What is Levitra?
Levitra is a prescription medication for male erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment. The active ingredient in Levitra is Vardenafil. It belongs to a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors. Levitra increases blood flow to the penis, which helps a man gain and sustain an erection during sex. Levitra’s active ingredient Vardenafil works by creating a reaction within the penis during physical stimulation, when the corpus cavernosa; two large chambers in the male’s penis fill with blood, resulting in an erection. The drug widens these chambers allowing blood to flow causing an erection and encouraging the maintaining of that erection until sexual activity has finished or the effect of the drug wears off in a few hours. In more detail, when a male is sexually aroused, nitric oxide is released into his penis. Nitric oxide triggers a chain of reactions and it makes an enzyme which will produce a chemical known as cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). cGMP regulates the contraction (shrinking) and dilation (expansion) of blood vessels that carry blood to and from the penis.
Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5), another enzyme which breaks down cGMP and stops it working. When cGMP is destroyed the blood vessels return to their normal size, effectively ending the erection. This is where Levitra steps in. The active ingredient, Vardenafil, inhibits (ie prevents) PDE5 degradation (destruction) of cGMP. Therefore it prolongs cGMP’s function. In other words, it helps prolong an erection. Provided sexual stimulation continues then Levitra will maintain the penile erection for the duration of sexual activity and intercourse, stopping at the conclusion of sexual activity (usually ejaculation)
Levitra is a round orange tablet and is available in 2.5, 5, 10, and 20 mg doses. Most patients start on 10 mg. Patients should take Levitra about 30 minutes before sex, and should not have more than one tablet every 24 hours. Its effect will last from 3-5 hours- but this will depend on the individual’s constitution- no men are all the same. It works well with food and even a little alcohol, but fatty foods and increased amounts of alcohol will cause Levitra to take longer to work, and may reduce its effectiveness.
It is important to discuss your taking Levitra (or any other ED oral treatment) with a qualified clinician. Levitra can cause a serious and dangerous drop in blood pressure (hypotension) if it is taken with some other prescription medications (particularly those containing nitrates).
Many men experience no side effects with Levitra, but where they are experienced they are usually mild. The most common side effects include a stuffy or runny nose, headache, stomach upset, dizziness, and facial flushing. In most cases, these side effects disappear within a few hours. Very rare side effects may include priapism (erection lasts more than four hours, which can damage the penis. Consequently anyone experiencing priapism should seek medical attention),
For those who are interested in the history of Levitra, it was a drug manufactured after the first ED oral treatment, Viagra, came onto the market in the mid 1990s. Vardenafil was initially a co-marketing arrangement between three pharmaceutical companies – Bayer, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) and Schering Plough (today part of Merck and Co.) – under the trade name Levitra. GSK returned co-promotion rights to Bayer in many territories outside the USA. Levitra, along with Viagra and Cialis is now well-established as a safe treatment for ED when used under clinical supervision or after clinical consultation.