Cialis price: how much does Cialis cost?

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

Reviewed by Chimene Richa, MD, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

last updated: Mar 23, 2023

6 min read

If you have erectile dysfunction considering taking Cialis, you’ve most likely thought about how much it costs (and if there are ways to save money). Cialis is FDA-approved to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and, because it stays effective for up to 36 hours, is popularly referred to as the “weekend ED pill.” 

Read on as we break down what you need to know about Cialis, how much it costs, and how you can save money with generics like tadalafil.

Erectile dysfunction

Always be ready when the mood is right. Consult a healthcare provider about Cialis®

What is Cialis?

Cialis (generic name: tadalafil) is part of a class of drugs called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors. Other PDE-5 inhibitors include erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra (sildenafil) and Levitra (vardenafil). These medications help a person get and maintain an erection once they are sexually aroused. It’s important to note that Cialis does not induce sexual arousal; rather, it helps you keep an erection long enough to enjoy satisfying sex.

Cialis is unique among PDE-5 inhibitors for its long duration of action (i.e. how long the drug lasts). With other PDE-5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, you need to take the pill 30 to 60 minutes before sexual activity, and it remains effective for 4–5 hours. Cialis, on the other hand, is taken daily and stays effective for up to 36 hours, allowing for more spontaneity. Cialis is also available in an as-needed dosage for those who don’t wish to take it daily, which kicks in after about an hour or two

The daily version of Cialis comes in 2.5 mg and 5 mg tablets. The as-needed dosage is prescribed in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg amounts. Both versions of Cialis remain effective for up to 36 hours. Note: This does not mean that you maintain an erection for that long. Any erection lasting longer than four hours is a medical emergency. Cialis simply helps you get and stay hard when you’re sexually aroused within a 36-hour time period. 

In addition to erectile dysfunction, Cialis is FDA-approved to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate. BPH is a common condition where the prostate enlarges and puts pressure on the urethra, making it difficult to urinate. Like erectile dysfunction, BPH becomes more common with age. For BPH, Cialis dosages start at 5 mg, taken daily.

Cialis Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Viagra Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Side effects of Cialis

Typically, it’s rare to experience side effects when taking Cialis. However, the most common side effects of Cialis may include:

  • Back pain

  • Facial flushing

  • Headache

  • Muscle or limb pain

  • Nasal congestion

  • Upset stomach or indigestion

The above side effects are generally mild and only affect around 2 in 100 people who take Cialis. Rarer and more serious side effects may include priapism (a painful erection lasting four hours or more) and vision or hearing loss. If you notice any of these side effects, stop using Cialis and seek medical attention immediately.

Cialis is not recommended for everyone, including people with certain health conditions or taking certain medications. For example, Cialis should never be combined with nitrates, as this can cause dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension). Similarly, if you take other medications that lower blood pressure, like alpha blockers or antihypertensives, you run the risk of hypotension. Also, people with the following risk factors should not use Cialis:

When seeking a prescription for Cialis, tell your healthcare provider about any underlying health conditions you have and medications you are taking, to avoid serious side effects. 

Cialis is not an over-the-counter medication. You must have a prescription to buy Cialis. If you see any websites that advertise Cialis without a prescription, beware. The counterfeit market for ED medications is large, and illegal versions of the drugs are more likely to contain insufficient amounts of the active ingredient, as well as contaminants and other potentially dangerous ingredients.

How much is Cialis per pill? 

Without insurance, Cialis costs anywhere from $15 to $83 per pill for the brand-name drug, and from $9 to $41 for the generic. Cialis pricing depends on several factors, most notably on the dosage you’re prescribed and whether you use Cialis or tadalafil, the generic version of Cialis. For example, here’s a look at the average cost of Cialis per pill and month, broken down by dosage, according to GoodRx.

Dosage Amount

Cialis cost per pill

Cialis cost per month

Tadalafil cost per pill

Tadalafil cost per month

2.5 mg

$15

$446

$9

$285

5 mg

$15

$457

$10

$287

10 mg

$82

$2,444

$41

$1,244

20 mg

$83

$2,486

$41

$1,239

As you can see, generic tadalafil is significantly more affordable than the brand name Cialis. The cost of Cialis depends on the dosage you’re prescribed and how often you’ll be using Cialis. The daily dose of Cialis costs around $15 per day, whereas the larger doses intended for as-needed use cost more than $80 per pill. Depending on how often you plan to have sex, one dosage vs. the other may make more sense cost-wise. Ask your health provider for medical advice, based on your health history. 

