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All about: Levitra

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Generic Name: vardenafil (var DEH na fil)
Brand Names: Levitra

What is vardenafil?

Vardenafil relaxes muscles and increases blood flow to particular areas of the body.

Vardenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence).

Vardenafil may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about vardenafil?

Do not take vardenafil if you are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems. This includes nitroglycerin (Nitrostat, Nitrolingual, Nitro-Dur, Nitro-Bid, and others), isosorbide dinitrate (Dilatrate-SR, Isordil, Sorbitrate), and isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur, ISMO, Monoket). Nitrates are also found in some recreational drugs such as amyl nitrate or nitrite ("poppers"). Taking vardenafil with a nitrate medicine can cause a serious decrease in blood pressure, leading to fainting, stroke, or heart attack. If you become dizzy or nauseated, or have pain, numbness, or tingling in your chest, arms, neck, or jaw during sexual activity, stop and call your doctor right away. You could be having a serious side effect of vardenafil. Do not take vardenafil more than once a day. Allow 24 hours to pass between doses. Contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if your erection is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours. A prolonged erection (priapism) can damage the penis.

A small number of patients have had a sudden loss of eyesight after taking vardenafil. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. It is not clear whether vardenafil is the actual cause of such vision loss. Sudden vision loss with vardenafil use has occurred most often in people with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or certain pre-existing eye problems, and in those who smoke or are over 50 years old.

Stop using vardenafil and get emergency medical help if you have sudden vision loss.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking vardenafil?

Do not take vardenafil if you are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems. This includes nitroglycerin (Nitrostat, Nitrolingual, Nitro-Dur, Nitro-Bid, and others), isosorbide dinitrate (Dilatrate-SR, Isordil, Sorbitrate), and isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur, ISMO, Monoket). Nitrates are also found in some recreational drugs such as amyl nitrate or nitrite ("poppers"). Taking vardenafil with a nitrate medicine can cause a serious decrease in blood pressure, leading to fainting, stroke, or heart attack.

A small number of patients have had a sudden loss of eyesight after taking vardenafil. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. It is not clear whether vardenafil is the actual cause of such vision loss. Sudden vision loss with vardenafil use has occurred most often in people with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or certain pre-existing eye problems, and in those who smoke or are over 50 years old.

Before taking vardenafil, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease or heart rhythm problems;

  • a recent history (in the past 6 months) of a heart attack, angina (chest pain), or congestive heart failure;

  • a history of stroke or blood clots;

  • a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome";

  • high or low blood pressure;

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);

  • a blood cell disorder such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia;

  • a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia;

  • a stomach ulcer;

  • retinitis pigmentosa (an inherited condition of the eye);

  • a physical deformity of the penis (such as Peyronie's disease); or

  • if you have been told you should not have sexual intercourse for health reasons.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use vardenafil or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category B: Although vardenafil is not for use in women, this medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use vardenafil without telling your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Although vardenafil is not for use in women, it is not known if vardenafil passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. You may need a lower dose of this medication if you are older than 65. Follow your doctor's instructions.

How should I take vardenafil?

Take vardenafil exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take it in larger doses or for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Vardenafil can be taken with or without food.

Vardenafil is usually taken only when needed, up to 60 minutes before sexual activity. The medication can help achieve an erection when sexual stimulation occurs. An erection will not occur just by taking a pill. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Do not take vardenafil more than once a day. Allow 24 hours to pass between doses. Contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if your erection is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours. A prolonged erection (priapism) can damage the penis. Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since vardenafil is used as needed, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a vardenafil overdose may include back pain, muscle pain, or vision problems.

What should I avoid while taking vardenafil?

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of vardenafil.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with vardenafil. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.

Do not use any other drug to treat impotence, such as alprostadil (Caverject, Muse, Edex) or yohimbine (Yocon, Yodoxin, others), unless your doctor tells you to.

Vardenafil side effects

If you become dizzy or nauseated, or have pain, numbness, or tingling in your chest, arms, neck, or jaw during sexual activity, stop and call your doctor right away. You could be having a serious side effect of vardenafil. Stop using vardenafil and get emergency medical help if you have sudden vision loss. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using vardenafil and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • irregular heartbeat;

  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet;

  • shortness of breath;

  • vision changes;

  • feeling light-headed, fainting; or

  • penis erection that is painful or lasts 4 hours or longer.

Continue taking vardenafil and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • warmth or redness in your face, neck, or chest;

  • stuffy nose;

  • headache;

  • upset stomach; or

  • back pain.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect vardenafil?

Before taking vardenafil, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following medications:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB);

  • erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab) or clarithromycin (Biaxin);

  • doxazosin (Cardura), prazosin (Minipress), terazosin (Hytrin);

  • HIV medicines such as amprenavir (Agenerase), tipranavir (Aptivus), darunavir (Prezista), efavirenz (Sustiva), nevirapine (Viramune), indinavir (Crixivan), saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), ritonavir (Norvir), atazanavir (Reyataz), or nelfinavir (Viracept);

  • itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • heart rhythm medicine such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), quinidine(Quinidex, Quinaglute), procainamide (Procan, Pronestyl), or sotalol (Betapace);

  • carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital (Luminal), or phenytoin (Dilantin); or

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to take vardenafil, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect vardenafil. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about vardenafil written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Vardenafil is available with a prescription under the brand name Levitra. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Levitra 2.5 mg-orange, round, film-coated tablets

  • Levitra 5 mg-orange, round, film-coated tablets

  • Levitra 10 mg-orange, round, film-coated tablets

  • Levitra 20 mg-orange, round, film-coated tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.02. Revision Date: 7/10/06 3:45:53 PM.

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