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Generic Name:

vardenafil, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Levitra
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for vardenafil

Oral tablet
1

Vardenafil is used to treat problems getting or keeping an erection (erectile dysfunction).

2

This drug comes in the forms of an oral tablet you swallow whole and as an orally disintegrating tablet that breaks up in your mouth. You take vardenafil by mouth.

3

Vardenafil is available as the brand-name drugs Levitra (oral tablet) and Staxyn (orally disintegrating tablet). It isn’t available as a generic drug.

4

You shouldn’t use this drug in combination with other medications for erectile dysfunction. Don’t take it within 24 hours of taking medications called nitrates. These include nitroglycerin, isosorbide dinitrate, and isosorbide mononitrate. This can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.

5

Some of the common side effects of this drug include headache, feelings of warmth and reddening of your face (flushing), stuffy nose, upset stomach, sinus infection, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, nausea, and back pain. This drug can also cause serious side effects, such erections that last longer than 4 hours and heart, vision, and hearing problems.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Heart problems

This drug may affect your heart and lower your blood pressure. It isn’t known how this drug will affect you if you have a history of heart problems. These include high or low blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or irregular heart rate or rhythm. You shouldn’t take this drug if your doctor wants you to avoid sexual activity due to heart problems.

Erections that last a long time

This drug may cause erections that last longer than 4 hours. Long erections can damage your penis tissue and make you unable to have future erections. Call you doctor if your erection lasts longer than 4 hours.

Vision problems

This drug may cause vision loss. If you have problems with you vision, call your doctor right away.

Hearing problems

This drug may cause a decline in or loss of your hearing. Signs of hearing problems include dizziness and buzzing in your ears. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

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SECTION 2 of 4

vardenafil Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of vardenafil include:

  • headache

  • feelings of warmth and reddening of your face (flushing)

  • stuffy nose

  • upset stomach

  • sinus infection

  • flu-symptoms, such as fever and body aches

  • dizziness

  • nausea

  • back pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • erection that lasts longer than 4 hours

  • vision problems. Symptoms include:

    • seeing a blueish tint to objects
    • being unable to tell the difference between blue and green colors
    • decline in vision
    • loss of vision
  • hearing problems. Symptoms include:

    • decrease in hearing
    • loss of hearing
  • heart problems. Symptoms include:

    • low blood pressure, which may make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

vardenafil May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Vardenafil can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Food interactions

Drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit may cause the levels of vardenafil to increase in your blood. This means that you may have more side effects. Talk to your doctor if you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Heart drugs

Taking vardenafil with heart medications called nitrates can drastically lower your blood pressure and increase your heart rate. You shouldn’t take vardenafil within 24 hours of taking nitrates.

These drugs include:

  • nitroglycerin
  • isosorbide dinitrate
  • isosorbide mononitrate

Blood pressure drugs

Taking vardenafil with certain blood pressure medications can lower your blood pressure and cause fainting.

These drugs include:

  • alpha blockers, such as:
    • alfuzosin
    • terazosin
    • doxazosin
    • prazosin
    • silodosin
    • tamsulosin
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • benazepril
    • captopril
    • clizapril
    • enalapril
    • enalaprilat
    • fosniopril
    • imidapril
    • moexipril
    • perindopril
    • quinapril
    • ramipril
    • trandolapril
  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as:
    • irbesartan
    • losartan
    • olmesartan
    • telmisatan
    • valsartan
  • beta blockers, such as:
    • acebutolol
    • arotinolol
    • atenolol
    • betaxolol
    • bisoprolol
    • esmolol
    • metoprolol
    • nadolol
    • nebivolol
    • penbutolol
    • pindolol
    • propranolol
    • timolol (Systemic)
  • calcium channel blockers, such as:
    • amlodipine
    • felodipine
    • nicardipine
    • nifedipine
  • direct renin inhibitors, such as:
    • aliskiren
  • loop diuretics, such as:
    • bumetanide
    • furosemide
    • indapamide
    • torsemide
  • potassium-sparing diuretics, such as:
    • eplerenone
    • spironolactone
    • triamterene
  • thiazide diuretics, such as:
    • chlorthiazide
    • chlorthalidone
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • methylclothiazide
    • metolazone

Antibiotics (macrolides)

Certain antibiotics can cause vardenafil to build up in your body to an amount that’s too high. This can cause toxicity and more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • clarithyromycin
  • telithromycin

Antifungals (strong 3A4 inhibitors)

Certain antifungal drugs can cause vardenafil to build up in your body to an amount that’s too high. This can cause toxicity and more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs

Certain drugs used to treat HIV can cause vardenafil to build up in your body to an amount that’s too high. This can cause toxicity and more side effects.

