Levitra(vardenafil) belongs to a group of drugs called the PDE-5 inhibitors. You may be familiar with the other drugs in this class including Cialis and Viagra. Vardenafil works by allowing a chemical called Nitric Oxide to be released in the penis in response to sexual stimulation which results in increased blood flow into the penis and this allows for an erection.
How do I take Levitra?
Levitra is available in 3 doses, 5mg, 10mg, and 20mg. Your physician will determine the most adequate dosage. Levitra can be taken 15minutes prior to the anticipation of sexual activity. It should not be administered with a high fat meal as it will delay the onset of Levitra (i.e. it will take longer to get an erection).
How effective is Levitra?
Levitra is commonly acknowledged as a very effective medicine in the medical community, backed by thorough research. It has shown to be 83% effective in initiating and maintaining an erection compared to placebo being 53% effective (dosage 10mg).
How does Levitra differ from Viagra and Cialis?
All 3 drugs work very similarly, the advantage that Levitra has is in its onset of action. It has been proven to be the quickest acting. Results are commonly seen within 15 minutes of taking Levitra and many times sooner, the effect of Levitra will last about 4 hours.
Who should not take Levitra? Who should take Levitra with caution?
Although Levitra is an effective medication, there exists certain groups of people who should not take Viagra or should be closely monitored if choosing to take Viagra.
1)Any patient on Nitrates. This medication, usually used to treat Angina may cause a deadly drop in blood pressure. Patients should not take Viagra if taking a Nitrate medication.
2)Patients for whom sexual activity poses a cardiovascular risk. The patient should be monitored carefully if he is to take Levitra. These include Patients who suffered a recent heart attack, stroke, or life-threatening arrhythmia. Also patients with cardiac failure should only use Levitra after a consultation with the physician deeming it to be safe to use. Patients with left ventricular outflow obstruction, aortic stenosis, and idiopathic hypertophic subaortic stenosis.
3)Patients with very low or high blood pressure. Patients with a blood pressure of 90/50mmHg or lower, or with a blood pressure of 170/110mmHg or higher.
4)Patients with an anatomical deformation of the penis, or with a disease of the penis called Peyronie’s disease.
5)Patients with cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney failure. Note this does not mean that the patient cannot take Levitra, the patient will most likely be started on a lower dose.
6)Patients with vision problems called Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION) or retinits pigmentosa.
7)Patients with active bleeding disorders or significant active peptic ulcers. Levitra has not been studied in this patient population and may pose a risk.
8)Patients taking drugs called alpha blockers. May lead to a further falling of the blood pressure and may cause orthostatic hypotension (falling of blood pressure upon standing after sitting or lying). The patient must be stabilized on this drug before starting Levitra.
Are there any adverse reactions to taking Levitra?
Generally, Levitra is very well tolerated. The most common side effects the patient may be aware of include headache, mild stomach upset, nausea and dizziness.
There exist a few adverse reactions that the patient should be aware of before taking Levitra. These occur very rarely but if they occur they should be treated as a medical emergency.
1)Priapism. This is an erection that lasts for 4 hours or longer. This should be treated immediately in an emergency setting as it may result in permanent tissue damage of the penis.
2)Hearing loss. Currently it is not known whether or not this is due to Levitra, however any hearing changes should be reported immediately to the patients physician and Levitra should be discontinued immediately.
3)Vision effects. There have been some post-marketing reports of sudden vision loss, it is not known currently whether this is due to Levitra. The patient is strongly advised to report any vision changes immediately to their physician.
What are the potential drug interactions of Levitra?
Patients should be aware of the following drugs that may interact with Levitra.
3)Certain medications used to treat HIV infection. Saquinavir, Ritonavir.
4)Nitrate medications (may lead to deadly falling of blood pressure)
What happens if I overdose of Levitra?
Seek emergency medical attention.