Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man has difficulty getting an erection. ED also occurs if a man has difficulty maintaining an erection long enough for sexual activity. Sexual problems, including erectile issues, become more common as men age.
When they occur, men may seek out treatments that can help ease their problems. The category of options has greatly expanded in recent decades, so men have more options than ever. Some of these medications, including Levitra, can have unintended effects. It’s important to know what to avoid so you can stay healthy while using these medicines.
It does not cure ED and it cannot help increase sexual libido or desire. For many men, Levitra can help ease ED problems.
As with many medications, Levitra does not mix well with certain chemicals, medicines, and substances. It’s important that you discuss all of the medications you’re taking with your doctor before you begin using Levitra.
Possible interactions with Levitra include:
- Nitrates. The street drug known as “poppers” contains nitrates, which can be dangerous when combined with Levitra.
- Medications. Other prescription and over-the-counter medications can interfere with Levitra. Some combinations may even amplify the effects of the medicines in a negative way. A few of the medications that interfere with Levitra are shown in the following table:
|Type of drug||Medication||Why it’s used|
|Alpha-blocker||prazosin (Minipress), doxazosin (Cardura), terazosin (Hytrin), tamsulosin (Flomax)||To lower blood pressure|
|H2 receptor blocker||cimetidine (Tagamet)||To treat heartburn and ulcers|
|Nitrate||glyceryl trinitrate||To treat chest pain|
|Protease inhibitor||ritonavir and indinavir||To treat HIV|
- Herbal products. All-natural treatments may sound great, but some can be toxic when mixed. If you’re taking any supplements or herbs, especially St. John’s wort, tell your doctor.
- Food interactions. Don’t drink grapefruit juice if you take Levitra. It can increase the risk of toxicity. Taking Levitra with a high-fat meal can decrease absorption.
- Tobacco. Tell your doctor if you smoke. Damage from tobacco use may make the successful use of Levitra more difficult.
- Certain food intolerances. If you’ve been diagnosed with an intolerance to artificial sugars, your doctor needs to be aware. That’s because aspartame is used in the dispersible tablet forms of vardenafil. If you have phenylketonuria, avoid using this product.
Men who took the earliest ED medications were often told to avoid consuming alcohol while using the medicine. Medications like sildenafil (Viagra) can be taken with alcohol, but the limits were just one or two glasses daily.
Newer ED medications have taken lifestyle into consideration and tried to provide a medicine that can be mixed with more moderate amounts of alcohol without negative consequences. Levitra is one of these medications.
In one study, men who consumed ethanol while taking Levitra experienced no adverse effects from the combination. Subsequent findings support earlier studies. Though a man should take precautions to not consume too much alcohol for several reasons, his use of Levitra is not one of them.
Chronic alcohol use or abuse may prevent proper erectile function, no matter the ED medication you’re taking. Heavy alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of ED, so taking an ED medication while drinking heavily may be counterproductive at best and dangerous at worst.
Also, alcohol can increase the blood levels and side effects of Levitra in some people. Side effects, though rare, are possible, and some can be very sudden and dangerous.
In the United States, it’s recommended that men have no more than two drinks a day (or 28 grams of pure alcohol). You should not exceed 14 drinks per week.
If you’re over 40, your body is less tolerant of drinking. As you age, alcohol poses more risks and complications to your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, men over 65 should limit themselves to one drink per day.
Most doctors recommend a 10-mg dose, taken orally, for men starting Levitra. It should be taken no more than once a day, roughly 60 minutes before sexual activity. The dosage can be increased to 20 mg or decreased to 5 mg, depending on efficiency or side effects.
Side effects of Levitra
The most common side effects of Levitra are:
- flushing of the skin
- stuffy nose
You should tell your doctor if you experience severe forms of the common side effects.
Less common side effects include:
- pain in the arms, back, or jaw
- vision trouble
- chills and sweats
You should tell your doctor if you experience any of the less common side effects.
You should be careful while taking Levitra if you have certain serious medical conditions. Discuss a plan and whether Levitra is safe for you if you have:
- heart disease
- heart attack or stroke
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- high or low blood pressure
- bleeding disorders
- eye problems
The first few times you take Levitra, try it without alcohol. This will help you determine if the medicine is effective on its own. Later, you can try consuming it with alcohol. If you notice that the medicine doesn’t seem to be as effective, the combination may be a problem for you. If you don’t notice any differences, you may be able to tolerate using both.
If you begin experiencing unusual symptoms or side effects after taking Levitra with alcohol, contact your doctor. They can provide instructions on how to navigate any possible side effects. They can also tell you if or when you should seek emergency medical treatment.