These drugs include:

  • nefazadone
  • ritonavir
  • saquinavir
  • nelfinavor
  • indinavir
  • atazanavir

Abnormal heart rate and rhythm drugs

Vardenafil itself can prolong your QT interval. This means that your heart may take longer to recharge between beats. Taking vardenafil with medications for abnormal heart rate and rhythm could also prolong your QT interval. You shouldn’t use vardenafil if you have problems with QT prolongation.

These drugs include:

  • quinidine
  • procainamide
  • amiodarone
  • sotalol

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
liver problems
People with liver problems

This drug is broken down by your liver. If you have liver problems, you may not be able to break down this drug well. This may make it build up in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may decrease your dose. If you have severe liver problems, you shouldn’t take this drug.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

This drug is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, you may not be able to clear this drug well. This may make it build up in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may decrease your dose. If you’re on dialysis, you shouldn’t take this drug.

heart problems
People with heart problems

This drug may affect your heart and may lower your blood pressure. It isn’t known how this drug will affect you if you have a history of heart problems, such as high or low blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or irregular heart rate or rhythm. You shouldn’t take this drug if your doctor wants you to avoid sexual activity due to heart problems. Talk to your doctor before taking this drug if you have QT interval prolongation.

vision problems
People with vision problems

This drug may cause loss of vision. If you have any problems with you vision, call your doctor right away.

seniors
For seniors

If you’re a senior, this medication may be more likely to build up in your body and cause side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lower dose. 

children
For children

This drug shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

when to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor or go to a hospital’s emergency room if you think that you’ve taken too much of this drug.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • swelling of your body and face
  • chest pain
  • itching
  • eyelid swelling
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble breathing

Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take vardenafil (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Erectile dysfunction

Brand: Levitra

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg

Brand: Staxyn

Form: Orally disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 10 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Levitra: Take Levitra only when you need it. Take it one hour before sexual activity. The standard starting dose is 10 mg taken once per day. Your doctor may increase your dose to 20 mg taken once per day or decrease it to 5 mg taken once per day. Your dose depends on your side effects and how well the dose works.

Staxyn: Take 10 mg when you need this medication. Take it one hour before sexual activity. Place the medication on your tongue and let it dissolve. Don’t drink any fluids with it.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Vardenafil shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Typically, the starting dose is 5 mg taken once per day.

Special considerations

People who take ritonavir: Don’t take more than 2.5 mg of vardenafil in 72-hour timeframe.

People who take indinavir, saquinavir, atazanavir, 400 mg ketoconazole per day, 400 mg itraconazole per day, or clarithromycin: Don’t take more than 2.5 mg in a 24-hour timeframe.

People who take 200 mg ketoconazole per day, 200 mg itraconazole per day, or erythromycin: Don’t take more than 5 mg in a 24-hour timeframe.

People who take alpha blocker medications: The starting dose is 5 mg per day.

People with liver problems: Your doctor might start you with a dose of 5 mg per day depending on the severity of your liver problems. Your maximum dose might be 10 mg per day.

Warnings

Don’t take more than one dose per day. The dose should be taken about one hour before sexual activity.

Don’t substitute 10 mg of Staxyn for 10 mg of Levitra. These doses aren’t the same. Staxyn releases more drug into your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you don’t take it at all

If you don’t take this drug at all, you may still have erectile dysfunction. 

If you don’t take it at its scheduled time

Your medication may not work as well.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Taking too much may cause the following symptoms:

  • back and muscle pains
  • problems with vision

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room. There is no antidote for an overdose, but your doctor may give you other medications to help treat the effects of the overdose.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of erectile dysfunction should get better.

This drug is used for short-term treatment.

The oral tablet can be taken with or without food

The oral disintegrating tablet shouldn’t be taken with any liquids.

Store vardenafil at room temperature

  • Keep it from 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
  • Keep the orally disintegrating tablets in the sealed blister pack (package they come in) until you’re ready to use them.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Take vardenafil one hour before sexual activity. Sexual stimulation is needed for the medication to work. Talk to your doctor if you think your dose needs to be changed.

To take the oral disintegrating tablet (Staxyn), place it on your tongue. It should dissolve quickly.

Clinical monitoring

During treatment with this drug, your doctor may monitor you for side effects. These include:

  • eye problems
  • hearing problems
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate

Insurance

This medication might require prior authorization depending on your insurance plan.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.


Show Sources

  • Levitra. (2014, April). Retrieved September 11, 2015, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/021400s017lbl.pdf
  • Staxyn. (2014, April). Retrieved September 11, 2015, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/200179s002lbl.pdf
  • Vardenafil hydrochloride. (n.d.). Drugs@FDA website. Retrieved September 11, 2015, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/ob/docs/tempai.cfm 

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 6, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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