Cialis (tadalafil) is a prescription brand-name medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to treat the following conditions in males:*

Cialis is also used as a single medication to treat ED and BPH in males who have both conditions.

Cialis comes as oral tablets that are available in several strengths. The active drug in Cialis is tadalafil, which is classified as a phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor.

Tadalafil is available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics also tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

For details about the dosage of Cialis, including its form, strengths, and how to take the drug, keep reading. For a comprehensive look at Cialis, see this article.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

This article describes typical dosages for Cialis provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Cialis, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

Below you’ll find information about dosage instructions and dosage options for Cialis.

Cialis form and strengths (2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg)

Cialis comes as oral tablets that are available in four strengths: 2.5 milligrams (mg), 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg.

Recommended dosage for Cialis

Typically, your doctor will have you start taking a low dosage of Cialis. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Whichever condition Cialis is used to treat, the recommended maximum dose per day is 20 mg. This is the highest dosage that a doctor may prescribe.

Dosage for erectile dysfunction (ED)

For treating erectile dysfunction (ED), Cialis may be used daily or on occasion.

Cialis ED dosage for daily use

For treating ED, the Cialis dosage for daily use is 2.5 mg once per day. You do not have to take Cialis at any specific time before sexual activity when it’s prescribed in this way. You can take your dose at any time of day. But you should try and take it at the same time every day. This helps make sure there’s enough medication in your body for Cialis to be effective.

Your doctor may increase your dose to 5 mg if the 2.5 mg-dose doesn’t work well for you.

Cialis ED dosage for occasional use

The normal dosage of Cialis for occasional use in treating ED is 10 mg taken before sexual activity. If you have side effects with the 10-mg dose, your doctor may prescribe a 5-mg dose. If the 10-mg dose doesn’t work for you, they may increase your treatment to the maximum dosage of 20 mg once per day.

When taken for occasional use to treat ED, the effects of Cialis have been shown to last up to 36 hours.

Regardless of the dose prescribed, you should not take more than one Cialis tablet per day.

Dosage for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

For treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the recommended Cialis dosage is 5 mg taken once per day.

Dosage for ED and BPH

For use as a single medication to treat both ED and BPH, the recommended Cialis dosage is 5 mg taken once per day. You don’t have to take Cialis at any specific time before sexual activity when it’s prescribed in this way. You can take your dose at any time of day. But you should try and take it at the same time every day. This helps make sure there’s enough medication in your body for Cialis to be effective.

Long-term use

Doctors recommend using Cialis as a long-term treatment, even if you take it only on occasion to treat ED. If you and your doctor determine that Cialis is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about Cialis dosages.

Is a 40-mg dose of Cialis safe to take?

No, 40 milligrams (mg) is not a safe dose of Cialis to take. The maximum recommended dosage of Cialis is 20 mg once per day. Taking a dose of Cialis that’s higher than recommended could increase your risk for side effects. These can include serious side effects such as drops in blood pressure or priapism (a painful erection that won’t go away).

It’s important to not take more Cialis than the dose your doctor recommends. You should take Cialis exactly as it’s prescribed for you. If you have other questions about Cialis doses, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

What’s the Cialis dosage for someone who’s 70 years old?

Cialis dosages for someone who is age 70 years (and older adults in general) are the same as those for other adults. Details about these dosages are in the “Cialis dosage” section above.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of Cialis. Because of this, your doctor may decide to prescribe a lower dose than usual when you start taking Cialis. Then, if needed, they can adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you.

If you have additional questions about the use of Cialis in older adults, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

It’s important that you do not use more Cialis than your doctor prescribes. For some medications, taking more than the recommended amount may lead to side effects or overdose.

If you take more than the recommended amount of Cialis

Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Cialis. Another option is to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

The Cialis dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Cialis to treat
  • how often you take Cialis
  • your age
  • other medications you may take
  • side effects that you may have from taking Cialis
  • how well the medication is working for you, if used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED)

Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Cialis dosage.

Dosage adjustments

If you have kidney or liver problems, your doctor may adjust your Cialis dosage. If the kidney or liver problems are mild or moderate, you’ll likely need a lower dose of the drug than usual. Keep in mind that if you have severe liver problems, you should not use Cialis. The drug is also not recommended for daily use if you have severe kidney problems.

Your doctor can determine the severity of your kidney or liver problems and whether Cialis is a safe medication for you to take. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about Cialis dosage adjustments.

Cialis comes as oral tablets. You can take them with or without food.

If you take Cialis for occasional use to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), you should take your dose before sexual activity. When taken for occasional use to treat ED, the effects of Cialis have been shown to last up to 36 hours.

If you take Cialis daily for ED, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or both ED and BPH, you can take your dose at any time of day. But you should try and take your dose at the same time every day.

You should not take more than one dose of Cialis per day. Be sure not to take more of the drug than your doctor prescribes for you. Doing so may lead to serious side effects from Cialis.

If you have questions about how to take Cialis, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you forget to take a once-daily dose of Cialis, try to take it as soon as you remember. But keep in mind that you should not take more than one Cialis dose per day. So if you missed a dose yesterday, skip that dose and take your next scheduled dose of Cialis.

It’s important that you do not take more Cialis than your doctor prescribes for you. Doing so may lead to serious side effects from the drug.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Cialis for you, they will prescribe the proper dosage for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any drug, never change your dosage of Cialis without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Cialis that’s right for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Cialis. These additional articles might be helpful:

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.