Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) are all highly effective FDA approved medications that treat erectile dysfunction. While each work in similar ways, there are subtle differences in how quick they act, how long they last, their effectiveness, their side effects and their interactions with other substances. It is important to understand these differences so you can find the treatment that most suits you and your lifestyle.

Medication Viagra Sildenafil Cialis Cialis Once Daily Levitra Levitra Orodispersible Spedra
Viagra sildenafil Cialis Cialis Once a Day Levitra Levitra Orodispersible spedra
Manufacturer Pfizer Sandoz Lilly Lilly Bayer Bayer Menarini
Take as needed right-tick right-tick right-tick cross-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick
Take daily cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick right-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick
Nickname The little blue pill Sildenafil The weekend pill The daily pill Levitra Levitra dissolvable Spedra
Active ingredient Sildenafil Sildenafil Tadalafil Tadalafil Vardenafil Vardenafil Avanafil
Pill image Viagra Tablet sildenafil Tablet Cialis Tablet Cialis Daily Tablet Levitra Tablet Levitra Orodispersible Tablet spedra Tablet
Pill shape Diamond Circle Almond Almond Round Round Oval
Pill colour Blue Blue Yellow Orange-Yellow Orange White Pale yellow
Treatment Viagra Sildenafil Cialis Cialis Once Daily Levitra Levitra Orodispersible Spedra
Dosages 25mg, 50mg,100mg 25mg, 50mg,100mg 10mg, 20mg 2.5mg, 5mg 5mg, 10mg,20mg 10mg 50mg, 100mg,200mg
Effective within 30 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes Immediately 15 minutes 15 minutes 15 minutes
Effective for up to 4 hours 4 hours 36 hours 24 hours 5 hours 5 hours 6 hours
Maximum one every 24 hours right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick
Long-term treatment cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick right-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick
Take at same time each day cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick right-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick
Other Viagra Sildenafil Cialis Cialis Once Daily Levitra Levitra Orodispersible Spedra
Prescription only right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick
Generic available cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick
Suitable for women cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick cross-tick
Take with/without food right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick cross-tick
Store below 30oC right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick right-tick
Learn more Learn more Learn more Learn more Learn more Learn more Learn more
Common side effects Viagra Sildenafil Cialis Cialis Once Daily Levitra Levitra Orodispersible Spedra
Headache dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Indigestion dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Dizziness dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Facial flushing dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Muscle aches dot mark dot mark
Nasal congestion dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Back pain dot mark dot mark dot mark
Nausea dot mark
Change in/reduced vision dot mark dot mark
Don't take it if you have: Viagra Sildenafil Cialis Cialis Once Daily Levitra Levitra Orodispersible Spedra
Had a recent stroke or heart attack dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Heart disease dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Low blood pressure dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Uncontrolled high blood pressure dot mark dot mark
Ever had a loss of vision dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Inherited eye problems dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
Liver or kidney problems dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
If you are on dialysis dot mark dot mark
If you are taking nitrates dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark dot mark
If you are taking ritonavir or indinavir for HIV dot mark dot mark
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Prescription Medications

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Available Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Viagra 50mg
4.6/5 - 109 Reviews

Viagra

  • Effective for up to 4 hours
  • Works in 30-60 minutes
  • 1st treatment on the market
sildenafil
4.3/5 - 74 Reviews

Sildenafil

  • Lasts for 4 hours
  • Works within 30-60 minutes
  • Same ingredient as Viagra
4.6/5 - 121 Reviews

Cialis

  • 36 hour effectiveness
  • Works in 20-30 minutes
  • Known as the weekend pill
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How do they work?

All three drugs are classed as phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. They work by restricting the enzyme PDE-5, allowing more blood to flow to your penis. The key benefit of these medications is that this effect will only occur when you're sexually aroused.

Viagra was the first medication to launch and is probably the most famous of the three. It was first approved as a treatment for erectile dysfunction in 1998. Levitra followed with its approval for use in August 2003 and later that year, in November, Cialis was approved.

