The starting dosage with Levitra for most men is 10 mg. However, the drug is available in other dosages, so it can be adjusted according to each unique user’s response.
Levitra was introduced to the market in August of 2003, more than five years after the launch of erectile dysfunction treatment juggernaut Viagra, which was introduced in 1998.
Like Viagra, Levitra belongs to a class of drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors. The active ingredient in Levitra is called vardenafil. Vardenafil is also the active ingredient in the dissolvable ED medication called Staxyn.
It works by inhibiting a compound called PDE-5. The more PDE-5 circulating, the less your blood vessels are able to relax and open up, allowing better blood flow. When you take Levitra, the PDE-5 circulating in your body is inhibited. Thus, the walls of the blood vessels (including the ones leading to your sex organs) are able to relax, allowing for better blood flow.
Levitra itself doesn’t cause erections; it just makes them easier to get or maintain.
General Dosage Guidelines for Levitra
Levitra can be taken with or without food, on an as-needed basis, although no more than one dose should be taken within a 24 hour period.
For most men starting out on Levitra, the standard dosage is 10 mg. It is swallowed with liquid and should be taken as needed, approximately one hour before you expect to engage in sexual activity.
If 10 mg doesn’t deliver satisfactory results, your doctor may increase your recommended dosage to 20 mg. Conversely, if 10 mg causes unpleasant side effects, you may be able to treat your erectile dysfunction successfully with a 5 mg dosage.
Some of the most common side effects of Levitra include facial flushing, headache, indigestion, stuffy nose, and temporary changes in vision.
Who Should Start With a Lower Dosage?
In general, patients who are older than age 65 should start Levitra at a dosage of 5 mg and adjust upwards if needed and if the drug is well-tolerated. Men who have moderate liver impairment should also start out with the 5 mg dosage.
In some cases, these men can successfully take the 10 mg dosage, but the maximum dosage of Levitra in men who have moderate liver impairment should not be higher than 10 mg.
Men who experienced unpleasant side effects from taking other erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra or Cialis may want to start Levitra at the lowest dose to see if it is sufficient. If not, they may be able to move up to the 10 mg dosage successfully and without too many side effects.
Who Should Avoid Levitra?
There are some men who should not take Levitra at all. Men who have severe liver impairment should not take it, nor should men who have to undergo renal dialysis. Men who take nitrates and so-called nitric oxide donors should not take Levitra, because the two drugs together can cause a serious and potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.
If you take any type of heart medication, you should inform your doctor to learn whether it’s safe for you to take Levitra.
Men who take alpha blockers can often successfully take Levitra, as long as they start at the lowest dose. Your doctor will let you know if your current medications make Levitra dangerous for you.
Drugs That Can Interact Unfavorably With Levitra
Before your doctor prescribes Levitra or your pharmacist fills your prescription for it, he or she will most likely check to see if you take other medications.
Specifically, the following drugs (some over-the-counter, some prescription) will be checked by your doctor or pharmacist before prescribing Levitra:
- Omega-3 fish oil
If you take Lisinopril, which is sold under the trade names Prinivil and Zestril, you should be aware that Levitra can add to Lisinopril’s blood pressure lowering effect. This could lead to light-headedness, dizziness, headache, racing heart, or fainting. It’s extremely important to know how Levitra and other drugs or supplements you may take affect you. Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how the medications you take affect you.
Why Men Choose Levitra Over Competitors
Despite a big advertising push by Mike Ditka when Levitra first came out, the drug has never managed to eclipse Viagra in sales or popularity. Moreover, when Cialis was introduced later in 2003, it was able to market itself on the basis of its long half-life. With little to distinguish Levitra from Viagra, it didn’t make as big a splash.
However, Levitra can be the perfect alternative to Viagra for men who experienced side effects from Viagra or who didn’t get the relief from erectile dysfunction they expected. The PDE-5 inhibitor drugs are all slightly different, and so act slightly differently in individuals. Therefore, if Viagra or Cialis hasn’t worked out as you expected, it’s possible the specific formulation of Levitra combined with your own body chemistry will produce better results. Generally, men who can take one PDE-5 inhibitor safely can take the others safely too (though not at the same time), so for many it can be a matter of personal preference.
When Will Generic Alternatives to Levitra Be Available?
Generic Levitra should be readily available in the US soon! The patent expired in at the end of October, 2018, so be on the lookout for generics. Generic versions of Viagra and Cialis are now available in the US, and are worth considering for men who want to treat their ED without overspending.
Levitra may not be a household name like Viagra, and it may not be able to call itself “the weekend pill” the way Cialis does, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying. PDE-5 inhibitors are all slightly different from one another, and one may work better for you than another for whatever reason. Typically, you’ll start out taking 10 mg, though if you’re over 65 or have certain medical conditions, you may be started at the 5 mg dose.
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