Erectile dysfunction (impotence) affects millions of men in the United States. Levitra (Vardenafil) belongs to a group of medicines called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors), similar to Viagra and Cialis. Levitra acts by relaxing muscles in the penis and blood vessels, allowing increased blood flow into the penis, which produces an erection. Levitra is not an aphrodisiac and does not increase libido. Levitra requires sexual stimulation to work and is not addictive. Levitra is the most potent and a highly selective treatment for erectile dysfunction. Men who do not have erectile dysfunction should not take Levitra.
Important Safety Information
Before taking Levitra, tell your doctor about all your medical problems, including if you:
- have heart problems such as angina, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, or have had a heart attack—ask your doctor if it is safe for you to have sexual activity
- have low blood pressure or have high blood pressure that is not controlled
- have had a stroke
- have had a seizure or any family members have a rare heart condition known as prolongation of the QT interval (long QT syndrome)
- have liver problems
- have kidney problems and require dialysis
- have retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic (runs in families) eye disease
- have ever had severe vision loss, or if you have an eye condition called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION)
- have stomach ulcers
- have a bleeding problem
- have a deformed penis shape or Peyronie’s disease
- have had an erection that lasted more than 4 hours
- have blood cell problems such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia
- have hearing problems
Do not take Levitra:
- if you are using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems (such as nitroglycerin). Taking Levitra with a nitrate medicine can cause a sudden and serious decrease in blood pressure, leading to fainting, stroke, or heart attack
- if you are allergic to vardenafil or any ingredients of this medication
- if you are taking indinavir or ritonavir (for HIV infection)
- if you are taking ketoconazole or itraconazole (for fungal infections)
- Levitra should not be used with alpha-blockers (medicines that may be used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia and/or high blood pressure such as tamsulosin, terazosin, doxazosin, and alfuzosin) because the combination of an alpha-blocker with Levitra may significantly lower the blood pressure and lead to fainting in some men.
- Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Levitra and other medicines may affect each other.
Levitra should not be combined with other erectile dysfunction treatments.
Levitra does not protect a man or his partner from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
FDA pregnancy category B: Although Levitra is not for use in women, this medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Although Levitra is not for use in women, it is not known if vardenafil passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Can I drive while taking Levitra?
Patients should be aware of how they react to the drug before they drive or operate machinery as Levitra may cause dizziness.
How do you take Levitra?
Levitra comes in different doses (2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg). The recommended starting dose of Levitra is 10mg taken 1 hour before sexual activity. If 10mg works for you but you experience side effects, then you might try Levitra 5mg. A higher dose of 20 mg is available for patients whose response to the 10 mg dose is not adequate. Dosage can be increased under the supervision of a doctor. Two lower doses (2.5 mg and 5.0 mg) are also available and may be necessary for patients taking other medicines or having medical conditions that may decrease the body’s ability to metabolize vardenafil (Levitra). You should not take more than 20mg of Levitra once a day as this will not give a greater effect but does increase the risk of side effects including severe back pain. Doses should be taken at least 24 hours apart. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Levitra must be taken immediately upon release from the blister. Levitra can be taken with or without food.
Levitra should be swallowed as a whole tablet with water.
Levitra should be taken 25-60 minutes before sexual activity. This medication has been shown to be effective within 15 minutes of taking the tablet, and lasts up to 10 hours later. Sexual activity can be initiated for up to 4-5 hours after taking your Levitra.
Keep this medication out of reach and sight of children. This medication should be stored at room temperature between 15°C and 30°C away from moisture and heat.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Since Levitra is used as needed, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule.
Overdose symptoms may include:
- back pain
- muscle pain
- vision problems
What should avoid?
- Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Levitra.
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Levitra and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.
- Do not use any other drug to treat impotence, such as alprostadil (Caverject, Muse, Edex) or yohimbine (Yocon, Yodoxin, others), unless your doctor tells you to.
What side effects may be associated with Levitra?
A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. When taken at the recommended dose, the possible side effects of Levitra are usually mild and pass with time.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The most common side effects are a headache and facial flushing. Fewer commons reported side effects are:
- stuffy nose
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abnormal vision (e.g., decreased vision, blurry vision, increased sensitivity to light, changes in the ability to tell the difference between blue and green)
- decrease or loss of hearing
- temporary memory loss
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours (this could permanently damage your penis)
- a partial or complete loss of vision
- chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, or shortness of breath when starting sexual activity (if you have a heart condition)
- signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., rash; itching; shortness of breath; swollen face, lips, or throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.