Effectiveness of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra

Structurally Viagra's active ingredient, Sildenafil, and Levitra's active ingredient, Vardenafil, are very similar. They both stay in your system and are effective for about four-six hours. Cialis's active ingredient Tadalafil is markedly different, which is seen by it's long lasting nature. It can be effective for up to 36 hours.

In terms of their effectiveness rates, they are all highly successful treatments for erectile dysfunction. Ranked from high to low:

  • Viagra has an 84% success rate
  • Levitra has an 81% success rate
  • Cialis has an 80% success rate

*Be aware that these stats are subject to the dosage amount, higher dosages usually result in a higher success rate.

Usage and Dosages

All of these medications are oral tablets, and in all cases dosage should not exceed one tablet in a 24-hour period. Both Viagra and Levitra should be taken 30-60 minutes before intercourse. The usual starting dosage for Viagra is 50mg, but this can be adjusted up to 100mg or down to 25mg as required. Levitra's active ingredient vardenafil is more potent than sildenafil, and as a result, a lower dosage is required. The recommended dosages for Levitra is 10mg, which can be adjusted to 20mg.

Cialis's active ingredient tadalafil works quite differently and there are two types of prescriptions available. Cialis is available in 10 mg, which can be increased to 20 mg dosages. It can be taken from 30 minutes to 12 hours before planned intercourse, and lasts for up to 36 hours. A second form of Cialis, Cialis Daily is also available. This involves taking a 2.5mg (or 5mg) tablet daily. It may take a few days for enough of the drug to build up in your system to be effective, but by taking it daily you can ensure constant results which allows for much greater spontaneity.

Common Side Effects

These PDE-5 Inhibitors are generally well tolerated, but like all medications, they can have side effects. Below are the most common by each drug:

  • Viagra – headaches, nose bleeds, flushed face or neck, stuffy nose, dizziness, indigestion and abnormal vision
  • Levitra – headaches, flushed face or neck, stuffy nose, indigestion, dizziness and nausea
  • Cialis – headaches, muscle pain, indigestion

Visual abnormalities such as blurred vision, increased light sensitivity and difficulty distinguishing blue and green, can be experienced with Viagra, but are much less likely to be experienced after taking Cialis or Levitra. Overall Cialis has the lowest number of side-effects of the three, although because of the long-acting nature of the Tadalafil, if they occur, they may last longer.

Interactions/precautions

Viagra should ideally be consumed on an empty stomach. The consumption of fatty foods or high levels of alcohol may impact on its effectiveness and delay the tablets absorption into your system. Levitra may be slightly less effective if taken with food, and, in contrast, food has no effect on Cialis. Although you should still be cautious about alcohol intake.

These medications should not be mixed with nitrates, alpha-blockers or each other, as they could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. They can also interact with a range of other medications, and you should make sure to tell your doctor about all prescription on non-prescription drugs you are taking, during your consultation.

Rare side effects are unlikely but if you show any signs of a heart problems, sudden loss of vision or hearing or an allergic reaction to the medication, please get medical assistance immediately.

Summary of key differences

Viagra Cialis Cialis daily Levitra
Key ingredient Sildenafil Tadalfil Tadalfil Vardenafil
Strengths 25, 50, 100 mg 10, 20 mg 2.5, 5 mg 10, 20mg
Effectiveness 84% 81% 81% 80%
Duration Up to 4 hours Up to 36 hours Up to 24 hours Up to 5 hours
How long to be effective? 30 - 60 minutes 30 - 60 minutes 20 minutes -2 days 25 - 50 minutes
Unique benefit Most well known and reliable Longest lasting Constant daily dose Suitable for men with certain conditions

How can I find out which medication is right for me?

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction and want to know whether Cialis (tadalafil), Viagra (sildenafil) or Levitra (vardenafil) could be the right treatment for you, please fill out the free online consultation form. It will be assessed by one of our partner doctors, and if it's safe for you to use, you can order your prescription using our free same day of next day premium delivery service.

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