Tadalafil, which is often marketed under the name Cialis, is a drug that is primarily used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. Its effectiveness and safety were thoroughly evaluated through 22 clinical trials. More than 4,000 patients participated in those studies, and some studies lasted as long as 24 weeks.
How it Works
To understand how tadalafil works, it helps to understand what causes erectile dysfunction in the first place. While there are many possible causes, a narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels that supply blood to the penis is typically to blame. Tadalafil relaxes and widens those arteries and blood vessels by inhibiting, or blocking, the action of a chemical called phosphodiesterase type-5, which is otherwise known as PDE5. Many of the risks and contraindications associated with the drug pertain to the heart and cardiovascular system.
Things to Discuss with Your Doctor before Taking Tadalafil
Before prescribing tadalafil, your doctor should obtain a thorough medical history from you. Make sure to discuss the following points with your physician before taking tadalafil:
- Use of nitrate medications – Clinical studies have shown that taking tadalafil along with nitrate medications, which are prescribed to treat chest pain and heart problems, can cause a sudden and serious drop in blood pressure.
- Penile deformities – If you suffer from an injury, disease or deformity of the penis, be sure to tell your doctor.
- Vision problems – Tadalafil can cause a decrease in blood flow to the optic nerve, which can cause sudden vision loss. This side effect is more common in patients with diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. People age 50 and over, smokers and those with pre-existing eye problems are also more likely to experience this side effect.
- Use of other medications – Tell your doctor about all medications that you currently take, including prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs.
- Hypersensitivity or allergy to tadalafil – If you’ve experienced allergic reactions to tadalafil in the past, tell your doctor.
It is also important to disclose all medical conditions that you’ve experienced in the past or are currently experiencing before taking tadalafil. A few examples include:
- Leukemia or bone marrow cancer
- Blood vessel diseases and heart conditions, including abnormal heart rhythm
- Kidney and liver problems
- Sickle cell disease
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Angina, or chest pain
- History of stroke or heart attack – especially if they’ve happened in the last 90 days
- Congestive heart failure – especially if it’s occurred within the last 6 months
- Bleeding disorders like hemophilia
- Stomach ulcers
If you’ve been told not to engage in sexual intercourse for health reasons, be sure to disclose this to your doctor as well.
For the vast majority of patients, tadalafil is highly safe and effective. By thoroughly discussing your health and medical history with a licensed healthcare professional before taking the drug, your risk of experiencing serious side effects will be dramatically reduced.
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