Additionally, Cialis costs can vary depending on where you live, and the pharmacy you use. The prices above are based on a 30-day supply of Cialis or tadalafil, purchased through a local pharmacy, like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. They do not factor in the cost of getting to and from the pharmacy, nor the cost of meeting with an in-person health provider to get a prescription. You can usually save significantly by purchasing Cialis through a telehealth service like Ro, which offers free consultations with a licensed healthcare professional and free delivery.

Is Cialis covered by insurance? 

In general, private health insurance and government-funded plans like Medicare Part D do not cover brand-name ED medications because they don’t consider them medically necessary. However, it is possible generics may be covered. If you are taking Cialis to treat BPH, it is more likely to be covered, either as brand name Cialis or generic tadalafil. Check with your insurance provider and review your plan’s prescription drug coverage to be sure.

How to save money on Cialis 

Cialis can become much more affordable with a few cost-saving strategies. Consider these tips to find lower prices for Cialis.

Opt for generic tadalafil

Generic tadalafil works just as well as Cialis and comes in the same dosage amounts. The FDA requires that generic medications contain the same active ingredient, in the same amount, and are made according to the same quality and safety standards as the brand name drug. As a result, generic drugs are just as safe and effective, only much cheaper.

Review your insurance coverage

Some insurance plans cover ED medications, and some only cover generic versions of the drug. Your plan’s coverage of Cialis may also depend on the underlying health condition. If you are taking Cialis to treat BPH, it’s possible it may be covered.

Consider Cialis alternatives

If you have ED, BPH, or both, Cialis can be a good option. However, other medications treat ED and BPH. Depending on your insurance coverage and the pharmacy you use, you may find better value using a Cialis alternative. For example, the generic form of Viagra, sildenafil, is cheaper than tadalafil. In addition, these alternative medications may have their own coupons and manufacturer savings programs. 

Look into patient assistance programs

Patient assistance programs (PAPs) offer financial assistance to people with low incomes who don’t have health insurance. Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Cialis, manages a PAP called Lilly Cares. To qualify, you must meet certain income eligibility requirements, and be a permanent, legal resident of the United States. You must also not have coverage through private insurance, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, Low Income Subsidy, or Veterans (VA) Benefits. You can learn more here. You’ll need to work with your healthcare provider to submit the necessary paperwork for the application.

Check for Cialis coupons

Sometimes pharmacies offer coupons on different medications, including Cialis. You can search for Cialis coupons on pharmacy coupon aggregator websites such as GoodRx, SingleCare, RxSaver, or Optum Perks. 

Try a telehealth pharmacy

Telehealth services enable you to receive prescriptions virtually through a certified online pharmacy. At Ro, brand name Cialis starts at $20 per dose, while generic tadalafil starts at $8 to $11 per dose. Delivery is free, and you can save an additional $15 on your first order. 

Cialis vs. Viagra cost 

If you are taking Cialis to treat ED, you may wonder how it stacks up, price-wise, against other ED medications like Viagra (generic name: sildenafil). Viagra is shorter-lasting than Cialis (the duration of action is 4–5 hours vs. 36 hours), but it kicks in a bit quicker when you take it as needed. Viagra starts working within 30 to 60 minutes, compared with the 1–2 hours of Cialis.

Cialis and Viagra also have different price points, with the generic of Viagra being a bit cheaper. Here’s a look at the cost difference between Cialis and Viagra:

  • Cialis vs. Viagra cost: On average, the cost per dose of the brand name Viagra ranges from $86 to $116, according to GoodRx. This is more expensive than Cialis, which ranges from $15 to $83 per dose.

  • Tadalafil vs. Sildenafil cost: While brand name Viagra is more expensive than Cialis, the generic of Viagra (sildenafil) is much cheaper, ranging from $4 to $10 per dose at Ro — compared with the $9 to $41 price range of generic Cialis (tadalafil). (You can save by purchasing generic Cialis through Ro, which offers tadalafil starting at $8 per dose.) 

When it comes to ED treatment options, Cialis and Viagra have proven safe and effective for years. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best option for you. 

DISCLAIMER

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

March 23, 2023

Written by

Amelia Willson

Fact checked by

Chimene Richa, MD


About the medical reviewer

Dr. Richa is a board-certified Ophthalmologist and medical writer for Ro.