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What is Levitra (vardenafil)?
Levitra is a medication prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in male patients 18 years of age and older. Levitra does not cure ED or increase sexual desires.
Levitra belongs to the drug class, Phosphodiesterase-5 Enzyme Inhibitors. These medications work by relaxing the muscles increasing blood flow to the designated area of the body.
What are the Indications for Levitra?
Levitra is primarily prescribed to treat ED but can be prescribed for other purposes. ED is a medical condition where sexually excited male patients are unable to keep or create an erection. Levitra increases blood flow to the penis, helping to develop and keep an erection.
Levitra is not recommended:
- If you are allergic to Levitra (vardenafil) or any ingredients in Levitra
- If you are under 18 years of age
- If you are a women
- If you are taking medications that include nitrates such as nitroglycerin or recreational drugs known as “poppers.”
- If you take riociguat (adempas)
How is Levitra used?
Levitra should be stored at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
Keep out of reach of children.
Take Levitra by mouth 1 hour before sexual activity, as directed by your doctor, with or without food.
The dose prescribed will be determined by your current medical condition and if you are taking any medications. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed depending on how well you tolerate Levitra.
- The standard starting dose is 10 mg once per day (24 hours), as needed.
- If you are 65 years of age or older, you are on alpha-blocker therapy, or you have moderate hepatic impairment, the starting dose is 5 mg once per day (24 hours), as needed.
- If you are taking ritonavir, the starting dose is 2.5 mg once every 3 days (72 hours), as needed.
- If you are taking indinavir, saquinavir, atazanavir, ketoconazole 400 mg daily, itraconazole 400 mg daily, or clarithromycin, the starting dose is 2.5 mg once per day (24 hours), as needed.
Do not change your dosage and take more than what is prescribed without consulting with your doctor. If you took more than prescribed, contact your doctor or seek emergency medical care right away.
It’s important to understand that although Levitra is FDA approved, it comes with side effects that may or may not affect you.
Before starting Levitra, you should discuss possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
Common Side Effects
Not all side effects require medical attention. As your body adjusts to Levitra, side effects may go away.
Tell your doctor if you experience the following symptoms, and they become severe or do not go away on their own:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Upset stomach or indigestion
- Back pain
Serious Side Effects
Severe adverse reactions while taking Levitra can occur. Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe allergic reaction: severe rash or itching, swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat, rapid heartbeat, fainting or dizziness, or problems breathing or swallowing.
- Priapism: a persistent erection lasting more than 4 hours that, if left untreated, could result in tissue damage or the permanent inability for the penis to have erections.
- Vision changes: difficulty deciphering between colors, seeing colors around objects out of the ordinary, or sudden decrease or loss of vision.
- Hearing changes: Sudden decrease of hearing, sudden loss of hearing, ringing in one or both ears.
The information above does not list all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects not listed. You or your doctor may report side effects to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking Levitra, tell your doctor or pharmacist:
- If you are allergic to any medications such as Levitra
- If you have or have had heart problems such as heart failure
- If you or a family member have or have had QT prolongation
- If you have uncontrolled low or high blood pressure
- If you have had a stroke or seizure
- If you have kidney problems
- If you have liver problems
- If you have stomach ulcers or a bleeding problem
- If you have a deformity of the penis such as Peyronie’s disease
- If you have blood cell problems such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia
- If you have or have had eye problems such as severe vision loss, retinitis pigmentosa, or non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy
- If you have hearing problems
Heart Problems and QT Prolongation
If you have, have had, or are at risk for heart diseases and problems, including QT prolongation, sexual activity may exacerbate these conditions. ED treatment is not recommended, including Levitra.
Reports have been made indicating that taking Levitra may increase the risk of a persistent erection lasting more than 4 hours that may become painful. Immediate treatment is needed to reduce tissue damage or the permanent inability of the penis to have erections.
Your risk of priapism may increase if you have the following conditions: deformity of the penis, including Peyronie’s disease, sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia.
Taking Levitra may result in vision changes such as difficulty deciphering between colors, seeing colors around objects out of the ordinary, or sudden decrease or loss of vision. If you develop symptoms, stop using Levitra and contact your doctor right away.
Taking Levitra may result in a sudden decrease of hearing, sudden loss of hearing, ringing in one or both ears. If you develop symptoms, stop using Levitra and contact your doctor right away.
Levitra is not recommended if you have severe hepatic impairment. If you have moderate hepatic impairment, your doctor will adjust your dose as needed.
The effect of Levitra has not been evaluated for patients on renal dialysis. Levitra is not recommended if you are on renal dialysis.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)
Taking Levitra does not protect against STDs. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Interactions & Contraindications
Before taking Levitra, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins.
Taking Levitra in combination with CYP3A inhibitors such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, diltiazem, and itraconazole increases plasma concentrations of Levitra. Your doctor will review and adjust your dose as needed.
Taking Levitra in combination with alpha-blockers such as doxazosin and prazosin may lead to rapid low blood pressure resulting in hypotension. Your doctor will evaluate current therapies to determine dosing before starting you on either Levitra or alpha-blockers.
Taking Levitra with medications that contain nitrates may intensify the blood pressure lowering effects of nitrate. Levitra is not recommended to be taken with nitrate medications.
Guanylate Cyclase (GC) Stimulators
Taking Levitra with GC stimulators such as riociguat may intensify the blood pressure lowering effects of these medications. Levitra is not recommended to be taken with GC stimulators.
Use of Other ED Therapy
Levitra is not recommended to be used with other ED medications.