Levitra (vardenafil) is a brand name medication used to treat symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED), a condition which affects millions of people worldwide.
ED prevents people from getting or keeping an erection long enough for sexual activity.
Medications like Levitra known as PDE-5 inhibitors help relax smooth muscles in your penis to allow blood to flow in for an erection.
Levitra is not a cure for ED and you still need to be aroused for the medication to work.
Levitra and its generic version (vardenafil) are available in doses of:
- 2.5 milligrams
- 5 milligrams
- 10 milligrams
- 20 milligrams
The best dose depends on your:
Levitra is available as an oral tablet in several strengths. Your doctor will decide the best dose for you based on your needs and how you respond to the medication.
The typical starting dose for most people is 10 milligrams once per day taken 60 minutes before sexual activity. Your doctor can increase the dose to 20 milligrams maximum or decrease the dose to 5 milligrams if needed.
Your doctor may start you on the lower 5 milligrams to see how you respond to Levitra if you are 65 or older or have certain health conditions.
Having multiple dosage strengths allows your doctor to adjust your dose up or down for the best response that’s safe and effective for you.
Keep in mind, you may need to take the prescribed dose for a few weeks before your doctor makes changes to the dose or the drug.
The same dose of a medication can work differently for each person based on:
- certain health conditions, like liver disease
- certain medications that interact with Levitra
The best dose of Levitra for you is one that provides benefits with minimal risk. Increasing your dose of Levitra may not be more effective for ED and may increase side effects.
Levitra starts to work soon after taking a dose. For most people, this is anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour after you take Levitra. For some people, it can start working even faster.
The effects of the drug can last 4 to 5 hours.
If an erection lasts longer than 4 hours, which is called priapism, seek medical help right away. This is a dangerous condition that can permanently damage penile tissue.
You can take Levitra with or without food, but you should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Levitra. It can interfere with the metabolism or breaking down of the medication.
Heavy or high fat meals may slow how long it takes Levitra to start working. It may work a bit faster on an empty stomach or with a light meal.
Avoid drinking excessive alcohol with Levitra because it can lower your chances of getting an erection. Too much alcohol can also increase side effects, like low blood pressure and dizziness, when taken with Levitra.
Some common side effects of Levitra may include:
- runny nose
- stomach upset
Please remember that this is a partial list of side effects. Always talk with your doctor before taking any medication.
Always take Levitra exactly as your doctor prescribes. Do not double your dose or take Levitra more than once per day.
Don’t take Levitra with other PDE-5 inhibitors. Examples of PDE-5 inhibitors include:
Taking too much Levitra can increase side effects of the medication including:
- vision related concerns
- hearing concerns
- back pain
Do not take Levitra if you have certain conditions without consulting your doctor. This includes:
- high or low blood pressure
- history of stroke or heart disease
- blood disorders, like leukemia and sickle cell anemia
- eye conditions
If you take certain medications, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Levitra. Certain drug interactions could increase the effects of Levitra.
Some medications that interact with Levitra include:
- herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort
- ketoconazole (antifungal)
- clarithromycin (antibacterial)
- protease inhibitors for HIV treatment
Before starting Levitra, you should talk with your doctor and pharmacist about any medications you take. You should also mention any supplements, teas, or herbs you take.
Stop taking Levitra and call your doctor if you experience sudden:
- hearing loss
- vision loss
- other serious side effects
Contact 911 if you have an allergic reaction to Levitra.
Some symptoms may include:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of face, hands, throat
- irregular heart rate
Levitra conveniently treats ED symptoms because it is available in multiple doses. That allows your doctor to find the best dose for you.
An old 2004 study showed that you may have to take Levitra for a few weeks to understand the best timing, and see if it’s working for you at the prescribed dose.
Once you’ve tried the dose prescribed by your doctor, you can provide feedback about how the medication worked for you. Your doctor can then discuss changing the dose or trying other options for ED.
As mentioned earlier, there are several other PDE-5 inhibitor medications to choose from to treat ED symptoms like:
- other generic options
There are other treatment choices you can discuss with your doctor as well, like:
- diet and other lifestyle changes
- surgical options
- vacuum pumps
- penile suppositories
- talk therapy for emotional causes of ED, like anxiety or relationship concerns
Share your medical history and concerns about ED with your doctor. Don’t change your dose of Levitra or take it more than once a day. Your doctor will decide the best dose and any changes needed based on your:
- medical history
- any other medications you may be taking