One of the most popular medicines on the market for erectile dysfunction, millions of Cialis prescriptions are made out each year for patients across the globe. In just the first three months of 2014, Lilly reported $532m in revenue from sales of this drug alone.

But however impressive an endorsement of Cialis this figure may be, for a patient looking to buy ED treatment for the first time, knowing which to choose can still be a tricky prospect.

Many men may turn to the internet to search for reviews from patients who have used it before. Written reviews can sometimes provide an insight into what one can expect when using a product; and reading accounts from others who have been in a very similar position, considering a particular medicine, may help to address a patient’s concerns.

However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind when reading online reviews for Cialis and other medicines.

The most vital thing to know is that reading reviews for a medicine online should never be thought of as a substitute for consulting with a doctor in person.

Online Cialis reviews: how reliable are they?

How reliable online medicine reviews are is a subject of some debate, for several reasons.

The website hosting the review is one factor.

If, for instance, the site is just a simple open-source forum with no administrative processes for monitoring reviews or verifying that they are from authentic users, then at least some of the reviews contained on it may not be reliable, or even genuine.

On the other hand, if the website has established processes to verify the authenticity of the review (such as checking that the review has not come from the same IP address as other reviews), and has a clinical person responsible for monitoring posts before they are put online, then this can help readers to be more confident that they reading a genuine review.

How much detail the reviewer is asked to provide is another factor to consider. This might be whether they were using other medications which could have affected the function of the medicine, whether they have or had any underlying conditions which could have influenced their experience, what dosage they used, and so on.

How do reviews compare to clinical trials?

While there are measures websites can take to ensure the reviews left on them are authentic and reliable, canvassing medicine reviews online is not likely to paint as accurate a picture as reading the results of clinical trials.

Clinical trials are conducted in controlled settings using carefully considered parameters. Typically, a representative and significantly-sized test pool is selected, and everyone participating is asked to provide responses or feedback within a certain framework.  

Online reviews are left of the patient’s own volition. Not everyone who uses a specific medicine will choose to write a review and post it online; and certain factors, such as an overtly positive or overtly negative experience, may do more to compel someone to share their views.

This means that those whose experiences went as expected or were comparatively unremarkable may not be as motivated to post about it.

Review sites may also not prompt the user to respond in a way which specifically relates to the drug in question; whereas a clinical trial will be built around a particular drug or type of drug, and ask tailored questions.

That said, there can sometimes be obstacles for patients when it comes to interpreting the results of clinical trials. Sometimes, they may not be expressed in terms easily accessible to a layperson. Medical or statistical terms may be used, which can make it hard for patients to quantify the results. Written reviews, although they may not be as representative, may typically be more accessible to patients looking for general information.

Getting a doctor’s opinion

If you are thinking about using Cialis for the first time and are not sure whether it is suitable for you, the best course of action to take is to get an opinion from a medical practitioner who knows you.

Reading Cialis reviews might be able to give you an idea of what to expect when taking it; and clinical trials are unparalleled when it comes to gaining an overview of safety and efficacy.

But every patient is different. Certain factors, such as if you have a medical condition, are taking other treatments or are for any reason sensitive to potential side effects, can affect how well Cialis and other ED drugs work.

If you’re finding it difficult to get an idea on what the consensus is regarding a drug, including how effective it is and whether it is likely to cause side effects, talking to your doctor can help.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Aug 16 2017