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How Many Years Can You Take Cialis?

Cialis is one of the most effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, and it has a lot of users because it has been proven safe and effective. But exactly how long is that “safe” part good for? It may not be as long as you think. 

We’re not sounding any alarms here, but the fact is that while there are extensive studies showing Cialis is safe for a couple of years, research hasn’t been done on the question of decades of usage. 

If you’re dealing with possible or diagnosed erectile dysfunction, Cialis might offer a long-term or even permanent solution for what ails you and your member, but you should still educate yourself on the details before beginning a life-long regimen of medication. 

With that in mind, we’ve broken down ED, how Cialis can treat it, and what the science says about using Cialis over the long haul.

Erections and Erectile Dysfunction

There are a few things you should know about what’s up (or isn’t) down there.

Erections are the product of two processes: blood flow to the penis’s blood vessels, and trapping of that blood in two long champers called the corpora cavernosa. 

When you become aroused, your brain sends chemical signals to your body to dilate the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow in. 

Then a muscle closes things off a little like a balloon, so that the blood becomes trapped, keeping you erect. 

When something goes wrong, leaving you with an incomplete or partial erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). 

The National Institutes of Health say that an estimated 30 million to 50 million men nationwide have some degree of erectile dysfunction. ED can be caused by factors including poor diet, obesity, blood flow issues, stress, anxiety, illicit or prescribed drugs, habits, and hormones.

Luckily, there are medications proven to help treat ED when taken correctly. They’re called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, and they basically work to sustain the dilation of your member’s blood vessels in the soft tissue of your penis, which gives you (and maintains) firmer erections. 

What Is Cialis?

Cialis (and the generic tadalafil) is a prescription PDE5 inhibitor — in fact it’s one of the two most popular on the market, alongside Viagra

Cialis is a little different from other PDE5 inhibitors, in that it can be taken either as-needed or once daily. But unlike Viagra, Cialis has been shown to be effective for up to 36 hours from just a single dose, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Dosage is an important element of effective Cialis use. According to the FDA, daily doses of Cialis are typically smaller than as-needed doses; as-needed will range from 10mg to 20mg, whereas a daily dose will typically range between 2.5mg and 5mg. 

Those lower doses are effective when taken daily — and a larger daily dose would offer no additional benefits — just added risks.

Cialis Side Effects and Drug Interactions

And those risks can potentially be severe. Like most medications, Cialis is not without side effects and potential negative drug interactions. 

And though it has been proven safe, there are still important cautions to be considered before starting a Cialis regimen. 

Because PDE5 inhibitors cause dilation of blood vessels, they can also be used to treat certain types of hypertension, but that is because they have the capacity to cause severe drops in blood pressure. 

Beyond blood pressure risks, the most commonly reported side effects from Cialis are headache, indigestion, back pain, muscle pain, flushing and stuffy nose. A small number of patients also reported abnormal vision.

And Cialis should not be taken alongside other ED medications — particularly other PDE5 inhibitors. It can cause sudden and severe blood pressure drops, which can result in death. 

Any heart medications, blood pressure medications, or other drugs with the potential to cause blood pressure interactions should be reported to your healthcare provider before taking Cialis for the same reasons. 

That includes alpha-blockers and antihypertensive medications. Likewise, excessive drinking could cause complications, according to additional FDA data.

Rare side effects include sudden hearing loss, renal impairment, and prolonged erection or priapism — those four hour erections you’ve likely heard about. According to the FDA, “Priapism, if not treated promptly, can result in irreversible damage to the erectile tissue. 

Patients who have an erection lasting greater than 4 hours, whether painful or not, should seek emergency medical attention.”

How Long Can You Take Cialis?

That takes care of the short-term side effect warnings, but you’re probably not looking at Cialis as a single-use solution, since ED can be an ongoing problem.

Of course, the biggest question for a long-term solution to ED problems is whether it’s a safe solution for the long term. So the question stands: how long can you take Cialis? The answer isn’t clear.

Here’s what we know. 

A 2004 clinical trial published in the Journal of European Urology followed more than 1,000 men using various dosages of tadalafil for up to 24 months. 

They found no serious adverse effects to long term use of tadalafil over the course of those two years.

But most men will likely plan to take Cialis for more than two years — or at least hope to. And that’s where things become ambiguous, because there aren’t any long-term studies about adverse effects. 

A 2017 paper in the journal Urologia Internationalis acknowledged that while there were substantial studies done on short term effects, there was a lack of long-term and follow up testing, and that the efficacy and safety long-term “could not be evaluated.”

Is Cialis Right For You?

Cialis is a proven safe and effective option for treating erectile dysfunction, and it certainly could be the right solution for you. 

But you can’t — or at least shouldn’t — just start popping pills. There are more questions you’ll need to answer. 

One such question is whether the cause of your ED might be psychological. Insecurity, fear of intimacy, or low self esteem, and conditions like anxiety and depression can play a role in performance issues. 

If you think that might be the case for you, consult a psychiatrist or mental health professional to see if other treatments might be helpful, instead of or in addition to medications.

There may also be lifestyle factors that a healthcare provider might want you to address, like diet, stress, or weight. 

If you do end up taking Cialis of the long haul, know that the science is still very much evolving on the long-term effects of regular usage. 

There aren’t any known risks, but until more studies are done, you’ll be one of millions of penile pioneers if you begin a regular Cialis regimen.

If you’re not ready to take the next step in treatment, or you’re just learning about ED, we have resources available to help you learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments, and eventually determine if Cialis 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.