At a Glance
- Same active ingredient found in Levitra® or Staxyn®
- Take orally, 30-60 minutes prior to intercourse
- Effective for up to 4 hours
- Usually used if experiencing unwanted side effects with other PDE5 medications
- Available in 12mg lozenges, prescription required
PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type-5) inhibitors like Vardenafil work by preventing the body from breaking down the chemicals needed for achieving an erection. This class of oral medications is the American Urological Association’s recommended first-line treatment for ED.
Vardenafil should be taken 30 to 60 minutes prior to sexual activity and requires sexual stimulation to achieve an erection.
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What to know about Vardenafil
How it Works
Vardenafil works by preventing the body from breaking down the chemicals needed for an erection. These chemicals are then able to help dilate the corpora cavernosa of the penis, facilitating blood flow which allows for an erection with stimulation.
Absorption of Vardenafil is improved when taken on an empty stomach. In contrast, Tadalafil is less affected by meals.
Who is it for?
Vardenafil is recommended for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Vardenafil may also be prescribed for men who have just had a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer to help in the recovery process.
DO NOT take vardenafil or other PDE5 inhibitors if you take nitrate medications for cardiac conditions. Talk with your physician before taking vardenafil or other PDE5 inhibitors if you take alpha blocker medications for high blood pressure or if you have any of the following conditions:
- Low blood pressure
- Uncontrolled hypertension
- Cardiac failure
- Any conditions that cause bleeding
Vardenafil is effective for the treatment of ED. In 13 trials that evaluated vardenafil in men with various comorbidities, the mean per-patient percentage of successful sexual intercourse was 68% with treatment (range, 50%–88%) compared with 35% for placebo (range, 20%–49%). 1
Absorption of Vardenafil is improved when taken on an empty stomach. In contrast, tadalafil is less affected by meals.
1. NIH National Library of Medicine, Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors In the Management of Erectile Dysfunction
A common practice, off-label prescribing is when a doctor prescribes a drug for a different condition or at a different dosage than the FDA has approved. For Vardenafil, there are few common conditions prescribed off-label. Always consult your physician before beginning a new treatment or modifying your existing treatment.
FDA Approved Use
Vardenafil is often recommended as the first line of treatment for men suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Vardenafil is recommended for some men who suffer from climax control and some studies have found that PDE5 inhibitors have been effective in helping delay orgasm.1
1. NIH National Library of Medicine, Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors for premature ejaculation: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Vardenafil may also be prescribed for men who have just had a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer which helps in the recovery process.
For RP, Vardenafil is used to inhibit the degradation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in vascular smooth muscle cells and promote vasorelaxation. However, randomized controlled trials have yielded conflicting results.2
Vardenafil Side Effects
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Priapism (prolonged erection)
- Upset stomach
Good to know
Avoid drinking grapefruit juice with Vardenafil. Grapefruit juice has a chemical that can increase the amount of Vardenafil in your bloodstream and increase the possibility of side effects.
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Other medications and devices used to treat erectile dysfunction
Same active ingredient found in Cialis. Taken one hour prior to sexual activity. Effective for up to 36 hours.
Available in 5mg and 20mg tablets or lozenges, prescription required.
Same active ingredient found in Viagra®. Taken orally, 30 to 60 minutes prior to sexual activity.
Available in 20mg and 100mg tablets, prescription required.
Vacuum Erection Devices
The VED is a plastic tube that fits over the penis and is pressed against the base of the penis and pubis. It uses suction to pull blood into the penis to create an erection.