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Cialis Cost Versus Viagra

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Cialis vs. Levitra vs. Viagra: How Each Stacks Up

Three of a kind?

Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra are oral medications used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). You may also know them by their generic names, tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and sildenafil (Viagra).

About 30 million men occasionally have a problem with getting or keeping an erection, according to the Urology Care Foundation. When ED becomes a problem, many men turn to oral ED medications. These drugs often help. Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra each work in similar ways. But there are also some differences, such as when you take them, how long they work, and what their side effects are.

Drug features

Cialis. Levitra. and Viagra are all in a class of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors. These drugs work by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5. They also boost a chemical in your body called nitric oxide. This action encourages the muscles in your penis to relax. Relaxed muscles allow blood to flow freely so that when you’re aroused, you can get an erection. It also helps you maintain the erection long enough to have sex.

Levitra and Viagra stay in your bloodstream for about four to six hours. Cialis remains in your bloodstream for 17 to 18 hours or longer. The length of time a drug stays in your system may be important if you’re taking other medications.

Here are more basics on each of these drugs:

Be sure to take this drug exactly as your doctor tells you to. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.

Cost, availability, and insurance

Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra are usually stocked at most pharmacies. All three of these drugs cost about the same amount. In general, most health insurance companies won’t cover their costs. But if you have certain medical conditions, your health plan may pay for the drug with prior authorization.

Side effects

The side effects of these medications are similar. Most men have only mild side effects.

The chart below compares the side effects of these drugs.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that linger and don’t go away on their own. If you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours, call your doctor right away.

Drug interactions

Each drug comes with the chance of drug interactions. Since PDE-5 inhibitors work on the body in similar ways, Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra come with similar interactions.

If you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours, call your doctor right away.

All three of these drugs interact with nitrates. They also all interact with blood pressure drugs such as alpha-blockers. For Cialis, these also include the drugs bendrofluazine, enalapril. and metoprolol. For Viagra, these also include the blood pressure drug amlodipine .

Viagra also interacts with the drug ritonavir .

Cialis can also interact with alcohol. Drinking alcohol with Cialis can cause low blood pressure when you stand up from a sitting or lying position. This may result in dizziness or a headache. To learn more, read more about the effects of mixing Cialis and alcohol.

Levitra and Viagra do not seem to cause low blood pressure when taken with alcohol. However, alcohol may interfere with your ability to get an erection, even while you’re taking any of these drugs.

Outlook

If you have ED, talk to your doctor about Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra. Tell your doctor if you take other over-the-counter or prescription drugs or supplements. Be sure to mention all other health conditions you have.

Each of these three popular drugs has been shown to help men with ED when they’re used correctly. All three drugs have good results, but it may take a little time and patience to get it right. If one drug doesn’t work or produces unpleasant side effects, you can try another drug. It may also take some trial and error to find the dosage that works best for you. And if you’re not sure that drug treatment is right for you, you can give these natural treatments for erectile dysfunction a try.

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by Dr. Sharon Orrange
on February 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

For those of you paying an arm and a leg for your erectile dysfunction (ED) meds, here is a safe and legitimate trick for you. Revatio (sildenafil 20 mg) is the exact same drug as Viagra . just in a different dose. There is now a generic version of that 20 mg tablet of sildenafil (Revatio ).

Sildenafil is effective in roughly 70% – 90% of people with ED, hence its popularity. The sad thing is that while Viagra. Cialis and Levitra have changed lives, they are very expensive.

Sildenafil was originally developed by Pfizer as a medication used in treating ED (Viagra ) but also for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (Revatio ).

Viagra (sildenafil ) is used in 25, 50 or 100 mg tablets for ED. The generic version of Revatio (sildenafil ) is available as a 20 mg tablet. It is so much cheaper per month that even taking 2 – 2 ½ tablets of the generic version (to get 50 mg for ED) you will be saving money. You just need to ask for a prescription of sildenafil 20 mg tablets to start saving money fast.

As you may know, due to a risk of cardiovascular adverse events, sildenafil should not be used in patients taking nitrate therapy. Other than that, carry on.

Viagra 50 mg can cost $250 to $275 for 10 tablets; in contrast, 20 tablets of sildenafil 20 mg should fall in the $30 – $75 range, and 30 tablets would cost about $50 – $100, giving you as much as $200 in savings depending on the pharmacy. Viagra is not covered by many insurance plans, and when it is covered it is likely a Tier 2 or 3 drug, meaning a high copay.

About The GoodRx Medical Team

Dr. Sharon Orrange, MD MPH

Dr. Orrange is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California, as well as a practicing adult medicine doctor in Los Angeles. She also has a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She does not receive any form of compensation from pharmaceutical manufacturers for the opinions expressed here. Follow her on twitter at @orrangemd.

The GoodRx Pharmacist

Roni Bennett, PharmD CGP BCACP graduated from Duquesne University and is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Her realm of pharmacy experience includes but is not limited to retail, compounding, and specialty pharmacy. Currently she is a mentor for Strong Women Strong Girls, certified thru APhA in Medication Therapy Management and diabetes, and an active member of The Ohio pharmacists association, LGBT, and the Women’s Business Resource Group.

Elizabeth Davis is GoodRx’s medical editor and consumer savings expert. She hand-assembled the GoodRx drug database and has researched virtually every available discount program and savings opportunity.

Disclaimer: The content posted here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. GoodRx does not recommend or endorse any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information. We urge you to talk to your doctor before starting, changing or terminating any medical treatment.

Our Mission

GoodRx believes that everyone should be able to access and afford the prescription drugs they need to maintain their health.

Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

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What Are the Differences Between These Drugs?

Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and Viagra work similarly. There are subtle differences in how long the drug works and how quickly it works.

Levitra works a little longer than Viagra. They both take effect in about 30 minutes. With Levitra, the effects last for about 5 hours. With Viagra, they last about 4 hours.

Cialis works much longer — up to 36 hours in some cases. Stendra can start doing its thing in as little as 15 minutes, and its effects last up to 6 hours.

Staxyn dissolves in your mouth. It contains the same active ingredient as Levitra, but it should not replace Levitra. It also can begin working in about 15 minutes.

If One of These Doesn’t Help Me, Can I Try Another?

Yes. But because these drugs work the same way, you’re likely to have similar results.

What Precautions Should I Take Before Trying One of These Drugs?

There are situations where these drugs may not be safe. Before you take them, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to any drugs, including other ED medications.
  • About any prescription or nonprescription medications you take and any herbal and dietary supplements .
  • If you are scheduled for surgery, even dental surgery.
  • If you take nitroglycerin or a similar medicine for chest pain. The combination of ED medication and these drugs can cause dangerously low blood pressure .
  • If you take alpha-blockers for blood pressure or prostate problems. These can lower your blood pressure when taken with ED pills. You should not start on Staxyn unless your doctor has prescribed you Levitra before.

Always follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Also make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain anything you don’t understand. Take these drugs exactly as directed.

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