Levitra is the brand name for Vardenafil which is the active ingredient. It is licensed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men in the UK and is a prescription – only medicine which means only a doctor can prescribe the medicine for you. It was launched in 2003, five years after the launch of Viagra in 1998 which was the first medicine licensed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Levitra is commonly prescribed in the UK and is one of the options chosen for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man cannot start or get an erection that is hard enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘impotence’. Occasional erectile dysfunction is common and not something to worry about. The stresses and worries of life can sometimes get in the way of sexual stimulation and erections happening – this is normal. It is more of a concern when erectile dysfunction is a continuous problem even on your good days and it can have put a strain on relationships too.
In the UK, 1 in 5 men are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction and so finding the right, effective treatment is very important.
Vardenafil (Levitra) is licensed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and is very effective. It works by increasing the blood flow to the penis through causing the blood vessels to widen and this happens when there is sexual stimulation, thus producing an erection.
Levitra comes in strengths of 5mg, 10mg and 20mg tablets. The usual recommended starting dose is 10mg for most men and should be taken 25 minutes to 60 minutes before planned sexual activity and should last for up to 8 hours. A maximum of one tablet in 24 hours can be taken, when needed and on an empty stomach to get the quickest absorption.
Side effects of Levitra
Some of the common side effects of Levitra include:
These side effects of Levitra tend to be mild and in most cases will go away on their own. There are some self – help remedies that can help to manage some of the side effects. For example, taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can help with the headaches, taking indigestion remedies can also reduce the upset stomach and nausea could be managed by sucking on some sweets. However, with Levitra, these side effects are not severe for most men and with time they do reduce. Some of these side effects are also common with other licensed treatments for erectile dysfunction and as with Levitra, they are generally mild. It is worth mentioning that any severe side effects or troublesome side effects should always be reported to the doctor as it could mean that the treatment is not right for you, or the strength is too high.
One particular side effect that is important to be aware of is ‘priapism’ and this is where a man has a painful and sustained erection for longer than 4 hours. It is treated as a medical emergency and you should ring 999 or go to A&E if this happens. Priapism is a rare risk and is associated with all of the erectile dysfunction treatments that work in the same way as Levitra. If you do not seek treatment early enough, there may be permanent damage to the penis and so this should be avoided at all costs.
But one question you may ask yourself when considering the treatment for erectile dysfunction is:
Is Levitra effective?
Levitra certainly is an effective oral treatment commonly prescribed for some men suffering from erectile dysfunction and some men choose Levitra to take rather than other treatments. It is all about your own preference and finding out what works best for you – and each person is different. The doctor will always take into account your medical history, what you have tried before (if anything), what is your personal lifestyle is like and what your own preferences are. All of these points are used to assess what could be the most suitable choice of treatment and dosage is most effective.
A clinical trial was carried out from 2001 to 2003 on men with erectile dysfunction using Vardenafil. It was compared against placebo (no active drug) and the results found that more men agreed that the treatment taken over four weeks improved erections. Overall it showed that Vardenafil possessed higher effectiveness in comparison to placebo for treating erectile dysfunction. In another clinical trial, up to 92% of men taking Vardenafil 20mg strength found improved erections. The side effects such as headaches, flushing and upset stomach were found to reduce over time.
So there are confirmed investigations that have shown positive results for its effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction. But there are a few points that also need to be mentioned which can help to make Levitra effective for you. Sometimes, medication may not be taken in the right way by a person and this can have an impact on how well the treatment works. Let us have a look at this now…
When being prescribed Levitra, make sure that you take it when needed and at 25 minutes to 60 minutes before you plan to have sex. If you take the tablet and have sex less than 25 minutes after, you probably won’t have much of an erection going because you have not waited long enough for the tablet to work!
Another point to mention which can affect how well Levitra works is that you should not wait too long to have sex after taking your tablet. So if you wait longer than 8 hours after swallowing the tablet you may find that it is too late – the tablet as broken down in your body making it ineffective!
A common misconception for the erectile dysfunction treatments such as Levitra is that as soon as the tablet is taken, an erection automatically occurs and for the whole duration of action of the tablet! This is not correct. An erection will only happen in response to sexual stimulation. So when you plan to have sex with your partner, ensure that there is some arousal to allow an erection to be produced. Being sexually stimulated helps to increase the blood flow and increase the effectiveness of the Levitra tablet. Sometimes, not enough sexual arousal can be a cause for the lack of erection and we should not blame the tablet!
Taking the Levitra tablet on an empty stomach also increases effectiveness. If you have a meal just before you take the tablet (especially a high – fat meal), it can delay the absorption of the medication. Any delay in absorption will slow down the effectiveness of the tablet and this is quite easily avoided by simply taking Levitra on an empty stomach.
A common cause for a lack of effectiveness of Levitra is when the prescribed strength is not high enough. Most men are started on a 10mg strength provided they are in good health overall. If you are not experiencing sufficient erections with this strength, then you would probably be increased to 20mg.
This is why it is important that you have a discussion with the doctor to decide what works best for you and do not be afraid to be patient and try different strengths as recommended. Taking on board the points mentioned above, Levitra can be a very effective drug when taken in the right way and prescribed at the right strength.
PubMed.gov (Vardenafil, Levitra, for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review of clinical trial report, 2004)
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