Tadalafil for pulmonary hypertension (Adcirca)

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When you collect your prescriptions, check that you have been given the same brand of tablets as before. If the appearance is not the same as usual, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

The usual dose is 40 mg daily (taken as two 20 mg tablets).

The most common side-effects are headache, flushing, nasal congestion, stomach upset, and muscle aches and pains.

Type of medicineVasodilator antihypertensive medicine
Used forPulmonary hypertension in adults
Also calledAdcirca®
Available asTablets

Primary pulmonary hypertension is a rare condition where there is too high a blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply your lungs from your heart.

Tadalafil relaxes the muscle cells in the walls of the blood vessels to your lungs, allowing them to become wider (dilated). This reduces the pressure in these blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily through them. In turn, this increases the supply of blood to your lungs and improves your ability to do physical activities. It will be prescribed for you by a specialist doctor.

Another brand of tadalafil tablets called Cialis® is used in men for a completely different condition - please see the separate medicine leaflet called Tadalafil for erectile dysfunction if you have been prescribed this brand of tadalafil tablets.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking tadalafil it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
  • If you have any other heart or blood vessel disease.
  • If you have any other problems with your blood pressure.
  • If you have had an eye condition causing a loss of vision.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have recently had a heart attack.
  • If you have any disease, injury or deformity of your penis.
  • If you have sickle cell disease.
  • If you have ever had bone marrow cancer or leukaemia.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines, and recreational drugs.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about Adcirca®, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take the tablets exactly as your doctor has told you to. The usual dose is two 20 mg tablets taken together, once daily. Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. Your dose will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you.
  • Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can generally take tadalafil at a time of day that suits you. You should, however, try to take each of your doses at the same time of day, each day.
  • You can take tadalafil tablets before or after meals.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember as long as it is still within eight hours of the time you should have taken it. If when you remember, it is more than eight hours later, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • It is recommended that you do not drink grapefruit juice with tadalafil. This is because there is a chemical in grapefruit juice which may increase the amount of tadalafil in your bloodstream. This may make side-effects more likely.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • If you are due to have an operation or some other medical treatment, it is important that you tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking tadalafil.
  • Each time you collect a new supply of this medicine from your pharmacy, make sure it looks to be the same as you have had before. If you are unsure, ask your pharmacist to check for you.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common tadalafil side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Headache, muscle aches and painsAsk your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling faint or dizzy, blurred visionIf this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. If the problem with your eyesight starts suddenly, speak with your doctor
Feeling or being sick, indigestion, abdominal discomfortStick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods
Flushing, nosebleeds, a blocked or runny nose, palpitations, increased menstrual bleedingIf any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice

Important: if you experience any of the following, get medical attention straightaway:

  • An allergic-type reaction such as a rash or swelling around your face.
  • Chest pain
  • A sudden loss of vision.
  • An erection lasting for more than four hours.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Adcirca®; Eli Lilly and Company Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2013.
  • British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
28639 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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