Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects


If your doctor prescribes tadalafil (Cialis) and you want a liquid form of the medication, you may be able to get it specially made for you by a pharmacy.

Tadalafil is approved to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and erectile dysfunction (ED), so your doctor may discuss the benefits of this medication if you have one or both of these conditions.

Read on to learn more about tadalafil, including how to get a liquid version of this medication.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved tadalafil in one form: tablets you swallow by mouth.

These tablets come in the following strengths:

  • 2.5 milligrams (mg)
  • 5mg
  • 10mg
  • 20mg

The FDA has not approved liquid versions of the medication for sale in the United States.

But you might prefer a liquid version if you have difficulty swallowing pills. Liquid tadalafil might also be a better option if you’ve had a reaction to certain inactive ingredients in tablets, such as the binders or fillers used to make them.

If you let your doctor or clinician know you need the liquid form of tadalafil, they can help you find a compounding pharmacy. These pharmacies can customize medications based on a doctor’s prescription, so they can specially compound, or make, the liquid form of tadalafil.

The pharmacy will typically provide liquid tadalafil in a bottle with a dropper, with dosage instructions based on your prescription.

There are no differences in dosage, side effects, or how the drug works between the tablet and liquid forms of tadalafil.

Your dosage will depend on the condition the medication is prescribed to treat, along with a few other factors, including:

  • other health conditions you may have, such as kidney or liver disease
  • other medications you take
  • how often you’ll take tadalafil

For ED

The dosage for regular daily use starts at 2.5 mg, taken once per day. If this doesn’t help with your ED symptoms, your doctor may increase your dose to 5 mg once daily.

Your doctor might also prescribe tadalafil to take as needed before sexual activity.

The dosage for occasional use for ED is generally 10 mg, taken about 2 hours before sexual activity. Your doctor may adjust this dose based on how you react to the medication.

They might, for example, lower your dose to 5 mg, taken once before sex, or raise the dose to 20 mg, taken once before sex.


The dosage of tadalafil for BPH is 5 mg, taken once daily.

Your doctor may prescribe tadalafil with another medication for BPH called finasteride (Proscar). You’ll typically take these around the same time each day.

If you have symptoms of both BPH and ED, your doctor will likely prescribe a 5 mg dose of tadalafil, taken once daily.

according to a 2010 review, tadalafil starts to work within 30 minutes, and its effects may last up to 36 hours. Liquid and tablet formulations last the same amount of time.

How long tadalafil lasts will depend on several factors, including:

  • your dosage
  • other health conditions you may have, such as kidney disease
  • whether you take it daily or occasionally
  • your individual response to the medication

If you take tadalafil on a daily basis, tadalafil will continue to work all day. But if you only take it on an as-needed basis, its effects may last up to 36 hours.

Your pharmacist can provide important information about tadalafil and helpful tips about taking liquid medications in general, including:

  • how to take your dose
  • if you need to shake the bottle before taking your dose
  • how to measure the exact dose needed

You may experience some side effects with tadalafil. Generally, these are mild and go away after a few weeks of using the medication. Tadalafil also has the potential to cause some serious side effects.

Common side effects include:

Serious side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • low blood pressure
  • chest pain
  • vision or hearing problems
  • priapism, or a painful erection lasting for over 4 hours

These are just some of the side effects tadalafil may cause.

If you get a prescription for tadalafil, your doctor and pharmacist will provide more detailed information about risks and possible side effects.

Tadalafil is a prescription medication. You can get a prescription legitimately by visiting your doctor or a healthcare clinic.

You can also get tadalafil legitimately from certain online telemedicine services, including:

These services require you to fill out a questionnaire, which a licensed medical professional in your state will review. If they feel you need tadalafil, they’ll order a prescription. A licensed pharmacy will fill this prescription and ship it directly to you in discreet packaging.

Generally speaking, consulting a doctor about your symptoms is the best approach to getting a prescription. They’ll be able to evaluate your condition to decide if tadalafil could help.

When you set up an in-person appointment with a healthcare professional, be prepared to answer some questions about your health.

They’ll likely ask about:

At your appointment, they’ll take your medical history and perform a physical examination. They might also order blood tests or other diagnostic tests.

If they decide you need tadalafil, they’ll prescribe the medication.

Remember, tadalafil only comes in tablet form. If you need a liquid solution, let your doctor know.

