Millions of Americans have erectile dysfunction, which makes it difficult to produce or sustain a normal erection. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a medical condition that primarily affects older males. However, younger males can suffer from the issue as well.
Levitra is a medication that helps males who have erectile dysfunction. Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. manufactures Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride). Bayer introduced the drug to the U.S. market in 2003. Since then, doctors have prescribed the medication to millions of patients.
This article will answer many questions you and your partner may have about Levitra for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. It will also explain some of this medication's adverse side effects and complications.
What is erectile dysfunction?
When a male has erectile dysfunction, he is generally unable to produce or sustain a regular erection. This medical condition is most prevalent among older men. However, men who are under the age of 40 sometimes have erectile dysfunction as well.
Some of the more common causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Drinking alcohol
- Trauma to the penis or spinal cord
- High blood pressure/Hypertension
- High cholesterol
- Sleep disorders
- Psychological disorders
Ideally, your doctor can address the root causes of your ED. If not, they may prescribe a medication like Levitra.
What is Levitra, and how does it work?
Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride) is a prescription drug that treats erectile dysfunction in men. Levitra helps increase blood flow to the penis so that the patient can achieve and maintain an erection. While taking the drug, most patients report having an easier time getting an erection during sexual stimulation.
Technically, Levitra is considered an oral phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitor. The drug inhibits or blocks the degradation of the muscles that line specific cells. It helps increase blood flow not only to the penis but also to the heart and lungs. This is why some people claim the medication can cause serious cardiovascular issues.
Some of the other common PDE5 inhibitors (active ingredients and brand names) include:
- Avanafil (Stendra)
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
All of these medications are nitrates. You should not combine them with other nitrates without talking to your doctor. PDE5 inhibitors are contraindicated in patients taking any form of organic nitrates.
Are there any severe side effects of Levitra?
Like most other drugs, there are minor and severe side effects associated with Levitra. The severity of the side effects may depend on the dose of Levitra you take. It will also depend on other factors such as allergies, diet, and overall physical health.
Some of the most common side effects of Levitra include:
- Nasal congestion
- Facial flushing
- Flu-like symptoms
- Back pain
These minor health issues generally disappear a few hours after taking the drug. In addition, some males have reportedly suffered from extended and painful erections after taking Levitra. There have been reports of Levitra causing prolonged erections and priapism (painful erections). Patients with an erection lasting more than four hours should seek immediate medical attention.
These side effects are relatively minor. However, some patients report that they experienced serious side effects, including cardiovascular issues after taking PDE-5 inhibitors.
Are there any serious health risks associated with Levitra?
After taking ED drugs such as Levitra, some men have reported sudden vision and hearing loss. This sudden vision loss is a symptom of an eye disorder called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). This illness can cause permanent vision loss. In addition, some patients complain of sudden hearing loss after using Levitra.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued safety alerts regarding these side effects. It has cautioned that while no medical evidence shows Levitra causes these health conditions, you must still be careful. If you experience sudden vision or hearing loss, stop taking the drug and talk to your healthcare professional immediately.
Is it dangerous to use Levitra with other nitrates?
Don't take Levitra with other nitrate-containing medications. Combining the medicine with a nitrate drug can lead to sudden loss of blood pressure. This can cause dizziness and faintness. In some cases, patients have alleged that taking Levitra with other nitrates also causes heart attack and stroke.
Despite these claims, a recent study by a Danish team found no correlation between Levitra and adverse cardiovascular events. The study did warn patients not to take other nitrates within 24-48 hours, depending on which medication they are taking.
Does Levitra prevent pregnancy?
No, Levitra doesn't prevent pregnancy. A man who uses Levitra could potentially impregnate his female partner. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy.
Does Levitra protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases?
No, Levitra doesn't prevent the spread of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Couples at risk for HIV and other STDs should practice safe sex and use condoms.
Who should not take Levitra?
Patients who take nitrate-containing medications or use recreational nitrate drugs known as "poppers" shouldn't take Levitra. The combination of Levitra with nitrates can cause your blood pressure to drop to abnormally low levels suddenly. This could make you faint or become dizzy. In some cases, you could even suffer a heart attack or a stroke.
You should also avoid Levitra if you have heart problems. If your family has a history of heart disease, your doctor may opt for another treatment for your erectile dysfunction. People with low blood pressure should also refrain from taking Levitra and other PDE-5 inhibitors.
What should I tell my doctor before they prescribe Levitra?
Before you take any medication, seek medical advice. Provide your doctor with your medical history. If you have had a heart attack or suffer from any other heart issues, such as an irregular heartbeat, angina, or heart failure, you must tell your doctor.
In some cases, it may be unsafe for you to engage in sexual activity while taking Levitra because it could cause a heart attack.
In addition, you should inform your doctor about all drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements you use. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and recreational drugs. Your doctor needs this information to ensure an adverse health reaction doesn't occur.
Your doctor must also consider any allergies you may have. People with an allergic reaction to Levitra may break out in hives.
What if I think I am sick as a result of taking Levitra?
If you or a loved one has experienced any dangerous side effects while taking Levitra, contact your doctor or other healthcare professional immediately. You may also want to meet with an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your options and protect your legal rights.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney for Help
If you are hurt while taking Levitra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, you may have a legal claim. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer and see if it's worth pursuing your case. Call a local product liability lawyer today and schedule your free case evaluation.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.