What is Levitra (vardenafil)?
How Levitra (vardenafil) works
Levitra (vardenafil) is a phosphodiesterase-5 enzyme (PDE-5) inhibitor, meaning it blocks PDE-5. This relaxes certain muscles and blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the penis to help with an erection.
What is Levitra (vardenafil) used for?
- Erectile dysfunction
Typical dosing for Levitra (vardenafil)
Levitra (vardenafil) is typically taken as a 10 mg dose 1 hour before sex. The dose can be adjusted anywhere from 5 mg to 20 mg depending on the effect it has. Levitra (vardenafil) should not be taken more than once a day at any dose.
Vardenafil is used to treat male sexual function problems (impotence or erectile dysfunction-ED). In combination with sexual stimulation, vardenafil works by increasing blood flow to the penis to help a man get and keep an erection.
This drug does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, syphilis). Practice “safe sex” such as using latex condoms. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
How to use Levitra
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking vardenafil and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually as needed. Take vardenafil, with or without food, about 1 hour before sexual activity. Do not take more than once daily. Doses should be taken at least 24 hours apart.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve.
Headache, flushing, stuffy/runny nose, or dizziness may occur. Vision changes such as increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or trouble telling blue and green colors apart may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Sexual activity may put extra strain on your heart, especially if you have heart problems. If you have heart problems and experience any of these serious side effects while having sex, stop and get medical help right away: severe dizziness, fainting, chest/jaw/left arm pain, nausea.
Rarely, sudden decreased vision, including permanent blindness, in one or both eyes (NAION) may occur. If this serious problem occurs, stop taking vardenafil and get medical help right away. You have a slightly greater chance of developing NAION if you have heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, certain other eye problems (“crowded disk”), high blood pressure, if you are over 50, or if you smoke.
Rarely, a sudden decrease or loss of hearing, sometimes with ringing in the ears and dizziness, may occur. Stop taking vardenafil and get medical help right away if these effects occur.
In the rare event you have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Before taking vardenafil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart problems (such as heart attack or life-threatening irregular heartbeat in the past 6 months, chest pain/angina, heart failure), stroke in the past 6 months, kidney disease (dialysis), liver disease, high or low blood pressure, a severe loss of body water (dehydration), penis conditions (such as angulation, fibrosis/scarring, Peyronie’s disease), history of painful/prolonged erection (priapism), conditions that may increase the risk of priapism (such as sickle cell anemia, leukemia, multiple myeloma), eye problems (such as retinitis pigmentosa, sudden decreased vision, NAION), bleeding disorders, active stomach ulcers.
Vardenafil may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using vardenafil, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/”water pills“) or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using vardenafil safely.
This drug may make you dizzy or cause vision changes. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation (see above).
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
A product that may interact with this drug is: riociguat.
Vardenafil can cause a serious drop in your blood pressure when used with nitrates, which can lead to dizziness, fainting, and rarely heart attack or stroke. Do not use vardenafil with any of the following: certain drugs used to treat chest pain/angina (nitrates such as nitroglycerin, isosorbide), recreational drugs called “poppers” containing amyl or butyl nitrite.
If you are also taking an alpha blocker medication (such as doxazosin, tamsulosin) to treat an enlarged prostate/BPH or high blood pressure, your blood pressure may get too low which can lead to dizziness or fainting. Your doctor may start treatment with a lower dose of vardenafil to minimize your risk of low blood pressure.
Other medications can affect the removal of vardenafil from your body, which may affect how vardenafil works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), macrolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin), HIV protease inhibitors (such as indinavir, ritonavir), hepatitis C virus protease inhibitors (such as boceprevir, telaprevir), rifampin, among others.
Do not take this medication with any other product that contains vardenafil or other similar medications used to treat erectile dysfunction-ED or pulmonary hypertension (such as sildenafil, tadalafil).