What is vardenafil, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Vardenafil is an oral drug that is used to treat impotence, the inability to attain or maintain a penile erection. It has a mechanism of action that is similar to sildenafil (Viagra), and tadalafil (Cialis). Penile erection is caused by the engorgement of the penis with blood. This engorgement occurs when the blood vessels delivering blood to the penis increase in size and increase the delivery of blood to the penis. At the same time, the blood vessels carrying blood away from the penis decrease in size and decrease the removal of blood from the penis. Sexual stimulation that leads to the engorgement and erection causes the production and release of nitric oxide in the penis. Nitric oxide then activates the enzyme, guanylate cyclase to produce cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). The cGMP is primarily responsible for increasing and decreasing the size of the blood vessels carrying blood to and from the penis, respectively. Vardenafil prevents an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) from destroying cGMP so that cGMP persists longer. The longer cGMP persists, the more prolonged the engorgement of the penis. Vardenafil was approved by the FDA in August 2003.
What brand names are available for vardenafil?
Levitra, Staxyn ODT
Is vardenafil available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for vardenafil?
What are the side effects of vardenafil?
The most common side effects of vardenafil are facial flushing (reddening), headaches, stomach upset, diarrhea, flu like symptoms, and nausea. Vardenafil also may cause chest pain, low blood pressure, blurred vision and changes in color vision, abnormal ejaculation and priapism (painful erection lasting more than 6 hours). Patients should seek immediate medical help if they experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours. Rare cases of sudden loss of hearing have been reported with phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as vardenafil, sometimes associated with ringing in the ears and dizziness. If changes in hearing occur, patients should discontinue their vardenafil and seek immediate medical attention.
What is the dosage for vardenafil?
For most individuals, the recommended dose of vardenafil regular tablets is 10 mg per day taken 60 minutes before intercourse. If there is no response or side effects, the dose may be increased to 20 mg or, if there are side effects, it may be reduced to 5 mg.
Individuals 65 years of age or older should begin therapy with 5 mg.
Individuals who are taking medications that increase the blood levels of vardenafil should start treatment with 2.5 to 5 mg of vardenafil. (See drug interactions.)
Orally disintegrating tablets (ODT) are not interchangeable with regular vardenafil tablets because they are better absorbed and produce higher blood levels than regular tablets. The recommended dosing when using ODT is one tablet 60 minutes before intercourse. Only one tablet should be used per day. It should be placed on the tongue until it disintegrates and should not be swallowed with water.
Latest Sexual Health News
Daily Health News
Which drugs or supplements interact with vardenafil?
The breakdown and elimination of vardenafil from the body is inhibited by erythromycin, clarithromycin (Biaxin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), atazanavir (Reyataz), grapefruit juice. Therefore, these drugs increase the concentration of vardenafil in the blood and should not be combined with vardenafil. Vardenafil reduces the concentration of ritonavir and indinavir and may reduce the effect these drugs. Vardenafil increases heart rate and also exaggerates blood pressure lowering effects of nitrates (for example, nitroglycerine). In patients with chest pain (angina), particularly those who take nitrates,, vardenafil can cause chest pain by increasing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Therefore, patients with angina should not use vardenafil. Vardenafil also exaggerates the blood pressure lowering effects of alpha-blocking drugs, for example, terazosin (Hytrin), and should not be used by individuals who also use alpha-blockers. Vardenafil also adds to the blood pressure reducing effect of other medications.
Is vardenafil safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Vardenafil is not approved for use in women.
Vardenafil has not been evaluated in women who are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about vardenafil?
What preparations of vardenafil are available?
Tablets: 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 mg. Tablet (orally disintegrating): 10 mg.
How should I keep vardenafil stored?
Vardenafil should be stored at room temperature between 15-30 C (59-86 F).
Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn ODT) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of impotence (erectile dysfunction). Side effects, drug interactions, pregnancy information, dosing, and patient information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes and Treatment
Having erection problems? What is erectile dysfunction (ED)? Learn about erectile dysfunction causes and treatments such as drugs...
Healthy Aging: Better Sex After 50
It's never too late to improve your sex life. Learn how older adults can overcome common health conditions affecting seniors over...
Sex Quiz: Love & Relationships Facts
Relationships, sex, and love! Could it be that what motivates physical attraction in us may be all in our minds? Take the Sex &...
Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence) Quiz: Causes & Treatment
Did you know that certain medical condition may be responsible for ED? Some causes of impotence are medically treatable and...
Picture of Penis
The penis is the male sex organ, reaching its full size during puberty. See a picture of the Penis and learn more about the...
Related Disease Conditions
Sexual Problems in Men
Male sexual dysfunction can be caused by physical or psychological problems. Common sexual problems in men include erectile dysfunction (impotence or ED), premature ejaculation, and loss of libido. Treatment for sexual dysfunction in men may involve medication, hormone therapy, psychological therapy, and the use of mechanical aids.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED, Impotence)
Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) is the failure to achieve or maintain an erection. There are many potential underlying causes of erectile dysfunction, including stress and emotional problems, brain dysfunction, problems with blood supply to the penis, and structural problems with the penis.
Peyronie's Disease (Curvature of the Penis)
Peyronie's disease or curvature of the penis (Peyronie disease) is a condition in which scar tissue develops inside the penis. This scar tissue causes the penis to develop an abnormal curvature in the scarred area. At this time, there is no known cause of Peyronie's disease. Symptoms of Peyronie's disease include pain during intercourse or ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), the inability to have sexual intercourse, anxiety, stress, an indentation of the shaft at the site where there is plaque or scarring, and an angulation of the penis when erect or flaccid. There is no cure for Peyronie's disease, however, there are medications that can reduce symptoms of the disease. Surgery or penile implants may be an option for severe cases.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatments
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between age 20 and 40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy a condition in which nerve damage has occurred as a complication of diabetes. The pain from the nerve damage can be severe with tingling or numbness in the part of the body affected. Diabetic neuropathy can occur anywhere in the body. Diabetic neuropathy can cause symptoms like intense pain, numbness, burning, or tingling in the part of the body affected by the condition. There are four types of neuropathy include peripheral, autonomic, proximal and focal. Natural therapies and medications may help relieve the pain and other symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Heart Attack Treatment
A heart attack involves damage or death of part of the heart muscle due to a blood clot. The aim of heart attack treatment is to prevent or stop this damage to the heart muscle. Heart attack treatments included medications, procedures, and surgeries to protect the heart muscle against injury.
Men's health is an important component to a happy lifestyle and healthy relationships. Eating healthy, exercise, managing stress, and knowing when to have medical tests for a particular age is key to disease prevention in men.
Sex, Urinary, and Bladder Problems of Diabetes
Having diabetes can mean early onset and increased severity of bladder symptoms (urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections) and changes in sexual function. Men may have erectile dysfunction; and women may have problems with sexual response and vaginal lubrication. Keep your diabetes under control, and you can lower your risk of sexual and urologic problems.
Enjoying a satisfying sex life as we age is important to both physical and mental health. As we age, diseases and conditions may pose challenges in our sexual health, and sexual experiences. Learn how to manage your conditions and still have a gratifying sex life as you age.
Sexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Sex & Love FAQs
- Impotence Erectile Dysfunction FAQs
- 8 Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Erectile Dysfunction Drugs: Drug Interactions
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Things You Should Know About the Penis
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information