What is Levitra (Vardenafil)?
Vardenafil works to relax the muscles and helps to increase blood flow toward specific body areas.
Vardenafil is taken to treat impotence, known as erectile dysfunction.
Vardenafil may sometimes be used in other instances not mentioned in this guide.
What Should I Know about Vardenafil?
You should not take vardenafil if you are using any nitrate drug that treats heart problems or chest pain. This includes nitroglycerin. If you take vardenafil along with a nitrate medication, it can cause a serious, sudden drop in your blood pressure.
When you are engaged in sexual activity and become nauseated or dizzy, or have numbness, tingling or pain in your jaw, neck, arms or chest, stop immediately and contact your physician. This could indicate a serious vardenafil side effect.
Seek emergency attention or contact your physician if you have a painful erection, or if it lasts more than four hours. Prolonged erections, known as priapism, may cause penis damage.
Get emergency help and discontinue use of vardenafil if you experience a sudden loss of vision.
Side Effects of Vardenafil
Seek emergency help if you experience any of these allergic reaction signs: Swelling of the throat, tongue, lips or face, difficulty breathing or hives.
Stop using vardenafil immediately and contact your physician if you experience any of the following side effects. They are serious:
- Sudden loss of hearing or ringing in the ears
- Sudden loss of vision
- Irregular heartbeat
- General ill feeling, sweating, nausea, heavy feeling, pain in the chest or pain that spreads to your shoulder or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in your feet, hands or ankles
- Fainting or a feeling of light-headed-ness
- Vision changes
- Seizure or convulsions
- Erection that lasts four hours or more or is painful
Some of the less serious vardenafil side effects sometimes include:
- Back pain
- Upset stomach
- Dizziness, headache
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Redness or warmth in chest, neck or face
This list is not complete, and you may experience other side effects. Call your physician for advice about the potential side effects. Side effects can be reported to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
What Should I Know Before I Take Vardenafil?
Do not use this medication if you already use a nitrate medicine for heart problems like chest pain. This includes:
- Nitroglycerin, (as Nitrolingual, Nitro-Bid, Nitro-Dur, Nitrolingual and others)
- Isosorbide mononitrate (brand names Monoket, ISMO, Imdur)
- Isosorbate dinitrate (brand names Sorbitrate, Isordil and Dilantrate-SR)
- Nitrates can also be found in some drugs used recreationally, like amyl nitrate, also known as nitrite “poppers”.
Do not take vardenafil when also taking a nitrite, since this can lead to a serious, sudden decrease in your blood pressure.
To ensure that vardenafil is safe for you, advise your physician if you experience any of these conditions:
- Recent history of congestive heart failure, stroke or heart attack in the last six months
- Heart rhythm problems or heart disease
- Low or high blood pressure
- Family or personal history of “Long QT syndrome”
- Liver disease or kidney disease
- Currently on dialysis
- Bleeding disorders like hemophilia
- Blood cell disorders like leukemia, multiple myeloma or sickle cell anemia
- Vision loss history or current vision or hearing problems
- Stomach ulcer
- Physical deformity of penis (like Peyronie’s disease)
- Eye disorders like retinitis pigmentosa (an inherited eye condition)
- If you are advised by another physician that sexual intercourse is not safe for you, for reasons related to your health
Vardenafil may decrease the flow of blood to your eyes, which causes sudden loss of vision. This has already occurred in a relatively small number of patients who take vardenafil. Most of these people also have heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or eye conditions that were pre-existing.
This may also occur in people who are over the age of 50, or who smoke. It was not completely clear whether vardenafil was the actual physical cause of the vision loss. Discontinue vardenafil use and get emergency attention if you lose vision suddenly.
Vardenafil is in the FDA pregnancy category B. It is not designed for use by women, and is not expected to cause harm to unborn babies. Even though vardenafil is not to be used by women, it is unknown whether it will pass into breast milk or harm nursing babies.
Phenylalanine may be contained in Staxyn. Speak to your physician if you have PKU – pheylketonuria – before you use this type of vardenafil.
