by on July 2, 2012
Brand Names:Levitra, Staxyn
Generic name:vardenafil
Pregnancy Category:C
Half-life:4 - 5 hours

What is Levitra?

Levitra (Vardenafil) is a prescription only medication used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) in men. This enables them to achieve and maintain erections and experience orgasms more easily during sexual intercourse.  It belongs to a group of medications known as phosphodiesterase inhibitors, other members being sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). These medications work by increasing blood flow to the penis when sexually stimulated, causing an erection.

Approved by the FDA in August 2003, vardenafil is currently co-marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline under the trade name Levitra. A generic form of vardenafil is not yet available. Levitra is supplied in tablet form containing 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 mg. Vardenafil is also available as an orally disintegrating tablet under a different brand name – Staxyn ODT.   Levitra is best taken in as small doses as possible because this will result in the patient experiencing far fewer side effects. It is important to ensure that the patient does not exceed the dosage which has been recommended by their doctor because the patient’s age, medical condition and any other medications or supplements which they may be using are all taken into consideration when the dosage is prescribed to them.

Levitra Uses

Levitra is approved only for treatment of erectile dysfunction or impotence in men and should be taken by the patient approximately one hour before the commencement of intercourse. Depending on how the initial dose affects the patient, their doctor may increase or decrease it if the patient experiences any side effects or if it has no effect on them at all.

levitraWhile Levitra can be taken with or without food, it is best to avoid meals with a high fat content, as they may interfere with the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream. Although Levitra can be taken at any time of the day, it is important to remember that it may only be taken once a day. The patient should always stick to the dosage which has been recommended by their doctor.

It may also be prescribed “off-label” for other medical conditions such as premature ejaculation, pulmonary arterial hypertension and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe this medication for other purposes not discussed in this medication guide.

How Levitra Works

Erectile dysfunction or sexual impotence is a condition where the penis is not capable of becoming hard or maintaining an erection. During sexual stimulation, blood vessels that supply blood to the penis expand to allow increased blood flow into it. A compound known as cylic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) regulates the blood flow to the penis when sexually stimulated.

Levitra helps the user achieve an erection by preventing the action of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5). This enzyme breaks down the compound cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). By inhibiting the enzyme PDE5, Levitra helps achieve and maintain an erection during sexual stimulation. However, Levitra will not cause an erection without physical stimulation such as during sexual activity.

How to Take Levitra

Levitra is supplied as regular tablet and orally disintegrating tablet to take by mouth. It is taken on as needed basis, without regard to meals, at least 30 to 60 minutes before anticipated sexual activity. Usually, Levitra should be taken only once in any 24-hour period. People who have underlying medical conditions may need to take lower doses of Levitra. Take this medication exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider. Read your prescription label carefully. If you have questions or do not understand the prescription, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

If taking oral disintegrating tablet, check the blisterpack before taking the first dose. If any of the blisters are tampered, broken or torn, do not use any of the medication. Follow the instructions in the package label when removing out the tablet. Never try to push the tablet out of the foil. After removing the tablet from the blister package, take it immediately in your tongue and allow it to dissolve before swallowing it.

Usually, your healthcare provider will start you with the lowest effective dose of Levitra. Depending on your response to treatment, your healthcare provider will adjust your dose. Oral disintegrating tablets are supplied in one strength. If you require a higher or lower dose, your healthcare provider may switch you to regular tablets. Inform your healthcare provider if this medication does not work well for you or experience any side effects.

Do not substitute oral disintegrating tablets with regular tablets, and vice versa. Be sure that you are taking the right dose of Levitra prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Important Things To Remember When Using Levitra

  • Do not take Levitra if you have known allergy to vardenafil. Tell your healthcare provider if you have other known allergies.
  • Do not use Levitra if you use nitrate-containing medications for heart problems or chest pain. Combining Levitra with nitrates can lead to sudden, life-threatening drop in blood pressure.
  • If you experience dizziness, nausea, or pain, tingling, or numbness of chest, neck, arms, or jaw, stop taking the medication and contact your healthcare provider immediately. You may be experiencing adverse drug reactions.
  • If you experience painful erection that lasts more than 4 hours, seek emergency medical help right away. This condition is known as priapism and can damage the penis.
  • In case of sudden loss of vision, stop using this medication and seek emergency medical help right away.
  • Levitra can cause dizziness and vision problems, avoid driving, operating heavy equipment, or engaging in activities that require concentration and clear vision, especially if you do not know yet the effects of Levitra on you. Limit your alcohol intake.
  • To avoid lightheadedness and dizziness, slowly arise from a sitting to an upright position.
  • Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication. Caution is advised if using this medication in older adults.