Tadalafil vs Vardenafil: Choose Your Right ED Pill

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Written By Julie Ingram
Vardenafil vs Tadalafil

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability of men or Assigned Males at Birth (AMAB) to get and maintain a firm erection. 

It may be caused by a medical condition like Diabetes, a psychological disorder such as Depression, or any medication’s side effect.

ED is a condition that would make every sufferer search for immediate treatment.

PDE-5 inhibitors are the widely prescribed treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. Tadalafil and Vardenafil are the frequently prescribed PDE-5 inhibitors.

But is one Erectile Dysfunction medicine “better” than the others? Is Tadalafil more potent than Vardenafil?

That’s the question we’re willing to answer. In this article on Tadalafil vs Vardenafil, we will compare the two ED medications so that you can choose the right one.

How do Vardenafil and Tadalafil work?

Tadalafil and Vardenafil are Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. 

When a man is sexually aroused, Nitric Oxide (NO) is released. Thus, leading to the production of cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate (cGMP). 

cGMP relaxes smooth muscles in blood vessels, causing penile blood vessel dilation. 

However, the PDE5 enzyme breaks down cGMP levels, which hinders dilation. 

Tadalafil and Vardenafil, as PDE5 inhibitors, block the action of PDE5. Thus, allowing cGMP levels to increase. 

This promotes penile blood vessel dilation and improved blood flow, which helps men or AMAB to get and maintain firm erections.

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  • Difference between Tadalafil and Vardenafil

    Although both medications work in the same way and start working within almost the same time (30-60 minutes), there are notable differences between the two. 

    Tadalafil vs Vardenafil includes the distinctions in the duration of action, side effects, dosages, peak concentration time, etc. 

    Here we will study each distinction in detail. 

    Whose effects last for long: Tadalafil or Vardenafil

    Tadalafil is the longest-lasting ED medication. Its effects stay in the body for about 36 hours, which has earned it the nickname “The Weekend Pill“. 

    In contrast, Vardenafil’s effects last for upto 4 hours only. Its effects start to fade away after four hours of ingestion. 

    However, it does not mean you will experience a continuous erection for 4 or 36 hours. Instead, it indicates that these medicines help you get an erection easily during these time frames in response to sexual stimulation.

    Dosage and strengths: Tadalafil vs Vardenafil

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved four doses of Tadalafil: 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg. 

    It provides the flexibility of either “as-needed” or “once-daily” dosing options. 

    For “as-needed” usage, the starting dose is usually 10mg but can be increased or decreased depending on the individual’s specific requirements. 

    This “as-needed” dose of Tadalafil is taken when required, approximately 30 minutes before sexual activity.

    For daily usage, the FDA-approved dose for Tadalafil is 2.5mg, which must be taken at the same time every day, regardless of sexual activity. 

    The maximum daily dosage of Tadalafil can be 5mg for Erectile Dysfunction. 

    On the other hand, Vardenafil is also available in four different doses: 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg. 

    It is formulated to be taken on an “as-needed” basis approximately 60 minutes prior to engaging in sexual activity. 

    The recommended starting dose for Vardenafil is 10mg. But it can be adjusted according to individual response, ranging from 5mg to 20mg.

    Do not take more than one dose of any PDE5 inhibitor in 24 hours. It can lead to overdosing and can cause adverse effects.

    Which ED pill reaches the peak concentration faster: Tadalafil or Vardenafil

    Peak concentration refers to the highest level of the medication in the bloodstream. Thus, representing the time when medicine exerts its maximum therapeutic effects on the body. 

    Among all Erectile Dysfunction pills, Tadalafil has the slowest absorption rate. It reaches its maximum concentration 2 hours after ingestion.

    In contrast, Vardenafil achieves peak concentration in about 60 minutes.

    Which has fewer side effects: Vardenafil or Tadalafil

    Headache - medicine side effect
    Headache (medicine side effect)

    When comparing the side effects of Vardenafil and Tadalafil, they share a similar profile, which includes face flushing, headache, and indigestion. 

