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Cialis Overdose: Can You Overdose On Cialis?

We get it — when you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction, you long to be able to be able to have an erection without thinking about it or planning in advance. 

If you’ve been prescribed the ED medication tadalafil (or brand name Cialis®), you may even be tempted to take multiple doses or take it more frequently than prescribed. 

First, a warning: you should only ever take the dosage prescribed by your healthcare provider. 

The reason: taking too much can have serious health risks (more on this later!) and, yes, you could even overdose. 

The Lowdown on Cialis

Cialis, or the generic tadalafil, is commonly prescribed to treat ED. Along with that, healthcare professionals sometimes prescribe it to treat other conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia and pulmonary arterial hypertension. 

When it’s used to treat ED, Cialis is known as a “weekend” medication because it can last for a  long time — up to 36 hours. 

It comes in the form of a tablet and can be taken with or without food. You should take it at least 30 minutes before sexual activity and should not take it more than once in a 24-hour period.

So, what exactly is tadalafil? It’s in a class of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (or PDE5 inhibitors). To treat ED, it works by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation.

As with most medications, Cialis can cause side effects. Because of this, it’s important to review all medications and supplements you’re taking with a healthcare professional before you start taking it.

Tadalafil does require a prescription. If you’re interested in ED medications, you can access them through our telehealth platform. 

Cialis Side Effects

If you’re using Cialis as prescribed, it is a safe medication for most people. There are some side effects associated with taking this ED medication—most of which are mild and temporary.

Common Mild Side Effects of Cialis

  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Congestion
  • Flushing 
  • Pain in limbs

Rare More Serious Side Effects of Cialis

  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Hives or rash
  • Skin peeling or blistering
  • Sudden loss of hearing and/or vision
  • Swelling

There are also rare reports of priapism (a painful erection lasting more than a few hours and can cause  permanent damage) in men who use Cialis. 

If you develop any of these—mild or severe—it’s best to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible so they can keep tabs and advise you on next steps.

Prescribed Dosages of Cialis 

When prescribed for use-as-needed, there are three common dosages of Cialis that your healthcare provider may recommend.

  • 5mg: This lower dose is suggested if the normal 10mg starting dose produces too many side effects. 
  • 10mg: The FDA recommends this as the starting dose when trying tadalafil for the first time. Research has found that a majority of men with ED who used tadalafil at a 10mg dose were able to have penetrative sex with their partner.
  • 20mg: This is the maximum dosage prescribed for ED and is usually what’s suggested if 10mg isn’t effective.

If you’d like a daily dose, that’s available, too. Daily Cialis is prescribed at either 2.5mg or 5mg and is meant to be taken every day at the same time, instead of as needed.

Taking the Highest Prescribed Dosage

Getting back to this idea of taking the highest possible dosage of Cialis for the most benefits — we thought it’d be helpful to outline the benefits and disadvantages of this dosage. 

Potential Benefits

  • It lasts a long time. Unlike other ED medications (like sildenafil) that last for a few hours, 20mg of Cialis will last as long as 36 hours.
  • Food doesn’t affect it as much. You can take tadalafil before or after eating without it affecting its effectiveness. Sildenafil can be taken with food, but if you take it after a high-fat meal, it could slow down the absorption of the medication — and, therefore, slow down the effects.

Potential Disadvantages 

  • Side effects could last longer. Since the 20mg dose lasts for up to 36-hours, it means that if you experience any common side effects, those will also last longer. 
  • It may last too long for you. The benefit of Cialis is how long it lasts, but if you don’t need it to last that long — that pro could turn into a con. 

Can You Experience a Cialis Overdose?

Repeat after us: it is not safe to take more than your prescribed dosage of Cialis. 

Before we get into the dangers of taking too much Cialis, let’s look at why you may have the urge to take more. 

Do you think it will help give you an erection or make you last longer? It will not. Erectile dysfunction drugs do not make you aroused or give you an erection. 

Instead, they create the ideal condition for an erection to happen if you get aroused.

So, what will happen if you take a double dose (or more)? While experiencing an overdose isn’t exactly the right terminology, you do put yourself at risk by taking more than you’re supposed to. 

Upping your dosage will increase your chances of experiencing both the mild and serious side effects we mentioned previously—including priapism. 

You should also be aware that Cialis can interact with other medications negatively—some mildly, while others are more serious and even life-threatening. 

Cialis (and the generic tadalafil) can interact with medications used to treat heart conditions and hypertension—specifically nitrates and alpha blockers used to lower blood pressure.

When Cialis is taken along with nitrates, it can cause a sudden, significant drop in blood pressure and lead to fainting, heart attack or stroke. 

If you’re taking any other medications or supplements, it’s imperative you tell your healthcare professional before beginning to take Cialis. 

Talk to a Healthcare Provider About Cialis

If you have the urge to up your own dose of Cialis, talk to a healthcare professional. We cannot overstate it: taking too much Cialis is risky and could create bigger health problems. 

In general, making executive decisions about your health without input from a healthcare provider is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. 

Instead, it’s best to have an open line of communication with a medical professional so that you can air your concerns, tell them what you’re thinking and work with them to find a satisfying solution. 

If your prescribed dosage of tadalafil isn’t working, they will be able to look into other things that may be causing your ED–like lifestyle and psychological factors. 

If you’re new to ED or ED medications, we’re here to help! Check out our resources and use our telehealth platform to determine if tadalafil (Cialis) or another ED prescription is right for you. 

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.