Cialis: Functioning, Side Effects, Dosage, Reactions, And More

cialis

What Is Cialis?

Cialis is the brand name for Tadalafil, one of the most common drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Cialis is also used to treat unhealthy bodily conditions such as Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Tadalafil was cleared for the treatment of ED by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in 2003, after Viagra (sildenafil) in 1998 and shortly after Levitra (vardenafil) in 2003.

It was first discovered by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline along with a biotechnology firm ICOS in August 1991. But since Cialis was not a drug for Glaxo’s core target groups, the research did not continue after 1996, when the joint venture agreement between the two companies lapsed. It was not until 1998 when ICOS entered into a joint venture with a company Eli Lilly & Co. to further develop tadalafil, which subsequently came to be known as Cialis. Now, it’s readily available and can be easily bought online.

1. How Does It Work?

Cialis belongs to a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. Under this category, you will find ED medication such as Viagra and Levitra.

Cialis functions by inhibiting the growth of the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) related PDE5 enzymes. These cGMP regulated PDE5 enzymes are discovered in blood vessels lined with smooth muscle fibers. The release of the PDE5 enzyme breaks down cGMP and promotes relaxation amongst the muscle fibers.

Hence, when Cialis is taken, it controls the amount of PDE5 being released, leading to dilation of the muscle fibers which subsequently increases blood flow to that particular part of the body. Cialis uses this mechanism to treat ED, PAH, and BPH.

In the case of ED, the drug relaxes the penile walls in and around the penis shaft and also the pelvic region. This leads to enhanced blood flow and thus a long-lasting erection. But, Cialis is not the only thing one would need to get an erection. The action of Cialis relies on the complex coordination of the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) as well.

To be able to achieve an erection, a patient has to be sexually aroused at the time of consuming the medication. This is because the body releases nitric oxide only when the brain signals a sign of sexual arousal. The nitric oxide then promotes the growth of cGMP. Keep in mind, the release of PDE5 destroys cGMP which curtails the erection. Cialis then starts to work by inhibiting the growth of PDE5 enzymes.

In PAH, the patient has high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that lead to the heart. These arteries are clogged with plaque due to which blood struggles to flow smoothly. Consequently, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the lungs, which could lead to heart failure over time.

In this situation, Cialis alleviates the symptoms by widening or relaxing the muscle fibers lining the arteries, using the same mechanism of inhibiting the growth of PDE5 enzymes in the arteries, as it uses for the treatment of ED.

BPH is also known as prostate enlargement and the only way to solve this problem is by going through surgery for prostate removal. The prostate gland is an important organ in the reproductive and urinary systems of a male. In BPH, the prostate gland gets enlarged which causes difficulty in urination, sudden urges to urinate, and also disruptive urinary tract infections.

BPH mostly affects older men. Thus they are advised to consume Cialis to widen their arteries and increase blood flow to the bladder, prostate region, and penile structure. This, to some extent, helps the patients to urinate with relatively less difficulty. Cialis was also the first ED drug that was approved for the treatment of BPH after investigations showed that males who took 5 mg of Cialis experienced improved symptoms for both ED and PAH.

2. Side Effects

The side effects of Cialis are similar to those of other PDE5 inhibitors Viagra and Levitra. They are usually mild and do not require any form of medical attention. Expect low-intensity muscle ache, fluctuations in blood pressure, flushing or reddening of the skin, and sometimes loss of color vision. Vision is affected because a specific amount of blood from the optic nerve begins to flow to the penis.

Other side effects also include nausea and temporary loss of hearing in some patients. This happens because partial blood flow is diverted from other parts of the body to the penis region In some rare cases, the patients may experience irregular and prolonged erections. Patients must seek medical attention if the erections last for more than 4 to 5 hours. This condition is known as Priapism.

3. Reactions

Cialis is a widely prescribed drug that is also available over the counter (OTC). Even then, the patient must consult their doctor before taking Cialis as it has a wide range of reactions and contraindications with other drugs.

Cialis leads to a drop in overall blood pressure. It is therefore advised to not take Cialis if you are already prescribed with other blood pressure medications. Because, Cialis may further lower your blood pressure and may cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, and in extreme situations, even lead to death or prolonged coma due to severely reduce blood pressure. 

The same situation also occurs when Cialis is mixed with alpha-blockers or nitrates. It is therefore advised to not mix Cialis with nitrates. As for alpha-blockers, the dosage must be stopped at least one day before beginning their Cialis therapy for BPH.

4. Dosage, Administration, and Half-Life

Cialis is available in two dosages – daily consumption (known as Cialis Daily) and the ‘need-only’ basis. The need-only version of this drug is generally taken an hour before indulging in sexual activity, in doses of 10 mg. The daily-basis version of the drug is used to specifically treat ED, PAH, or BPH. This version is administered in doses of 2.5 mg every day. Cialis is also available in doses of 5 mg and 20 mg, which can be used as per the requirements of the patient or instructions of the doctor. It must be noted that the maximum permissible dose of Cialis is 20 mg.

Cialis is administered orally, in the form of pills, with or without food, as digestion of food does not hamper or interfere with the absorption of Cialis into the bloodstream, unlike with Viagra.

The drug has a half-life of about 17.5 hours, the highest for any ED medication. This is one of the greatest advantages of Cialis over Viagra. Therefore, it is also called the ‘weekend drug’. Patients are relieved from the hassle of ‘planning’ their sexual interactions. This long half-life has enabled Cialis to be marketed with a lasting effect of 36 hours, the time after which 25% of the medication persists in the body. The onset time for Cialis is between 15 to 30 minutes. However one must wait for around 1 hour to experience a proper erection.