    However, Vardenafil is considered to have fewer side effects compared to Tadalafil.

    This is because Tadalafil’s broader action window might lead to longer-lasting side effects. 

    Some reports suggest that Tadalafil may occasionally cause back pain or muscle aches, which Vardenafil does not cause.  

    Side effects may vary from person to person and are not the guaranteed effect of PDE5 inhibitors. They happen in 1 out of 100 people and are generally mild.

    Which is approved to treat other conditions: Tadalafil or Vardenafil

    The FDA approves Cialis for the treatment of other medical conditions, i.e., Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).

    It is available under different brand names, i.e., Cialis for treating ED, BPH, and Adcirca for treating PAH. 

    BPH is a condition characterized by the enlargement of the prostate gland. It poses urinary symptoms like difficulty starting urine, reduced urine flow, etc. 

    PAH refers to the condition of high blood pressure in the lung’s arteries. It causes symptoms like shortness of breath. 

    In contrast, the FDA has not approved Vardenafil for treating any condition beyond Erectile Dysfunction.

    Tadalafil vs Vardenafil: Quick Overview

    Here is the general information about Tadalafil and Vardenafil for a quick glance. 

    Key factorsTadalafilVardenafil
    Prescription RequiredYesYes
    Drug class Phosphodiesterase Type 5 inhibitorsPhosphodiesterase Type 5 inhibitors
    How fast does it work?Starts showing its effects in 30-60 minutesBecomes effective in 60 minutes
    How long does it last?Effects last upto 36 hoursRemains active for four hours
    How to takeFood does not interfere with Tadalafil. It may be taken with or without foodIt may be taken with or without food. But it may get affected if you eat a high-fat meal
    Side effectsHeadaches, Back pain, Muscle aches, and DizzinessHeadache, facial flushing, stuffy nose.
    Approved to treat other medical conditions beyond EDYesNo 
    Brand Name Cialis or Adcirca Levitra

    Vardenafil vs Tadalafil: Which is better?

    In Tadalafil vs Vardenafil comparison, it cannot be definitively concluded which one is better as the suitability of each medication can vary from person to person.

    Both medications are equally effective in treating Erectile Dysfunction (ED). However, they do have some distinguishing characteristics.

    In a study evaluating ED medications, Vardenafil was found to be more selective in inhibiting PDE-5, which plays a crucial role in treating ED.

    Another advantage of Vardenafil is its tendency to cause fewer side effects compared to Tadalafil. 

    However, if the treatment requires addressing both Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and ED, Tadalafil is the preferred choice as it is potent for both conditions.

    Moreover, if you desire long-lasting effects that allow spontaneity in engaging in sexual activities, Tadalafil becomes a more favorable option.

    Ultimately, the decision between Tadalafil and Vardenafil is highly individualized, as effectiveness can vary from person to person. 

    It also depends on additional factors such as dosage, other medications or supplements being taken, medical history, and mental condition. 

    Thus, it is recommended to consult a doctor to determine the best ED pill for you based on your unique needs and circumstances.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Vardenafil more potent than Tadalafil?

    Yes, Vardenafil is considered to be more potent than Tadalafil in inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme. 
    It means Vardenafil is highly effective at producing the desired effect at relatively low doses. 

    Which is more selective, Tadalafil or Vardenafil?

    Tadalafil is more selective than Vardenafil. 
    Tadalafil has a higher specificity for the PDE5 enzyme and shows minimal inhibition of other phosphodiesterases. 
    On the other hand, Vardenafil exhibits a bit less selectivity and can also affect PDE6 to some extent.

    Can Tadalafil and Vardenafil be used interchangeably?

    No, Tadalafil and Vardenafil should not be used interchangeably. 
    They are different medications, even though they both belong to the same category of medicines (PDE5 inhibitors) and treat similar conditions of ED. 
    But they have different pharmacokinetics and dosing regimens. They should only be used as prescribed by a doctor.

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