Vardenafil should not be taken with medicines for similar reactions. This includes tadalafil (brand name Cialis) and sildenafil (brand name Viagra).
Before you take vardenafil, inform your physician of any other medicines you are using for ED – erectile dysfunction – or if you use any of these medications:
- Imatinib (brand name Gleevec)
- Conivaptan (brand name Vaprisol)
- Isoniazid (used in treating TB)
- Antidepressants like nefazodone
- Antibiotics like telithromycin (brand name Ketek), erythromycin (brand names Pediazole and Erythrocin,
- Antibiotics like erythromycin (brand names Pediazole, Erythrocin, Ery-Tan, Ery-Ped and E.E.S.), dalfopristin/quinupristin (brand name Synercid) or clarithromycin (brand name Biaxin)
- Antifungal medications like voriconazole (brand name Vfend), miconazole (brand name Oravig), ketoconazole (brand name Nizoral) or itraconazole (brand name Sporanox)
- Drugs that treat prostate disorder or high blood pressure, including tamsulosin (brand name Flomax), terazosin (brand name Hytrin), prazosin (brand name Minipress), doxazosin (brand name Cardura) and alfuzosin (brand name Uroxatral)
- Blood pressure and heart medications like verapamil (brand names Verelan , Isoptin, Covera and Calan), nicardipine (brand name Cardene) and diltiazem (brand names Tiazac, Dilacor or Cardizem)
- Medicines for heart rhythm, including sotalol (brand name Betapace), procainamide (brand names Procan and Pronestyl), quinidine (brand name Quin-G) or amiodarone (brand names Pacerone and Cordarone).
- AIDS and HIV medications like ritonavir (brand names Norvir and Kaletra), saquinavir (brand name Invirase), nelfinavir (brand name Viracept), indinavir (brand name Crixivan), fosamprenavir (brand name Lexiva), delavirdine (name brand Rescriptor) and atazanavir (brand name Reyataz)
This is not a complete list and there may be other drugs that interact with vardenafil. Speak with your physician about any medicines you take. This includes prescriptions, over the counter medications, herbals and vitamins. Don’t begin taking new medications without letting your doctor know.
Is There Anything I Should Avoid while Taking Vardenafil?
If you drink alcohol, this may increase some vardenafil side effects.
Grapefruit and the juice of grapefruits can interact with the prescription vardenafil and can cause potentially serious effects. Speak with your physician before you consume grapefruit products.
Do not use vardenafil with other drugs also used for treating impotence, unless your physician prescribes them. This includes yohimbine (brand names Yocon and Yodoxin), or alprostadil (brand names Caverject, Edex and Muse)
Dosage of Vardenafil
Take vardenafil exactly as your physician prescribes it. Do not take more or less, or take for a longer time than is recommended. Follow the label directions carefully.
Vardenafil may be taken with food or without it.
Vardenafil is generally taken as needed, about an hour before any sexual activity. This medication will help you in achieving an erection when you are sexually stimulated. Taking a pill does not create an erection on its own. Follow all instructions from your physician.
To take Staxyn, an oral disintegrating tablet:
- Leave all tablets in their blister packs until you are prepared to take them. When that time comes, open package and peel the foil back from the blister pack. Be careful not to push tablets through the foil, since this may damage them.
- Be sure that your hands are dry, and remove the tablet. Place one in your mouth. These tablets do begin dissolving immediately.
- Be sure not to swallow any tablet whole. Let it dissolve, and do not chew it. Swallow a few times as the tablet is dissolving. Do not take with liquid.
Vardenafil should not be taken more than once per day. 24 hours should pass between one dose and the next.
Contact your physician or seek medical attention immediately if you have a painful erection, or if it lasts more than four hours. Prolonged erections, known as priaprism, may damage your penis.
Store vardenafil at room temperature and away from excess heat and high moisture.
What if I Overdose on Vardenafil?
Seek medical attention immediately or call your Poison Help Line. 1-800-222-1222.
Some overdose symptoms include vision problems, muscle pain and back pain.
What if I Miss a Vardenafil Dose?
Vardenafil is only used when needed, so you will not normally be on any specific dosing schedule.