Should you take a daily erectile dysfunction pill?

The drug Cialis is popular because you can take it every day. But should you?

Cialis for daily use

Tadalafil (Cialis) is one of the most popular erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. Its major appeal? The drug comes in low-dose versions that can be taken daily. This means you can have sex at any time, rather than needing to take a pill from time to time as needed like other ED brands.

The starting dose for daily-use Cialis is 2.5 milligrams (mg). If that doesn't work, you can increase your daily dose up to 5 mg. But is this the right approach for you—or are you better off with traditional ED drugs like Viagra, Levitra, or even the nondaily version of Cialis? If you are contemplating Cialis for daily use, consider these questions and then discuss it with your doctor:

  • How often do you have sex? If it's two or more times a week, a daily pill might be a reasonable choice, since the drug continually circulates in your bloodstream.
  • How important is spontaneity? A daily pill clears the path for sex at any time—if the drug works for you. (Remember, just like other ED drugs, it may not work for everyone). On the other hand, the 36-hour window offered by the nondaily version of Cialis might offer enough spontaneity.
  • Have side effects of your current ED pill been bothering you? Taking a daily low-dose pill may reduce side effects, though it may reduce effectiveness as well. In studies, the most common daily pill side effects were headache, muscle pain, indigestion, and back pain.
  • How much alcohol do you drink? Men taking Cialis for daily use can experience a worrisome drop in blood pressure if they drink too much.
  • What other medications do you take? Ask your doctor if any medications or supplements you take might interact with a daily erectile dysfunction pill, including blood pressure drugs, antifungal drugs, and HIV drugs. Also, men taking nitrate medications are advised not to take any ED drugs.
  • How important is cost? While the manufacturer suggests that a 30-day supply of daily Cialis should cost about the same as eight pills of 36-hour Cialis a month, there's no way to enforce this. Check your insurance policy and local pharmacies for price information.

By Matthew Solan
Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

To learn about more treatments for erectile dysfunction, buy the Harvard Special Health Report Erectile Dysfunction: How medication, lifestyle changes, and other therapies can help you conquer this vexing problem.