They can offer more information about the potential pros and cons of each form and help you find a compounding pharmacy that can fill your prescription.

Tadalafil is only available with a legitimate prescription from a healthcare professional.

If you find online sources that sell tadalafil, including liquid versions, without requiring a prescription, avoid buying from these sources.

It’s risky to buy tadalafil (Cialis) from online sources that don’t require a prescription for purchase. The medication may:

  • be tainted with other substances
  • have expired
  • fail to work
  • cause a dangerous reaction

Plus, it’s illegal to buy, sell, or distribute tadalafil without a valid prescription.

Tadalafil belongs to a group of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. It works for ED symptoms by blocking PDE5 and relaxing the blood vessels. This allows blood to flow into your penis for an erection.

Experts believe it helps relieve BPH symptoms by relaxing bladder muscles, which can improve urinary flow.

A doctor or clinician may also prescribe tadalafil to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), or high blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs.

For this use, tadalafil is available under the brand name Adcirca. This medication helps with symptoms of PAH by relaxing the blood vessels in the lungs.

Both Cialis and Adcirca have the same active ingredient — tadalafil — but they have different uses, dosages, and strengths.

This means they’re not interchangeable.

Does Cialis cure ED?

No, tadalafil does not cure ED.

Various factors can contribute to this condition, including:

Tadalafil works by relaxing blood vessels in your penis, which helps you get and maintain an erection. Depending on how often you take the medication, its effects may last for up to 36 hours, according to a 2015 review. But they are not permanent.

You’ll need to keep taking tadalafil as directed by your doctor to manage ED symptoms.

How are Cialis and Viagra different?

Sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil are both prescription medications approved to treat ED. They work in similar ways by blocking PDE5, and they both come in brand-name and generic forms.

But they aren’t entirely the same:

  • They have different active ingredients.
  • Tadalafil lasts up to 36 hours and sildenafil lasts 4 hours.
  • Tadalafil has two dosage options: as needed and daily.
  • Sildenafil is only used as needed.
  • Tadalafil can also treat other conditions.

Both are safe and effective for treating ED. but a 2017 review of 16 studies found that people with ED and their partners preferred tadalafil over sildenafil.

Are side effects common?

You may experience mild side effects when you first start taking tadalafil, including:

  • headache
  • back pain
  • body aches
  • upset stomach

These are common side effects of the drug. They often go away after a few days or weeks, depending on how often you take tadalafil.

If you experience more serious side effects, such as priapism, get to an emergency medical center right away. This is a serious reaction and a medical emergency. Priapism can cause permanent damage to your penis.

If you have concerns about taking the drug, tell your doctor. They can explain what to expect and what you can do if you experience side effects.

What if it doesn’t work?

Tadalafil may not work right away. You may have to take a few doses for it to start managing your symptoms.

If the medication does not work after you’ve taken it as directed by your doctor, they’ll help you explore other options.

Alternative approaches to ED treatment include:

BPH treatment alternatives include:

  • alpha blockers, such as avanafil, alfuzosin, and doxazosin
  • 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, like finasteride and dutasteride

PAH treatment alternatives include:

  • vasodilators which open narrow arteries, including iloprost, epoprostenol, treprostinil sodium, and selexipag
  • warfarin, an anticoagulant
  • calcium channel blockers, like nifedipine
  • endothelin receptor antagonists, such as ambrisentan

Currently, tadalafil is only available in the United States by prescription, in tablet form. If you can’t take the tablets, your doctor may prescribe a liquid solution and help you find a nearby pharmacy that can compound this medication for you.

You may find liquid tadalafil sold online, but if you do not need a prescription to order it, the pharmacy is not legitimate. Only regulated pharmacies in the United States can provide liquid dosage forms of tadalafil, based on a prescription from a licensed medical professional authorized to prescribe the drug.

If you have symptoms of ED or BPH, a healthcare professional can offer more information about treatment with tadalafil and how to get liquid tadalafil.

Malini Ghoshal, RPH, MS, is a published author, speaker, and educator with a master’s in pharmaceutical policy and regulations. She loves writing about health and medicine to improve health outcomes. Malini is passionate about substance misuse prevention and has been actively involved for more than a decade with training and education efforts in the community. In her spare time, she loves to travel the globe with her family while on the lookout for antique pharmacy memorabilia.

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