What Is Levitra Used For?
Vardenafil, commonly referred to by its brand name, Levitra, is a prescription drug used primarily to treat male sexual function problems, specifically erectile dysfunction or impotence, by increasing blood flow to the penis. In combination with sexual stimulation, Levitra helps men to achieve, and maintain an erection.
Co-marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, and Schering-Plough, Levitra is a PDE5 inhibitor, sold under the alternate brand names Staxyn in India, and Vivanza, in Italy. In the US and Canada, a reformulation of Levitra is also sold under the brand name STAXYN, or Levitra Soft, an orally disintegrating tablet that disintegrates on the tongue without water. PDE5 inhibitors used to treat erectile dysfunction block the degradation of a specific enzyme, cGMP, on the muscle cells of the corpus cavernosum of the penis, thus increasing blood flow.
Closely related in function to other PDE5 inhibitors Viagra and Cialis, Levitra works by increasing the blood flow to the penis, but differs in its relatively short effective time frame of about 4-5 hours. Beyond its capabilities and uses as an erectile dysfunction treatment, Levitra is also unique in that it may be effective in the treatment of premature ejaculation, increasing the length of time between initial penetration, and ejaculation.
How To Use Levitra Effectively
Levitra should be taken as directed by your doctor, usually as needed. It may be taken with or without food, and is usually taken about one hour prior to sexual activity. Doses should be taken at least 24 hours apart. Like all prescription drugs, consult your physician prior to taking Levitra, and let them know about any other prescriptions you may be taking, and any pre-existing medical history you may have.
If you are using the disintegrating tablet form of Levitra, the recommended single dose is 10-milligrams (mg) no more than once a day, an hour before you expect to have sex.
If you are using the oral tablet, take a 10-mg single dose once a day an hour before sex. Men age 65 years and older can take a 5-mg dose once a day, an hour before sex.
The recommended dose of Levitra will be different for different men, however. Talk to your doctor about the correct dosage for you.
Can You Overdose on Levitra?
No more than one dose of Levitra every 24 hours should be taken. Call your doctor immediately if you think you've overdosed on Levitra.
Levitra Side Effects
Common Side Effects
Eating and/or drinking grapefruit while using Levitra is to be avoided. Grapefruit may increase the likelihood of experiencing side-effects with this medication. Some common side effects may include:
- stuffy/runny nose
- Vision changes (increased sensitivities to light, blurred vision, trouble differentiating between blue and green may occur)
- Severe dizziness, fainting, chest/jaw/left arm pain, nausea (during sex)
Severe Side Effects
Check in with your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects while taking LEVITRA:
- Pain in the arm, back, or jaw
- Hearing loss
- Blindness, blurry vision, or decreased vision
- Pain, discomfort, or tightness in the chest
- Chills, cold sweats
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
- Racing, pounding heartbeat pr pulse
- Nausea, vomiting
- Hives, itching
- Skin rash or puffiness or swelling of eyelids, face, lip, tongue, eyes
- Unusual tiredness or feeling of weakness
Rare Side Effects
Some Levitra side effects are less common, including:
- Ejaculating abnormally
- Pain in the back or other areas
- "Pins and needles" sensation of the skin
- Sour stomach
- Dry, sore throat
- Heartburn, indigestion
Warnings and Precautions
In 2007, the FDA issued safety information about LEVITRA and other ED medicines, warning of possible sudden hearing loss in some men.
The information was issued after a case report in medical literature that described a man having sudden hearing loss after taking Viagra (sildenafil).
While no direct cause and effect was demonstrated, the FDA said that the link found between the ED drug use and hearing loss in the case report and other reports warranted a change in the label to reflect the potential problem.
If your erection is painful or continues beyond four hours as a result of taking LEVITRA, you should contact your doctor right away.
A prolonged erection could cause serious and permanent injury to your penis.
Pregnancy and LEVITRA
LEVITRA is only for use in men. Women should never take it, especially if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Interactions with this medication
Many medicines interact with LEVITRA and should be avoided if possible, including::
- Dronedarone (Multaq)
- Fluconazole (Diflucan)
- Nelfinavir (Viracept)
- Nitroglycerin (Nitro-BID, Nitro-Dur, others)
- Posaconazole (Noxafil)
- Isosorbide Mononitrate (Imdur, Ismo, Monoket)
If any of these medications are required, you and your doctor will need to weigh the potential risks and benefits of taking them while also taking LEVITRA.
Your doctor may change the dosage of one or both medicines, as well as how often you take them.
LEVITRA and Alcohol
When taking LEVITRA, you should not drink alcohol excessively. Too much alcohol can increase the risk of side effects such as headache, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
LEVITRA and Grapefruit
While you are using LEVITRA, do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. Doing so affects the way the drug is metabolized and can increase the risk of side effects.
LEVITRA and Other Interactions
Don"t take LEVITRA if you use street drugs containing nitrates, commonly known as "poppers."
Always tell your doctor about any prescription, non-prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), illegal and recreational drugs you are taking, as well as herbal remedies and nutritional and dietary supplements.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.