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Viagra or Cialis? Pros and Cons

Elderly couple loves Viagra and Cialis
Victoria and Kevin here. . .

We asked a colleague who has a medical practice focused on men’s sexuality to write a post about Viagra and Cialis, which are two popular erection drugs. Because both have pros and cons, we are presenting that information so that you can decide which medication is best for you. We also want to continue our discussion about overcoming impotence.

Dr. Erika Thost graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and has a private practice in Santa Barbara, CA. Her patients are from locations throughout the entire U.S.

Thank you, Dr. Erika, for your contribution!

Dr. Erika here. . .

During a patient’s first consultation, they ask me many questions ranging from which medicine to take to the practicalities of when to take it. I want to share my answers and advice for the most commonly asked questions. While ED is no longer a taboo subject, some people continue to be hesitant to start the discussion. So, I applaud the efforts of Kevin and Victoria for opening this dialogue with their readers. I’m happy to do my part.

Viagra vs Cialis

While Viagra (sildenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) are not the only medications on the market to treat impotence, they are the two I most frequently recommend. First, I want to address their similarities before moving on to the pros and cons of each.

How are Viagra and Cialis similar?

First, let’s start with the basics. Currently in the United States, both require a prescription and are expensive when buying the name brand. The good news, however, is that their prices are on the decline.

A generic version of Cialis became available in the Fall of 2018. The cost is about 50% less than the brand-name Cialis. Generic versions of Viagra became available in 2017. Expect more generic versions of Viagra in 2020 when their patent expires and allows more competition. These generic versions have FDA approval and function in the same way as their brand-name versions.

Both medications have been on the market for a long time with millions of written prescriptions. So, we have a great deal of information about their amazingly good safety profile.

Basically, neither Viagra nor Cialis has health risks when following the drug’s instructions and doctor’s orders. For example, do not use either pill with nitrates for chest pain or grapefruit juice. Please refer to these websites for Viagra and Cialis for a complete list of side effects and other medicines to avoid.

How do they work?

Both medications operate on the fundamental premise of dilation of the blood vessels. By increasing the flow of blood to the penis, a man can have an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse.

The dosage of both these medicines varies tremendously from man to man, so work with your medical practitioner until you find the amount that works best for your body.

How are Cialis and Viagra different?

Now, let’s discuss the differences between the two pills and why you would choose one over the other.

Viagra

Pros:

  • Kicks in faster, in about 30 to 60 minutes.  
  • You can take it up to 4 hours before sex.
  • Has a stronger effect for a shorter period of time – more “oomph” than Cialis.

Cons:

  • Shorter-acting, only lasting about 2 to 4 hours.
  • Should be taken on an empty stomach. If you take it with food in your stomach, it has little impact.
  • More effective with little or no alcohol.
  • Has more side effects such as skin flushing, stuffy nose, and headache than Cialis.
  • Viagra should not be used on a daily basis.

Cialis

Pros:

  •  Lasts longer, 1 to 2 days on average. It is the “weekend drug.”
  •  You can take it with or without food.
  •  Fewer side effects than Viagra and some like skin flushing are less severe.
  •  You can take Cialis every day, called Daily Cialis, whether sex is planned that day or not. The dosage is often less for the per-occasion treatment but can be adjusted as needed.
  •  Daily Cialis has been shown to have a multitude of general health benefits in addition to the sexual effects. When you take Cialis every day, the positive effects on your health can be greater and more consistent than if you take Cialis occasionally. I discuss this later in the post.

Cons:

  •  Kicks in more slowly, requiring 2 to 3 hours to take effect.
  •  More effective with little or no alcohol.
  •  Some men notice the side effects of heartburn, flushed face, stuffy nose, and back pain.
Health benefits of Daily Cialis

While daily intake of Viagra is discouraged, Cialis taken regularly has been shown to have positive health benefits.

In my experience, taking a daily dosage of Cialis typically:

  •  Corrects erectile dysfunction (ED). 
  •  Improves benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlarged prostate.
  •  Helps with depressive moods.
  •  Lowers blood pressure.
  •  Reduces inflammation, which causes many health problems.
  •  Increases blood flow in the heart.
  •  Raises physical performance at high altitudes, and helps prevent altitude sickness.
  •  Used as an anti-cancer medication.
  •  Boosts relationship happiness.
Are Cialis or Viagra physically addicting?

First and foremost, you cannot get physically addicted to Cialis or Viagra. You can stop using them at any time without problems. Your function will not worsen later, called the rebound effect, because you took these pills.

You do not get habituated to them, meaning you will not need more to have the same effect. As you age and your underlying function decreases, however, you may require a higher dosage to experience the same effect. But that is because your body’s function decreased, not because you are habituated to the drug or that the drug’s effect has decreased.

Having said that, both medications can become a psychological habit if they are taken automatically. So, don’t do that! Ensure that you have been examined by a medical professional and that you need an ED medication for sexual activity.

Frequently asked questions

Now, I address some of the personal questions that people can be embarrassed to ask about. But honestly, I’m happy when I know my patients have put so much thought into addressing this issue. No need exists for skirting the facts. It’s better to be informed instead of experimenting on your own.

Can I get an embarrassing uncontrolled erection?

Men frequently worry about taking ED drugs because they fear having a huge and unending erection. The TV commercials saw to that. I’m sure you’ve heard the warning, “If you have an erection lasting more than four hours, seek medical treatment.” This is both a warning and an enticement to what is possible with today’s drugs.

But this isn’t how these medications work. In addition to the pills, you still need the usual sexual and physical arousal activities to get hard. Stimulation is usually more effective with Cialis and Viagra than without.

If you take these medications without the proper stimuli, then you will be disappointed. However, if you get intimate with your partner, then your penis will most likely respond in a very natural way. Once the stimulation ends, the erection will subside, mimicking natural human behavior.

How do you take Viagra for a dinner date?

Let’s look at a typical date night. You go out, have a couple of pre-dinner drinks, and a nice dinner with wine. Then, you swallow your Viagra but nothing happens.

Regarding dates, I agree with Dan Savage of Savage Lovecast.

Have sex first! Then after sex, go out to dinner. Sexual function and sexual energy are so much better on an empty stomach and without the alcohol.

Sure, you can take the Viagra before eating, but a big meal still makes it much less effective. So, you would eat very lightly. Consider the sexual activity as the entree, not the dessert.

Other occasions to take ED medications

Sometimes men experience intermittent sexual issues as opposed to regular problems. These are times when Cialis or Viagra can alleviate the stress of the situation. I’ve seen less stress, therefore, higher satisfaction in these situations:

  • Sex with a new partner,
  • Sex in a distracting setting,
  • When he feels there is more at stake, and
  • When he wants help relaxing before sex.

These issues only touch the tip of the iceberg, but opening the discussion is what is important. Again, thank you Victoria and Kevin for opening the dialogue to a medical issue that most aging men encounter.

Kevin and Victoria here. . .

Dr. Erika, we cannot thank you enough for providing our readers with a thorough discussion of Viagra and Cialis. We believe these medications have the potential to enhance the sexual experiences of many men, aging seniors among them. The benefits of remaining physically active and intimate are immense.

Readers: If you have questions or comments, please reach out to us directly or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

You can reach Dr. Erika on her blog or Facebook page.

Be sure to check out Dr. Erika’s book, Best Sex Ever for Midlife Men-And Their Partners.

Important: As always, while we are all medical professionals, we have not seen you in person and, therefore, cannot prescribe anything or dispense medical advice. This post is to provide information for you to consider before seeing your doctor.

 

 

 

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2019-04-02T17:19:50+00:00