If you’re reading this article, we bet your chances of dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) are fairly high. You’re also probably looking for a solution ASAP.
Perhaps you’re curious about what your treatment options are. Or maybe your healthcare provider recommended Levitra®, a medication you may not have heard of before and want to learn more about.
Levitra — one of two brand names for the active ingredient vardenafil — is a common ED treatment that can help you get your mojo back. (Staxyn® is the other brand name vardenafil is sold under.)
Wondering what Levitra dosage is right for you? You’re in good hands. We’ll answer all your questions, go over vardenafil dosages, discuss how this ED drug works and offer pointers for getting the best results.
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Levitra, a film-coated oral tablet, is typically available in three dosages:
5-mg tablets, usually the lowest dose
10-mg tablets, the most common starting dose
20-mg tablets, a typical vardenafil max dose
A 2.5-mg (milligram) dosage is sometimes prescribed, depending on various factors, which we’ll cover below.
To understand the factors affecting what dose of Levitra you may be prescribed, let’s first take a look at how the medication works.
Vardenafil is a PDE5 inhibitor that improves blood flow to the penis — a vital part of getting an erection — during sexual stimulation.
When you become sexually aroused, your brain sends a message to the blood vessels in your penis to release a chemical called nitric oxide. This enables the formation of cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate) to relax blood vessels in your penis and allow more blood flow.
PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) is an enzyme that breaks down cGMP, thereby not allowing blood flow throughout your body, including your penis.
Originally developed as treatments for cardiovascular conditions such as angina (chest pain) and hypertension (high blood pressure), PDE5 inhibitors like vardenafil work to block the actions of the PDE5 enzyme to make it easier to get an erection.
Since blood flow is essential to the erection process (among other things), there’s a connection between how the medication works in your body and what else is going on with your body at the time — from your medical history to other medications you use.
As noted, a few factors affect the Levitra or vardenafil dosage you’re prescribed. This includes:
Age. A healthcare provider will consider a starting dosage of 5 mg if you’re 65 or older due to increased vardenafil concentrations in elderly men.
Health conditions. Men who deal with certain medical conditions, like low blood pressure, Peyronie’s disease (deformed penis shape) or heart disease, for example, may be prescribed a lower vardenafil dosage.
Drugs metabolized by CYP3A4. Your dose of Levitra may need adjusting if you’re taking CYP3A4 (cytochrome P450 3A4, another enzyme in the body) inhibitors, such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, erythromycin, ritonavir, indinavir or clarithromycin. Another unlikely CYP3A4 inhibitor? Grapefruit juice.
Alpha blocker medication. If you’re taking medication for blood pressure — like alpha blockers — your provider may recommend the lowest starting dose.
Moderate liver impairment. If you have liver problems, especially if you’re 65 or older, 5 mg (the lowest dosage) may be the recommended dose.
How long do different Levitra dosages last? Does a higher vardenafil dosage of 40 mg last longer than 5 mg?
You might think the higher the dosage, the more effective Levitra will be. However, a vardenafil dosage of 40 mg not only increases the risk of serious side effects but won’t get you the rock-hard, ready-for-action erection you’re looking for.
Despite which dosage you take, vardenafil lasts the same amount of time. Vardenafil can last anywhere between five to seven hours.
Ready to “get ur freak on,” Missy Elliott-style? Here’s what you need to know.
Take vardenafil 60 minutes before sexual activity to ensure your erection is ready when it’s go-time. Also, don’t take more than a single dose within a 24-hour period.
If your erection does last longer than four hours (a condition known as priapism), seek medical advice right away.
Levitra can be taken with or without food, so don’t sweat about going out for a bite to eat before the big event.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience vision loss, which could be a sign of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). And let a healthcare professional know if you have a severe allergic reaction.
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Same active ingredient as Cialis®. Starts working in 1 hour and lasts up to 24 hours.
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It’s important to discuss any medications or supplements you’re currently taking with your healthcare provider before starting vardenafil. Levitra can potentially interact with numerous medications, including:
Alpha blockers and other medications used to manage blood pressure
Guanylate cyclase stimulators (riociguat)
HIV protease inhibitors
Medications that regulate heartbeat
Nitrates and nitric oxide donors
Other PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra or Cialis
Levitra also shouldn’t be used by those undergoing renal dialysis. And if you have a medical condition that heightens your risk of priapism (like leukemia, multiple myeloma or sickle cell anemia), your provider may not prescribe it.
Though Levitra is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, it’s not your only option.
Many FDA-approved ED medications come as oral tablets. You can also get chewable hard mints with the same active ingredients.
Although Levitra, Viagra and other medications are effective treatments, they won’t help with psychological causes of ED such as depression or sexual performance anxiety. Talk therapy can help you deal with stress or anxiety that may be causing or exacerbating your erectile dysfunction and find healthy ways to manage your mental well-being.
You can work with a licensed mental health professional via online therapy or telehealth counseling.
If you’re looking for an erectile dysfunction treatment, Levitra is just one of several options available.
What should you know about Levitra dosages? Here’s a recap:
Levitra is an FDA-approved treatment for ED containing the active ingredient vardenafil.
Vardenafil is available in various doses. A typical dose of Levitra starts at 10 mg daily, but it also comes in 5-mg and 20-mg dosages.
Your dosage will be determined based on certain health factors. This includes blood pressure, liver problems, risk of heart attack and use of other medications, which can increase the risk of side effects.
It’s recommended to take Levitra about 60 minutes before sexual activity.
Want to know more about Levitra? Our complete guide to vardenafil side effects covers everything you should know about the possible adverse effects of this medication.
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Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.