Can you take Cialis in the morning and Viagra at night?

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Cale Li, MD 

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Cale Li, MD 

LAST UPDATED: Jan 29, 2024

4 MIN READ

Key takeaways

  • Cialis (generic name tadalafil) and Viagra (generic name sildenafil) are both PDE5 inhibitors. They work by increasing blood flow to the penis during arousal, making it easier to get and keep erections long enough for satisfying sex. 

  • Cialis stays effective for about 36 hours, while Viagra works for about 4 hours.

  • There are combined treatments available that include precision dosing of sildenafil and tadalafil (the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis) in one treatment such as Ro Sparks.

Cialis (tadalafil) and Viagra (sildenafil) are both medications used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). They both belong to the same family of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors. PDE5 inhibitors work by increasing blood flow to the penis to give you a harder erection. 

Since both medications can lower your blood pressure, combining them without specific clinical guidance from a doctor can result in dangerously low blood pressure and other complications. That said, there are a few situations where someone might have both medications on hand. Cialis is available in a daily, low-dose formulation that some people find more convenient than the as-needed option Viagra offers. Getting the timing right with Viagra, on the other hand, can be tricky since sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) can take about an hour to work, and food can affect the timing.  

In general, if you’ve been prescribed both Cialis and Viagra, your healthcare provider may offer specific guidance based on your personal medical history to use Cialis every day and add Viagra to increase the effectiveness of both medications on days when you want to have sex.

In fact, this is common practice for many patients, and there are even combined treatments available that include precision dosing of sildenafil and tadalafil (the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis, respectively) in one easy-to-use treatment. Ro Sparks is a compounded sublingual prescription treatment you place under your tongue for faster action and longer-lasting effects than Viagra alone. 

If you haven’t received specific guidance from your healthcare provider to use both medications on the same day, you should wait 24 hours before using Viagra after you’ve taken Cialis and reach out to your healthcare provider who is familiar with your medical history and can tell you whether you can use both medications on the same day.

Ro Sparks: Harder erections, faster than Viagra/Cialis (sildenafil/tadalafil). Get started with an online visit.

What are the main differences between Cialis and Viagra?

Cialis and Viagra both belong to the class of medications called PDE5 inhibitors, which work by increasing blood flow to the penis during arousal, leading to harder erections. PDE5 inhibitors don’t create erections on their own but make it easier for you to get hard when you’re aroused. 

One of the main differences between Cialis and Viagra is the duration of action. Cialis works for around 36 hours, allowing for more spontaneity in your sex life. There are two ways to take Cialis: either as-needed (at least 30 to 60 minutes prior to sexual activity) or once a day at the same time every day without regard for the timing of sexual activity. 

The dosing schedule for you depends on your personal preferences, which you can discuss with your healthcare provider. If you don’t like taking medications every day, the as-needed Cialis may be a more attractive option. On the flip side, if you’d like more spontaneity without worrying about planning your sexual activity, the once-a-day way to take Cialis could be better for you. There’s only one way to take traditional Viagra for erectile dysfunction: as needed around one hour prior to sexual activity. 

Which is better for you: Viagra or Cialis?

“Which medication is right for you depends on your lifestyle, sexual needs, side effect profile, how they last in your system, and how well they work,” says Dr. Michael Reitano, a sexual health expert and Physician-in-Residence at Ro. “Let’s say a person has side effects with one—with the sildenafil—and it causes nasal stuffiness. They might say, well, I’m only going to have a single sexual experience, I’d rather have a drug that covers me for 8 hours, even though it causes me this stuffiness and discomfort, because I’m not going to need the effects of the drug beyond that.”

“This same person may be going away for the weekend, and they don’t know when they’ll be having sex. They want the effects for 36 hours [...], and they might say, ‘I’d like to take Cialis for this 36-hour period, even if it causes some nasal congestion.’”

One study comparing Cialis and Viagra showed that the two drugs were equally effective at treating erectile dysfunction. However, men and their partners preferred Cialis over Viagra, citing less time pressure, reduced sense of urgency, and less planning before and during sexual encounters. In the end, it’s up to you and your healthcare provider to decide what works best for you.

What if Cialis or Viagra isn’t working for me?

If you’re still experiencing erectile dysfunction after having tried Cialis or Viagra, there are other options. 

Addressing underlying health conditions

Certain health conditions can impede your body’s ability to get an erection, even when taking drugs like Cialis. Common health conditions associated with erectile dysfunction include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, low testosterone, and enlarged prostate. Improving these underlying conditions may help improve your overall sexual health. 

Lifestyle changes

Cigarette smoking is associated with higher rates of erectile dysfunction. Quitting smoking can help improve your sexual health. In addition, alcohol dependency was associated with more sexual dysfunction, including problems with desire, arousal, and erectile function. 

Other treatments for ED

Beyond PDE5 inhibitors, there are other treatment options for erectile dysfunction:

  • Testosterone therapy for men with erectile dysfunction caused by low levels of testosterone, a condition called hypogonadism.

  • Injectable medications like alprostadil directly stimulate the penis to get hard.

  • Vacuum restriction devices placed over the penis can maintain erections up to 30 minutes.

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

January 29, 2024

Written by

Cale Li, MD

Fact checked by

Yael Cooperman, MD


About the medical reviewer

Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

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