Erectile dysfunction drugs Cialis and Levitra work by relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow. While Levitra is taken about 1 hour before it is needed, Cialis can be consumed up to 12 hours before. Cialis effects can last up to 36 hours, earning it the moniker of the "weekend pill". Levitra and Staxyn are the same drug -- Vardenafil. Similarly, Cialis and Adcirca are the same drug -- Tadalafil. Adcirca is prescribed for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Comparison chart

Cialis versus Levitra comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartCialisLevitra
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Price 2.5 mg (10 tablets): $62-$80. 5 mg (10): $62-$77. 10 mg (10): $339-$401, 20 mg (10): $339-$401. Prices vary by region, store, and available discounts. Tablets (Levitra). 5 mg (10): $101.55. 10 mg (10): $98.98. 20 mg (10): $103.94
Selling Point Lower doses, long half-life, with effects that can last up to 36 hours (earning it a nickname: "The Weekend Pill"). Daily dosage option that means patients do not have to time their sexual activity. May work faster, and for men for whom Viagra failed.
Prescription required? Yes. Yes
How does it work? Inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5). This relaxes muscles and increases blood flow, allowing those suffering from erectile dysfunction to experience an erection during sexual stimulation. Inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5), making muscle in the penis more likely to relax and allowing blood to flow in, causing an erection.
How fast does it work? Varies by person, but users are recommended to take the pill at least 30 minutes to an hour prior to sex. Levitra label says to take it 60 minutes before sexual activity, but studies show it can work faster. May be more likely to work the first time.
How does it look? Cialis tablets are almond-shaped and come in various shades of yellow and yellow-orange. They are engraved with "C" and their dosage amount (e.g., C 5 for 5 mg). Flame-orange coloured, rounded tablets
Generic available? No. No
Dosage Comes in 5, 10, and 20 mg tablets. Comes in 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 mg tablets
Consumption instructions Can be taken with or without food. Users are advised to avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice, as they might alter how the drugs work. Taking the pills with greasy or fatty foods can also alter absorption. Can be taken with or without food; For most it is 10mg per day 60 min before intercourse.
Storage instructions Should be stored at a reasonable room temperature and away from moisture. Recommended room temperature range is between 15 and 30C (59-86F). Should be stored at room temperature between 15-30°C (59-86°F).
Function To treat erectile dysfunction, pulmonary heart disease. To treat erectile dysfunction
Generic Names Tadalafil, which is not approved for sale as a generic yet. Vardenafil hydrochloride
Half Life 18 hours. 4-5 hours
Side effects Facial flushing (reddening), headaches. Tadalafil also may cause chest pain, low blood pressure, congestion, dizziness. acial flushing (reddening), headaches, stomach upset, diarrhea, flu like symptoms and nausea. Vardenafil also may cause chest pain, low blood pressure, blurred vision and changes in color vision, abnormal ejaculation and priapism (painful erection).
FDA Approval November 21, 2003. On 20th August, 2003
Brand owners Developed by the biotech firm Icos, which was acquired by Eli Lilly and Company. Manufactured by Bayer Corp. and distributed by GlaxoSmith Kline.
Named after Came from twisting the company name Eli Lilly Levitate, or la vita which means 'life'
Excretion Over 60% of the drug is excreted through feces, and more than 30% is excreted through urine. Feces (91% to 95% as metabolites); urine (2% to 6%)
Half a pill of Levitra
Half a pill of Levitra


Cialis is used to treat erectile dysfunction and the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Under the brand name Adcirca, it is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Levitra is also used to treat erectile dysfunction.

In the following video, Dr. David Samadi from Mt. Sinai hospital explains how erectile dysfunction can signal other health problems and how Cialis, Levitra and Viagra work:


Cialis can be taken with or without food as needed, immediately before sexual activity. The 10mg tablets should be swallowed whole and not more than once per day. Cialis is also available in 2.5mg tablets that are taken every day.

Levitra can be taken with or without food. It is taken as needed in 10mg tablets about 60 minutes before sexual activity. It should not be taken more than once every 24 hours. Sexual stimulation is requirement for response to treatment.

Side effects

Common side effects of Cialis include warmth or redness in face, neck or chest, cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing or sore throat, headache, memory problems, diarrhea, upset stomach, muscle pain and back pain.

Common side effects of Levitra include warmth or redness in face, neck or chest, runny or stuffy nose, headache, dizziness, upset stomach and back pain.

Overdose symptoms

Cialis overdose symptoms include chest pain, nausea, irregular heartbeat and feeling light-headed or fainting.

Overdose on Levitra may lead to back pain, muscle pain or vision problems.


Cialis and Levitra should not be combined with any nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems. You should tell your doctor before talking these drugs if you have heart disease, high or low blood pressure, seizures, liver or kidney disease, a blood cell or bleeding disorder, a stomach ulcer, hearing or vision problems, an eye disorder or physical deformity of the penis.


Studies on Cialis suggest that it is effective 88% of the time. For patients with diabetes, it is effective 56% of the time. [1]

Initial studies on Levitra suggested that it was effective between 74% and 87% of the time. It is less effective for men with hypertension, dyslipidaemia or diabetes. [2]


Cialis is the only erectile dysfunction drug that can be prescribed as a once-daily pill. It is also effective for longer – up to 36 hours. It is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. It is preferable for people with tachycardia as it does not affect the heart in the same way as Levitra.

Levitra may also be prescribed to treat premature ejaculation.


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