil “on demand,” then the typical starting dosage is often 10 mg to be taken around an hour before sexual activity. This may be reduced to 5 mg if the medication is working too well or increased to 20 mg if the effects are not satisfactory. This process can take some trial and error, but a good physician will understand this process and can facilitate easy changes. The maximum dosage of tadalafil is 20 mg in a single day, and no more should be taken in any 24 hour period. Tadalafil will stay in the body for up to 36 hours, and taking too much can create some potential health issues. Taking too much tadalafil in a single day may result in a severely decreased blood pressure.
Tadalafil taken daily. Unlike other medications for erectile dysfunction, tadalafil can be used daily at a lower dose. In this case, the tadalafil dosage will typically start at 2.5 mg per day. If this isn’t enough to meet expectations, then the dosage may be increased to 5 mg, though this is the limit for once-daily use. The benefit of once-daily low-dose tadalafil is that it allows for sporadic intimacy without any planning in the day or hours preceding. This an also benefit men with an active sex life who anticipate intimacy more than 2 or 3 times weekly. One of the recommendations is for tadalafil daily to be taken at roughly the same time each day. The effects of tadalafil will last between 24 and 36 hours, so anytime during that window it can be effective. Missing a daily dose of tadalafil is okay, but it’s important not to take two doses in one day.
What Are the Side Effects of Tadalafil? Tadalafil can cause mild or serious side effects depending on a variety of risk factors and conditions. There can be many reasons for side effects to occur, and they may be an indication of a more serious underlying medical condition.
Some of the mild potential side effects include:
- Headache (between 3% and 15% of study participants reported headaches, compared to 2.3% and 5% of those receiving a placebo)
- Heartburn (between 1% to 10% reported this effect, vs. 0.2% to 2% on placebo)
- Back pain (between 2% and 6% reported back pain, vs. 1% to 3% on placebo)
- Muscle pain
- Stuffy nose
- Flushing in the face or body
- Pain in arms or legs
- Abdominal pain
- Nasal congestion
Typically these side effects go away within a few days or a couple of weeks, at most. However, if they become more severe or aren’t going away then it’s best to talk with a doctor or pharmacist about these side effects. The following are possible serious effects with tadalafil, but they are fairly uncommon.
If you experience any of the following, you should call your doctor right away or may need to call 911 if you think you’re experiencing an emergency situation.